Ah, the delicious irony of that title.
Readers who have been with me for a little bit, know that I struggle with black and white, good and bad, right and wrong thinking on things that are legitimately neither here nor there. I think this may be one of those topics that is neither here nor there, but that I grew up believing was definitely one or the other.
It might be helpful to define hyper-focused, actually. I don’t normally define terms, but it feels appropriate here.
I am going to define hyper-focus the way I’ve been living for the past few months, because it feels hyper and it has to do with focus, and it’s very unlike anything I’ve ever done. This is what my days look like.
For me, hyper focus is having a vision for the future and seeing time spent through that lens.
I get up early (except when I’m visiting family, to see my grandfather who had a fall recently), do a quick 15 – 20min workout, tidy up and sit down at my desk. I’ll read the Bible, journal, visualize the day, listen to my motivational videos. Then I’ll make a glass of delicious cold brew with half n half and write my blog like a madman. I’ll do that for an hour or so then traipse off to work, fully caffeinated. I work from 9 to 6, sometimes longer, and some days are actually non-stop, because I answer to several departments (operations is my jam). At 6p, I practically sprint to my car, zip back home, clean and work on either my music, book, blog or social media content while sipping tea. I do that until 11p or so then plop into bed, listening to motivational videos until I fall asleep.
I’ve been more or less doing this since I started going back into the office, which was well over a month ago. And I show no signs of stopping. Obviously, I have low days, but the work itself is never the issue. On the contrary, the 16 hour work day has been a wonderful balm. It’s basically cured my nail biting (still indulge periodically, but then I know something is off), my anxiety is at an all-time low, and I’ve found that I actually love love love to work.
I actually feel very vulnerable telling you this.
I never gave myself over to being hyper focused, because it felt extremely unfeminine or unladylike or manly, or something. I have no idea where this idea came from; I only know that I always sucked at multitasking and babysitting in high school, but could sit in one position for an entire weekend writing a paper. Not very motherly. I continue to assume that I will gain motherly tendencies when…I am…a mother.
A hyper focused mother. Lord, save my children. I feel sorry for them already.
But I digressssss.
To give you an idea of the kind of person I truly am, when I was seven, I literally attempted to wear the same outfit for an entire summer and would have succeeded, if not for a wise and loving mother. This outfit, which I still remember with wistful longing, was a pair of faded, purple cotton shorts and a self-made tie dye shirt. It fit. It kind of matched. It was super comfy. It was easy. Why not wear it every day? This was my thought process.
Hilariously, I now wear essentially the same five or six outfits every week and have never been so unbothered by things that, it turns out, I still don’t care about. Of course, I have other outfits and pretty dresses for the occasional garden party (HAH) and weekend revelries, but the day-to-day struggle of trying to figure out whether I wore this or that too recently–it’s all eliminated because I know I did. I wore the black turtleneck last week, and I’m going to wear it today. Because it’s my uniform, thank you. No need to feel shocked, no need to feel appalled, no need to pearl-clutch. Good bye undue morning stress.
But back to hyper-focus.
The schedule and life I have laid out isn’t for everyone. On paper, it might look crazy. But I have genuinely never been happier, working myself harder than I’ve ever worked and putting out more content and more of my ideas than ever. Time-wasters that don’t factor into a clear vision of the future are ruthlessly eliminated. Unlike some in the self-improvement movement, I don’t feel this way about people, but I will limit time spent with discouraging or negative inputs. Seems fair!
At any rate, lockdown has shown me that I used to spend way too much time doing things and going places that didn’t factor into a future I really wanted. Like in high school and college, I downplayed the fact that I could research madly for days, or work on a song for six hours, happily skipping one or more meals in both cases. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted most of all to live bravely and courageously and purposefully; perilously, the Roman candle quote by Jack Kerouac comes to mind. Yeesh. ANYWAYS.
Living with purpose means drastic change and what seem like drastic measures on the outside, and I’ve decided I’m okay with that.
I have never felt more like the creature I was made to be. I have never been happier to be with other people, when I am with them. I have never been more present and full, for those around me. I’m finally just being my hyper-focused self. Basically, I am never going back to pretending otherwise.
As an aside, I am aware that this practice and way of life has its downsides, and its dangers. I could and have become obsessive. Oh, I know. But every endeavor we attempt as humans is almost certainly going to swing too far in one direction; the fear of obsession might lead a person to do very little with the one life they’ve been given. The fear of looking unfeminine led me to waste years of my life. Everything has the capacity to go haywire; I am aware that this can, too.
But it’s also allowed me to create more than ever before. Since lockdown began, I have put out almost 400 fun tiny movies (TikToks haha), gained 35,000 awesome followers, written a combined 25,000 words on this blog, completed my best music album to date, started a podcast and created a YouTube channel. What. It has been crazy and fun and exhausting and fulfilling. Life finally feels like an adventure. Like I am being exactly who I was always meant to be.
I am fine with seeming a little crazy, or weird. Because, for me, the benefits of living a hyper-focused, intentional life far outweigh the negatives, and certainly potential negatives. I would also say that, if this sounds exhausting, it’s because it’s my vision. The work will feel like play when you are doing something that factors into your vision for yourself and your immediate world. Removing certain activities or places that seemed enmeshed with your very being will become easy as pie, when you have a vision. Vision changes everything. It is the fuel.
I encourage you to dive in, and give being hyper-focused a shot. At the very least, you’ll figure out whether it’s a good way for *you* to live.
As ever, remember that you have a powerful mind, an iron will and the heart of a lion.