5: Scatterfocus - A Focus Superpower

Originally published at: https://effectiveremotework.com/2020/05/5-scatterfocus-a-focus-superpower/

Deep work is the core habit of leveraging focus, but what about when you run out of energy? At max, you have energy for around 4 hours of quality deep work per day. What can you do to manage your attention and focus well outside of those hours? This week we continue our deep dive…


The biggest productivity challenge for me at the mo’ is figuring out how to balance the focused, deep-dive deep work that yields progress on ambitious goals against the little-bit-every-day consistency that keeps things from falling through the cracks and advances commitments like fitness, language learning, or social media marketing.


I have a challenge with that too. It’s helped me to recognize that I only have a certain amount of deep work in me on a given day. When I’m done with that, I take a break then come back and crank out the admin/maintenance stuff usually.

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Great Episode! Thanks for putting it out there that one can not always be hyperfocused on a single thing, and that it is natural and important not to have to be „productive“ every part fo the day. That seems to get forgotten often in amongst the productivity community. You add a human touch to the otherwise somewhat mechanical view on us humans.

Plus, great embedded podcast player! Still being able to navigate the site whilst keeping the player up there…first time I‘ve actually listened to a whole podcast via a built in player!

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I’ve gotten burned by that view so many times. The last thing the world needs is someone else telling people they need to work more and harder. :nauseated_face:

99.9% of the time that’s not the solution. It’s likely the problem.

Thanks much for the kind words too!

I’m glad you like it! I built it simply to show Fireside’s latest episode player. It doesn’t scale appropriately on mobile, so it’s hidden there, but I’m happy it’s helpful.

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Sometimes I do deep work and I get frustrated when I am deadlocked at a certain point of the project. That’s when I find doing something else completely different like washing the dishes or clearing out a drawer for a limited time (usually 15-30 minutes) allows my mind to scatter focus. It’s a mindless task but it keeps my body active while my brain cycles down. Sometimes a light bulb turns on inside my head with a “eureka” moment and I can move forward with the project I set aside. Other times, it calms me down and cooler heads prevail. I am relaxed and can go back to the project with a bit more focus energy and continue on my way.

The mind sweep is also another method I use when I’m frustrated and just need to list down all the issues and have it in front of me. A daunting task suddenly manifests itself in my notebook and it becomes more digestible. Big goals eventually become small next actions that can be easier to tackle as I zoom away from the overall big picture and can zoom into the next actions that will get me towards the big goal.

During the pandemic, I finally realized I no longer have to be productive every minute of the day. Picking the right tasks or goals to focus on brings better productivity/rewards/results over just tackling one hundred minor tasks. I don’t neglect the minor tasks but I do batch process them now to get these out of the way. Then I have meaningful time blocks to work on projects that make results instead of maintaining the status quo.

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Hardest thing ever to learn it seems like.