If you’re at all interested in what many experts call the “flow state,” then you’ve probably come across another term: Hyper Focus. While hyper focus sounds like flow, there is a key difference. Read on to learn the differences between Hyper Focus vs. Flow and how you can harness both types of mental states to achieve more in life.

Hyper Focus and ADHD

Focus group on working principles on a round table at the office to show the relationship of Hyper Focus vs. Flow and ADHD

Image: CC by A-SA 2.0, Kennisland, via Flickr

One of the most common symptoms for ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) implies the hyper-focus state. This brain state puts the individual into a deep and intense concentrative state. Here, men and women focus on one task exclusively at the expense of others.

Now, you surely think that this hyper-focused state offers benefits. This type of process display positive benefits for situations. It comes significantly for complex tasks such as any schoolwork or employment that requires significant concentration for success. However, some people with diagnosed ADHD chooses instead to spend time on video games and entertainment. So, the benefits of hyperfocus become less clear.

The Behavior

As an example, a child who possesses ADHD to complete his or her homework in an untimely manner. They become distracted easily and not have the ability to focus on the work. On the other hand, they spend hours upon hours playing video games or reading a book. This type of behavior produces negative outcomes in life later if not properly addressed.

We need to pay attention that there exists a significant controversy around hyper focus and ADHD. There subsists only limited scientific evidence about its factuality. Also, whether everyone with ADHD experiences it. Many individuals afflicted with ADHD do not experience this type of mental state. This exists between Hyper Focus vs. Flow.

How Hyper Focus Affects Children

Two kids playing video games on an arcade with guns to show How Hyper Focus vs. Flow Affects Children

Image: CC by 2.0, woodleywonderworks, via Flickr

Hyperfocus affect children in important ways that primarily impacts the quality of life. Helping a child experience hyper focus regain a level of control over the amount of time they dedicate to a task. We give you the following steps:

The Children

First, help the child to understand that the hyper-focus state exists as a part of their ADHD condition. A child understands that hyperfocus acts as a unique aspect of their condition. Moreover, this helps them to better understand the signs of hyperfocus later down the road.

Next, create a schedule that restricts activities that mean more susceptible to hyperfocus. For instance, create a schedule that restricts the amount of time a child plays video games or watch television.

The Community

Help the child to find interests that prevent isolation and create social situations. For instance, enroll your child in a social activity such as music, sports, or other types of clubs. These force your child to step outside their comfort zone. Plus, avoid activities which create hyper focus states.

Signal your child and properly interrupt them to get them outside of the hyper-focus state. If you do not interrupt your child as they experience the hyper-focus state, they forget important appointments or tasks. Additionally, they also forget important relationships.

How Hyper Focus Affect Adults

Focus group working principles on a round table at the office to show How Hyper Focus vs. Flow Affect Adults

Image: CC by A-SA 2.0, Kennisland, via Flickr

Children experience hyper focus and feel the effects of this condition in their daily lives. Furthermore, adults too experience hyperfocus as a co-occurring symptom with their ADHD.

We also offer some tips for adults with ADHD who experience hyperfocus. How you achieve great results while mitigating the downsides associated with hyperfocus appears effective:

Your Tasks

Create a list of tasks that you need to complete at a given time. By being mindful of all the work you need to do during a day, you’ll be able to determine how much time you can spend on a given project at any given moment.

While completing a task, set a timer to determine how much time you do a task. By holding yourself to a strict time limit, you’ll avoid the downsides of hyperfocus and become unsaturated.

Your Community

Make sure that family member or friend give you a call or send you a text message periodically. This helps you to avoid the main problem that comes with hyperfocus. This becomes too engrossed in the task at hand at the expense of other things you need to do.

Build a support network of individuals that you trust. Turn off the television and other distractions. Let your support network help you avoid becoming too focused on one task at the expense of others.

