126. Chris Bailey – Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction

Chris Bailey is the creator of the blog, A Life of Productivity, a platform he launched straight out of graduating from business school. He was on a mission to follow his passion and devour everything he could get his hands on the subject of productivity. By the time he finished his yearlong experiment, his work had been read over one million times by people from almost every country around the world. He’s written two books on productivity which have been published in 20 languages – Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction, and The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy. Chris Bailey has been featured in several media publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Harvard Business Review.

In today’s episode Chris joins me to discuss the subject of productivity and the various ways we can savour and squander it. He explains why focusing on one task all day long could be the worst thing you can do for your productivity. He reveals how the activity of knitting, for him, personally releases his thoughts and helps problem solving in a tactic he calls, the ‘scatter focus approach’. He also has some suggestions on what other simple, enjoyable tasks you can do to allow your mind to wander and think. Chris explains how our brains have a ‘novelty bias’, where we can’t help but direct our attention to every new novel thing, and how the answer to that can begin by taking a break from your mobile phone.

Quotables from Chris Bailey

“Life is about extracting meaning out of things that on the surface don’t appear meaningful”

“If you want something done, give it to a busy person”

“The hyper-focus – it’s one of the most valuable ingredients in not only getting things done – but also living a good life”

“If we can process 40% more in every moment because we have a consistent meditation practice? That will make us back hours”

“The more you rely on your mind to do good work, the more you need meditation and mindfulness to be in the arsenal of productivity strategies you deploy”

This week on The School For Good Living:

  • How you can increase your available time NINE-FOLD by meditating
  • Why the idea of limited attentional space is powerful
  • What productivity means to Chris and his philosophy on life
  • How being intentional will increase your productivity
  • Why a plan helps when you’re unmotivated to complete a task
  • How a scatter focus approach to tasks works
  • Why we tend to over focus on the short run in achieving our goals
  • Why our need for novelty is a dopamine time sap

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Chris Bailey:

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