Trying to find balance when you hyper-focus

My favorite place in the world

My favorite place in the world

I was diagnosed with ADD back when I was in first grade.  I’ve never really seen this as a hinderance – in fact, I think a lot of my creativity and quirkiness comes from the way my brain works.  I’m better at paying attention (somewhat) now than I was as a child, though I’m still easily distracted (What?  There’s a kitty over there?).  One aspect of ADD that I didn’t learn about until I was an adult, but that I definitely see in my life, is hyper-focus.  This is a frequent occurrence in people with ADD, where they become focused on one particular thing to the point of obsession, where it’s all they can think or talk about.  I’ve seen this in both small periods of time (spending hours editing the CSS of my blog) and longer periods of time (obsessions with anything from knitting to Paleo foods to Crossfit)  These periods of hyperfocus mean that I get a lot done, in the area that I’m focusing on.  I read voraciously, I create new boards on Pinterest, I find every bit of information on the topic that I can.  But unfortunately, this often ends up being at the expense of other aspects of my life.

Right now, my hyper-focus is on my career, specially, on starting a Makerspace in my library as part of the Maker Education movement.  Maker Education started as part of the Make organization, and it’s more or less a fancy, catchy way of talking about how DIY helps students to activate their brains and their creativity.  The Makerspace I’m working towards already has K’nex for students to build with, and eventually I’m looking to add LEGOS, small electronics students can solder and tinker with, toys like Makey Makey, Squishy Circuits and Snap Circuits, as well as regular old crafts like yarn for knitting, weaving and crocheting, duct tape, and other craft supplies.  My goal is to give the students a place to learn creatively, think about design, and just have fun.

My focus though, has resulted in neglecting other areas of my life.  I’ve worked through about half of my Winter 14 goals, but the rest are a bit stalled.  While I’ve been walking a lot, I haven’t lifted weights in over a month.  Most days when I come home from work my brain feels so fried from all these different ideas and things I’ve been thinking about, that I just want to sit and watch some television or read a YA novel.

I guess what I’m trying to figure out now is how to make it all balance.  I don’t want to stop hyperfocusing – amazing things happen when I put so much energy into one project or idea.  But I want to find a way to still keep everything else going.  To work on projects that have nothing to do with what I’m hyperfocusing on.  It’s not easy, but there has to be a way.

How do you maintain balance in your life?



About Diana

Style maven, knitter, crafter, seamstress, one who does not walk the beaten path.
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3 Responses to Trying to find balance when you hyper-focus

  1. Shybiker says:

    Good news – you have awareness of both the problem and the cure. Balance. With it, we get the advantages of single-minded focus (which is terrific at accomplishing goals) with realization that we need to pull back and re-incorporate other activities into our lives. Having this awareness, I’m sure you’ll avoid acting to extreme.

    While I don’t have your condition, I do have the ability to hyper-focus. I’m reminded of the need for balance when I get exhausted. I look up, see beauty in the world, and take in the bigger picture. That reminds me not to stay too fixated on my current obsession.


  2. I just try to take it-one day, one hour at a time. I try not to stress over everything and try to keep an even keel during the storms of life.


  3. Carissa says:

    I go through serial obsessions too. I think for me it’s become second nature to a) identify the onset of a new obsession and b) try to estimate the scope of how much time this will take up (short-term? Long-term? Lots of details to work out (designing a book of smoothie recipes) or just lots of hours (knitting, training for an epic bike ride)) and evaluate whether or not I can take this on and what I’ll have to give up in order to make time for this new thing. Also, I’ve abandoned the concept of a tidy home or a regularly updated blog. 🙂 good luck learning to find your own balance!


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