The Benefits of the Hyper Focus State

Old Man Carptenter Measuring Woodwords who developed his Hyper Focus State from ADHD to show How Hyper Focus vs. Flow Affects adults

Image: CC by A-SA 2.0, Anne Worner, via Flickr

There is a long history of successful writers, scientists, and artists. They possess an ability to dive deeply into their chosen field without becoming distracted by other concerns in their daily lives. By harnessing this power, individuals with ADHD can create great works of art or focus on intense research activities.

Many fields of study and career options require a lot of cognitive focus and concentration to achieve great results. Making money and investing properly also requires a certain level of focus. By entering the hyper-focus state and dedicating themselves to the task at hand, people with ADHD and who experience hyperfocus can achieve great things in life and in their careers.

The Downsides of Hyper Focus

Of course, the hyper-focus possesses its downsides. An individual with ADHD experiences hyper focus states. This decides to dedicate their energies towards video games or other forms of entertainment. Then, the benefits of deep concentration get lost in activities which seems unproductive through Hyper Focus vs. Flow.

It’s important to understand the distinction between hyperfocus as a symptom.  This comes from an underlying pathology and the flow state that many individuals experience. Next, let’s define the flow state and see how it harness maximum effect. This paves it necessary to tell the difference between Hyper Focus vs. Flow.

Hyper Focus vs. Flow and the Flow State

Man at Work Wearing Glasses sitting on a red chair at late night to show How Hyper Focus vs. Flow and the Flow State Affects adults

Image: CC by 2.0, Kyle Adams, via Flickr

The field of positive psychology defines the flow. You also heard it as “the zone”. Notably, this comes as a mental state where an individual becomes fully immersed in the task at hand. This full involvement allows the individual to complete a task with high efficiency and enjoyment. Thereby, this results in the loss of the passing of time.

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi first identified this mental state in 1975. Today the concept spread far beyond its initial entry point into the scientific literature. While the concept has been known by many types of religions and spiritual frameworks, the ability to enter the zone has taken on the mainstream interest in recent decades.

Your Society

As a society, we move towards greater efficiency in every aspect of the economy. Because of this intense focus on efficiency, the ability of an individual to enter a flow state offers a serious advantage over competitors.

This focus on constant improvement paved the way for more scientific literature about flow. Jeanne Nakamura and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi characterize the flow state with the following attributes:

  • Intense focus and concentration in the present moment.
  • Loss of self-consciousness temporarily.
  • Action and awareness become one entity to the individual who has focused on a given task.
  • The subjective experience of the passing of time changes.
  • The act of working on the task becomes rewarding in and of itself. Also known as “intrinsically rewarding.”

Your ‘Hyper Focus vs. Flow’ Future

There exist certain characteristics that come about prior to the entering of the flow state. For the most part, individuals report the immediate feedback of the task at hand. Also, this goes same as the potential to succeed in it for the key indicators. Working on a painting or a particularly complex computer program brings out the best flow state in someone.

Flow psychology continues to advance as a field as more and more research and resources are put towards it. Since the field offers incredible opportunities that can help scientists to develop new methodologies for inducing the flow state, it should be an interesting set of developments to follow.

However, flow does not always mean “good.” The activity generates the flow state with productive use. Otherwise, the behavior seems more akin to addiction as opposed to a beneficial flow state.

The Key Differences: Hyper Focus vs. Flow

Man at Work In Front of PC Wearing Checkered Polo sitting on a chair at late night to show How Hyper Focus vs. Flow and the Flow State Affects adults

Image: CC by 2.0, bark, via Flickr

The main difference between the flow state and the hyper-focus state comes about as the reason for the existence of the condition in the first place.

The flow state – or being in the zone – can be experienced by any healthy individual. Since this state comes about because of both internal motivation and external stimuli, it does not necessarily connote an unhealthy pattern.

Accordingly, the hyper-focus state, on the other hand, comes about because of an underlying psychological condition that can be good or bad depending on the circumstances.

Here, the key differences between Hyper Focus vs. Flow seem understandable. Ultimately, you’ll be well-equipped to understand both types of states and how you can take advantage of them to profit in your own life!


Featured Image: CC by 2.0, Brandon Andersen, via Flickr

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This