Efficient Hyper-focus, Center our Mind, and Scatterfocus, Connect the Dots, Phones are a Productivity Black Hole, No notifications

How to work less and achieve more, by Chris Bailey.


The methodology that will help you focus, and create more effectively. Your most valuable asset is your attention. Value-creating things is stress-relieving, and will improve happiness, and productivity. 


To achieve happiness and greater success, let’s start focusing on what our brain is attending to. There seem to be two kinds of focus, our fixed intent (hyperfocus), and connecting the dots (scatter focus). 


When we disconnect, it’s one of the most powerful ways to spark new and innovative ideas. Even if we are simply noticing the thoughts in our heads, attention is the backdrop we are against. 


Youtube Channel "From Slow to Flow", Secrets with Julie Spark: watch here


Podcast Channel "From Slow to Flow", Secrets with Julie Spark: listen here




When I learned to un-focus, I realized it was the best practice to nurture my creativity, my happiness, and my productivity. When I focus on life, at work, and at home (hyperfocus), that’s when I become the best version of myself. We all have our routines, and we are all uniquely wired, that’s why productivity is highly personal.


Our brains are constantly looking for things to focus on, studies have shown that the average time we can work in front of a computer before getting distracted is 40 seconds!


“Our phones are a productivity black hole, just sitting in our pockets.”



Slow Lifestyle Secrets

Caffeine boosts our mental, and physical performance. Use it wisely, before training, as it will tell your body to burn the fat, for energy (while intermittent fasting), and it will be excellent before reading a book or doing a task where you’ll have to hyperfocus.


Please do reach out, and let us know how you go @askjulie.spark #slowsecrets.


Switch off autopilot, switch your attention to the most important decision of today. 


“Your focus determines your reality.”- Qui-Gon Jinn

Slow Lifestyle Secrets


I check in with myself regularly. I ask myself, what’s on your mind? I write down a list of things to deal with later. Then I refocus on the task at hand. I try to do the right thing at the right time, which makes me extra productive. I have deactivated all notifications from my phone, and from my laptop. At the moment I even have zero connection when I’m home. I’m loving it! I read 4 books, which would mean I’d read 50 a year; and I wrote 3 books this year. To accomplish more, I maintain my intention, my attention overflows, and it benefits my quality of life. 



I slow down, and thanks to hyperfocus, I accomplish so much in such a small amount of time. I’m less busy, but I allow fewer objects in my attentional space. 


When it comes to my most important tasks, the fewer things I pay attention to, the more productive it becomes. I centre my mind so I can spend time and attention on what’s actually in front of me because it’s normal that my mind wanders. 


At the beginning of the day, I choose 3 things I want to accomplish by the end of the day. I add my daily tasks, and at the end of the day, I congratulate myself when completed- positive self-reinforcement. 


I now use my phone with intention, and not on autopilot mode. It sits in my bag, not in my pocket, on silence mode, and with zero notifications. When I sleep it’s always on airplane mode. If there’s an emergency, people know where I live. I check my messages in the morning, and in the afternoon. I rarely reply immediately. Took people 6 months, but now they all know. 


When are you most productive?

Is it in the office?

Does certain music make you more productive? 


I’m most productive in a stunning environment, like staring at the crystal clear blue water, and white sandy beach of Gili Air, the island where I live. Blasting psytrance in my bose earphones. It somehow clears my brain, and an empty brain is most productive. The fewer things I have in my head, the more productive I become.


Do you practice meditation?

Or do you feel like it’s only for monks? Meditation is the practice to bring your focus continuously to one single object of attention- usually the breath.


“When the mind wanders, focus on the breath.” 


Studies have shown that for a group that was encouraged to meditate 45 min, two times a week, their working capacity increased by more than 30%, just after a few weeks. 


Video: https://youtu.be/gvuOpRIFyBc


I like to start my meditation with a mindful shower, present with what I am experiencing. I focus on the sensations of the present. What do I see, hear, smell, feel, enables me to train my brain to focus better on what is in front of me.
I notice the circumstances of the current moment, and I become conscious of what is filling my mind. I practice being with my breath, so I can be with my life. To increase the size of my attentional space, I practice mindfulness. 


