what does it feel like because i’m not sure if i’ve experienced it or not and I would realy appresiate fellow brains giving me some insight and ways to get inot hyper focus because it could realy help with school work and just getting it done.
I don’t know if it’s something you can get into just because you want to. It just happens to you when you’re really passionate about something, and you forget to eat, sleep, drink, go to the bathroom, pretty much anything, while you’re doing that thing. And I’m not sure what it’s like for other people, but for me, I honestly don’t notice until I come back out from it, and look back. Then rush to the bathroom because I haven’t peed for 15 hours…
In my experience, though I wouldn’t advise it, a person can, to some extent, deliberately instigate hyperfocus, as long as the subject-matter that is being focused on is something interesting and intrinsically “grabs” the person. But that’s more an advanced thought practice, kind of like trying to teach yourself to lower your blood pressure or heart rate just by thinking about it. More generally, hyperfocus catches you, you don’t catch it.
And it can feel good OR BAD. I have hyperfocused on internet games – solitaire, for instance – and really wanted to turn the computer off, but just sat there playing game after game anyway. Telling myself, during the experience, “Wow man this is really a waste of time, why am I doing this?” and “It’s getting really late I should go to bed but no I want to do just one more game” and then “just one more” again and again.
I have also hyperfocused on studying for major exams, and I have succeeded at passing them, probably because I studied rather a great deal. It wasn’t “enjoyable” in the sense of having some kind of flying experience (“wow, my mind is so superior, I am delighted to be using it this way!” … not). It was more, like I didn’t know whether I was enjoying the studying or not. I just had to do more and more of it. Couldn’t make myself stop.
I think, if there’s one thing that hyperfocus feels like, it’s the feeling of having to keep on going. You’re annoyed if someone asks you if you want to go grab a bite to eat, you don’t want to be interrupted. “Don’t make me stop doing the things I’m doing! And no, I don’t have time to stop doing this thing in order to tell you that I don’t have enough time to tell you that I don’t want to stop! So don’t ask!” Very easily annoyed, must pay attention to the thing in front of you, forget to pee, forget to eat, don’t realize it’s 3 am, keep doing it over and over. Practicing piano scales also gets me into hyperfocus (and by the way, it’s not a very good way to practice musical instruments, because you aren’t actually applying your attention very effectively to improving your skills, you’re just continuing to repeat repeat repeat things that you already know).
Your point about solitaire suddenly made me think, do you think ludomania is more common in Brains? Because if you get stuck with hyperfocus on a slot machine or the like, I can easily imagine not being able to tear yourself away from it… I’ve had the same with Sudoku or reading books. Just one more puzzle, just one more paragraph/page, then 3-4-5 hours later you ‘re-emerge’ and it’s like ‘whoa… It’s THAT LATE…?!’
For me it is usually a time blindness. I start working on something and realize later that I went all day without eating, talking to anyone, or doing anything else on my list. Sometimes i like it, sometimes I have it. It is like even when I stop working on something for the day, I am still thinking about it, I find it difficult to focus on what other people are saying. Often i will actively try to listen but my mind goes back to thinking about whatever it was i was thinking about. Mostly science, or art for me. I end up feeling terrible because i realize i have not been listening and my brain will not cooperate. Defiantly happened when I am studying or working on art projects. Or when i am problem solving something at work. It is like i just block everything else out.
Agreed: the best way to notice hyperfocus is to notice how you feel when you’re made to STOP. I, An Adult, try not to throw overt tantrums; instead, I throw nonverbal, passive-aggressive tantrums!
I personally am a big fan of hyperfocus, but I’ve spent a LONG TIME domesticating mine. Sort of like fire. Anything that feels like a chase sends me into hyperfocus: research, new languages, photography… but also: finding the perfect pair of pants; fixing some minor tech snafu; flirting with people I shouldn’t be flirting with… It is COMME CI and COMME ÇA.
Re: hyperfocus and slot machines: yes yes yes!! I just learned that the main (non-gambling/gaming) sources of intermittent reinforcement are: fishing; hunting; any form of collecting; shopping (especially thrift stores/flea markets); TV surfing/internet browsing. I’m gonna get way ahead of myself and say: if it has an intermittent reinforcement schedule, you will hyperfocus on it!
I do that alllll the time with Bejeweled Blitz! And I keep thinking “Okay, next game is the last game. This is dumb. I could be reading or watching a TV show I love or even doing housework” but I keep playing. So frustrating.
Other times, I love hyperfocusing, like when I’m writing or reading. Except for the forgetting to eat part.
It’s really great when you are doing something creative like painting. You just have to anticipate the passage of time and ask someone to check on you, or set an alarm. Not that I ever did, but if I ever get an opportunity to paint again, I will.