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  1. #1
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    Default Does anyone have a problem with Hyperfocusing?

    I've always thought that I would be more successful in life if I didn't have a problem with hyperfocusing. In my case, what happens is I'll develop an interest in something, study it/do it/or be into it for a limited time - then something else captures my interest. The original interest often comes back in a few months. This makes me fairly inconsistent about many things in my life. THe problem seems to be getting worse as I get older, and the behavior seems to go in phases to some extent - for example I can go for months without hyperfocusing then it comes back. I'm otherwise mentally healthy, don't have any other ADD or autistic symtoms - but I do have some issues with anxiety. I'm really good at hiding it, so I guess it's not a HUGE problem.

    I guess what I'm wondering from you all, is this likely a personality thing or something unhealthy that is going on with me?

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicia91 View Post
    I've always thought that I would be more successful in life if I didn't have a problem with hyperfocusing. In my case, what happens is I'll develop an interest in something, study it/do it/or be into it for a limited time - then something else captures my interest. The original interest often comes back in a few months. This makes me fairly inconsistent about many things in my life. THe problem seems to be getting worse as I get older, and the behavior seems to go in phases to some extent - for example I can go for months without hyperfocusing then it comes back. I'm otherwise mentally healthy, don't have any other ADD or autistic symtoms - but I do have some issues with anxiety. I'm really good at hiding it, so I guess it's not a HUGE problem.

    I guess what I'm wondering from you all, is this likely a personality thing or something unhealthy that is going on with me?
    I think it is kind of hard to pin it own to a specific cause... whether it's more even psychological or more medical.

    If it helps, the same "intense flit" behavior does show up commonly in ExFP types at the very least. INTPs also have an eclectic obsessive focus, except we usually follow a topic all the way to an end (until we "understand" how it all works or how it's done) and then we move onto something else we don't yet understand.

    I suppose a large question is: Does this trait bother you a great deal? Do you wish it was different, or have you found a lot of benefit in being someone who can move among a wide variety of fascinating focus, because you've learned a lot more than you would have otherwise? Or to be productive in life where you are currently at, do you feel you would benefit more from sticking with something even when the initial obsessive phase ends?

    You also said that the original interest comes back, so it's not as if you are abandoning it. It sounds like the "work style" of moving among so many things and feeling your interests ebb and flow is what is distressing you, is that right?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input Jennifer!

    Sometimes I think it's something as simple as just my way of relaxing. Kind of like how some kids spend hours in their basements playing XBox and some men spend hours tinkering in the garage. I don't watch TV or have many typical hobbies so perhaps this is just my way of relaxing? And the reason it goes in phases I believe is that the more stressed I am, the more I do this.

    Sometimes I wonder if it's that my brain has trouble multi-tasking and that it can only handle one thing at a time, especially when stressed.

    Does it bother me? Yes. I am always concerned with productivity and 'what I have to show for my day' and then I feel quilty that I just spend half a day reading about something that captured my attention. For example, the day after Benair Bhutto was assassinated I spend half a day reading about her life and legacy rather than grocery shopping so I asked hubby to do it on the way home from work because I had 'too much to day that day!' (major guilt). Actually my 'interests' OFTEN rotate back but sometimes they are just something that captured my attention and is gone forever - like the Bhutto interest. Another reason it bothers me, is that I'm not really that Introverted and it's not good for me to spend so much time alone. If I'm out and about more I function better.

    What I currently have some success with is setting a time and limit to how much I do this. Sometimes I put a kitchen timer beside the computer to get me off and have a schedule of what needs to get done and I force myself to do it. Usually that works.

    Anyone else like this or am I just really weird? (actually, don't answer that! hee hee)

  4. #4
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Sometimes I do... get stuck in a loop of thinking and couldn't get my mind off it. Hmmm once I was trying to puzzle out why a person responded to my attempt of a joke in a manner completely different from what I expected. What did that mean? I ended up with 'insufficient knowledge of the person for accurate predictions'. I still couldn't stop myself from continuing thinking about the possibilities. Even though I know very darn well they're all based on assumptions that I can't quite support. Inappropriate use of tertiary Ti I believe in my case.

    Same goes for a couple of other things... my side projects etc... I work on them in bursts. Then I just stop... halfway, quarterway... not even. Sometimes I go back to work on them, but most of the time they just pile up.

    Does it affect me? Well only looking back on myself and seeing a pile of things I said I should do but I never get them done. Makes me feel bad about myself, not being able to finish at least one of them. Sometimes it means I couldn't concentrate on other work... but mostly I can control it so that I only focus on the interest when I have spare time. Although I can see how that can become a problem if it's extreme.

    Is it personality? Maybe... so long as you feel it's not taking over the rest of your life I think. Well hope my rambling helps in some way.

  5. #5

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    I get like this, and it really does bother me because I wind up being okay at a lot of things but not exceptional at anything. My interest wanes in any one topic before I master it.

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    Interesting that you are both J-types.

    and it really does bother me because I wind up being okay at a lot of things but not exceptional at anything
    That's true I'm a Queen of All Trades - but then I play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit!

  7. #7
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    no problem wity hyperfocusing- I can barely focus in the first place!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  8. #8
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicia91 View Post
    ...
    What I currently have some success with is setting a time and limit to how much I do this. Sometimes I put a kitchen timer beside the computer to get me off and have a schedule of what needs to get done and I force myself to do it. Usually that works.

    Anyone else like this or am I just really weird? (actually, don't answer that! hee hee)
    I do this, too. In order to force myself to work on something unpleasant without getting sidetracked, I set a timer, and work during that time. Then I reward myself by doing something I like.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    I don't really get 'stuck' on things... it's like I have some sort of breaker that will flip if I get too far into something.

    Instead of just looping through thinking over and over I always get a 'who cares/oh well' thought and I'll be back on center.

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