Two Kinds of ADD Hyperfocus

Adults with ADD are both blessed and cursed with the ability to hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus is the opposite of boredom. There are times when you just can’t seem to concentrate–hypofocus, and then there are times when it feels impossible to stop focusing–hyperfocus. And that hyperfocus can either be a really good thing, or a really bad thing.

Positive hyperfocus is what I call being in the flow. You enjoy what you’re doing–whether it’s work, problem-solving, or being creative. You are productive and enjoy not only what you’re doing, but also the fact that you’re making progress. Your thoughts and actions are flowing.

Negative hyperfocus is what I call being in the stick. It’s really about an inability to shift focus, and the frustration that results. You want to finish a task or make progress but your frustration in the situation has you feeling unable to move on. You become determined to do what you set out to do at any cost. (Perfectionism often causes negative hyperfocus.) In this state, you often skip meals, forget appointments, lose track of time, and keep telling yourself, “Just two move minutes. I’ve got to get this.” But it’s never just two more minutes. Your thoughts and actions are stuck.

Two Kinds of ADD Hyperfocus

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