Hazards of Hyper-Focus

Are you one of those people that can focus so completely that the whole house could burn down while reading a book?  Or focused on the task at hand someone speaks to you and you jump out of your skin?  Or how about working so focused that the janitor locking up wonders why you are still there and you hadn’t realized everyone else had gone home?  People extol the value and importance of focusing on the job at hand but no one discusses the hazards of hyper-focus that is one of the symptoms of PTSD and also ADHD.

Getting into the zone is awesome when I am working on my art or a project that I need to do.  The hazard comes if I am cooking/burning dinner at the same time.  Or I hyper-focus on a task that is the least important of the day instead of the most important of the day, like cleaning the grout on the bathtub while cooking/burning dinner. Hyper-focus is an asset when I already evaluated that this is the best use of my time on the most important thing of the day and I don’t need to break to do something else.  Unfortunately, our lives are broken up by incoming demands, bodily functions that need to happen (eating or bathroom breaks), or already scheduled disruptions.  Backlash of hyper-focus is irritability with the person interrupting, inability to pick up at where you were interrupted, intense frustration often manifested in anger or sometimes out right rage that someone dared to disturb you to even say hello.  The offending person interrupting is shocked by the extreme startle, anger or negative reaction because they believe they are the innocent ones just wanting to say hello…..what to do?  What to do?

I learned to be less focused.  I plan to work on something in the kitchen so I am less likely to burn dinner or I will at least smell it burning sooner.  I choose to work on projects or art when I am least likely to be interrupted.  I adjust for the possibility that I may be interrupted.  I set my phone alarm to remind me I am supposed to be somewhere else.  Alarms can wake you from sleep or wake me from hyper-focus.  I am slowly accepting that there are ways to balance out my hyper-focus and the rest of my life.  I’m always looking for other ideas.  Be warned that many of the suggestions online are designed for people with mild hyper-focus issues….doesn’t help much with me and my burn dinner or the house down focus.  So I am looking for my own ways to adjust and accept that I can really focus on a task.

For another perspective:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperfocus


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