Hyperfocusing is a superpower

A hand holding a lens filter focussed onto the background landscape

The ability to hyperfocus is often seen as a superpower by neurodiverse individuals and when harnessed can become a person’s key to success.

If we consider the notion of “normal” focus, we realise that hyperfocus is a natural outcome of the way our brains work. When we understand this, it is not so hard to come to terms with having hyperfocus, as it is a natural part of the human experience.

What hyperfocusing looks like

Hyperfocusing is the power to focus an extreme amount of attention on just one task, ignoring other distractions. Hyperfocusing is often used to do something productive like finishing work tasks work or studying for an exam.

It’s also great for taking care of really tedious tasks that could take hours to finish. It allows a person to get through a task in the time that they need, rather than getting caught up in the process.

Why the ability to hyperfocus is a good thing

Many people have this superpower, but they might not think of it as a superpower, as it’s been a skill that they’ve had for a long time. This skill is often labelled as “obsessive” when seen in children. The shame of this is that a child learns from an early age that their behaviour causes negative reactions from others.

However there are so many positives to being able to have one-way thinking.  It could be used in a work setting in which a person can apply this power to get a lot done with little supervision. With hyperfocus, it’s possible to become very focused while ignoring the difficulties that can arise with other distractions. allowing a person to maximise their productivity at work.

When hyperfocusing can be a bad thing

There is a saying that with great power comes great responsibility, and this is particularly true hyperfocusing. Spending too much time on one task can cause a person to become so focused that everything else fades out of sight. This can have negative effects on relationships and physical health as a person can forget to eat, drink and do basic daily tasks including getting enough sleep. This is what psychologists call the negative hyperfocus and it is classified as a hyperfocus disorder.

Those who hyperfocus to an extreme degree are often described as suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Ways to use hyperfocusing to your advantage

Hyperfocusing can help you improve your daily routine by finding new ways of completing tasks. Hyperfocusing allows a person to quickly complete a task that at some times can be a struggle.

Hyperfocusing may also help you to complete a task that can be a challenge to finish. It can be a great way to learn all there is to know about a particular subject that is of interest.

Why having employees who can hyperfocus is good news for business

Hyperfocusing is a superpower that people of all ages, professions, and interests use to get things done. The ability to hyperfocus, or “get in the zone” as many call it, is something that can be hard to come by for many people. But what if you were able to create an environment where employees especially neurodiverse ones able to stay focused?

Five reasons why it's good news for business

  1. Hyperfocusing enables a person to accomplish tasks more quickly
  2. It can help with creativity
  3. It leads to better concentration and less need for breaks
  4. It can be seen as a sign of success in the workplace – having created a sensory safe space where an individual can thrive.
  5. Gives businesses a competitive edge over the competition.

Although we have used the word “superpower” to describe the ability to hyperfocus, it is important that we do not fall into the trap of viewing neurodiverse individuals as super heroes with special abilities that are a must-have addition to any workplace.

Neurodiverse individuals deserve the right to be employed and to live fulfilled lives without the need to justify their place within a team because they have a “superpower”.

Neurodiverse individuals who are not able to hyperfocus to the same level as others are no less human and are no less worthy of respect and kindness within the workplace.