Sometimes just one or two minutes, it doesn’t matter how long or where I meditate, I just make sure I do it 5 days a week. No matter where my mind wanders, I focus on the breath, and I approach it with genuine curiosity. 



Spending quality time with someone is great, now add quality attention. When is the last time you allowed someone to finish speaking before you started? That is the secret to deep meaningful conversation. Bringing your complete attention to the person you are with. 


The quality of your attention shall determine the quality of your life. At home the more attention you devote, the more meaningful your life will become, at work the more productive you’ll become. 


“Attention is the most important ingredient we have to live a good, productive life.” – Chris Bailey




Scatterfocus is the most creative mode of the brain, hyperfocus is the most productive.


To be the most happy, creative, and productive version of myself. I learned how to use each mode intelligently, these two modes work remarkably hand in hand. 


“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien


As I travel through time, I visit the past, the present, and the future, connecting to what I’ve learned, what I am doing, and what I’d like to achieve. It allows my creativity to flourish, and enable me to work with greater intention. That intention will automatically contrast my desire against the present I need to change to make that future a reality. 


There are three types of scatter-focus. The most powerful I find is when I’m engaging in simple tasks, and I capture valuable ideas, and plans that come up, it’s called habitual mode. The second is when I let my mind roam free, and I capture whatever comes up. Also known as capture mode. The latter is a problem-crushing mode. I hold a problem, and let my thoughts wander around it. 


It’s like my brain creates a scratch pad to connect my ideas. The more positive I am, the more productive (usually – because I find much truth in pain and darkness – in moderation). My elevated mood will expand the size of my attentional space. The happier I am in scatter-focus, the more benefits I’ll have to it. 


Giving my attention a rest, for example not bringing my phone with me, on my walk, during a lunch with a friend; and just letting my mind wander, really helped with my burn-out. 


“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time. “ – John Lubbock, in the use of life


I find recharging critical, and worth all the time I invest in it. While scatter focusing, we recharge our mental energy, for our most important tasks. 


Throughout the day, I often feel my energy steadily depleting, as does my ability to focus. I now work 2-4hours a day, hyperfocused; the rest of the time is for scatter-focus. 


Lifestyle Vignette


The Importance of Sleep 


I used to be a raging insomniac, I liked calling it “creative insomnia”, I just couldn’t manage to stop my brain from scatter-focusing. Ideas would pop into my head, I had to write them down, and I just couldn’t fall asleep. I convinced myself it was OK. As long as you’re lying down, you’re resting. Right…


Then I developed a solid nighttime ritual, helping me to get more quality sleep. At the end of the day, often depleted of my energy, I developed a tendency to just turn on autopilot mode. 


I decided to ditch the TV, which was stimulating, and I focused on habits that helped me unwind. Like reading, meditating, drinking herbal tea, disconnecting. At some point, my 4G provider even bounced me completely offline. I decided not to have internet or connection at home, for over 4 months. It was bliss. I created a new habit. 


“Dreaming is scatter-focus on steroids, your mind continues to connect the dots.” – Chris Bailey


I realized whenever I rested, I was exchanging time for energy. Breaks allowed me to recharge, and that year off prevented me from hitting a wall. Taking a break is the most productive thing I did. Because my brain now is as sharp as can be, and the sparks coming out of it are solid quality, not just noise. I now focus on being happy, creative, and productive. 


Scatter focus helps me become more creative, it helps me plan for the future, and it recharges my batteries, for when I need to hyperfocus. 


“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. – Albert Einstein


The more I invest in my happiness, the more creative I become when in scatter focus mode and the more productive I become in hyperfocus mode. Understand there is a difference between genuinely investing in happiness and just thinking positively. The latter won’t work.


A study showed the top five activities that make people happier:


  1. Making Love

  2. Exercise

  3. Talking and investing in their relationships

  4. Playing

  5. Listening to music


TED talk Shawn Achor – The happiness advantage

Video: https://youtu.be/GXy__kBVq1M


His top 4 activities are:


  1. Performing a random act of kindness

  2. Meditating

  3. Journalling (one good experience a day)

  4. 3 things you are grateful for today


I LOVE COFFEE (add to before)


Alcohol helps to scatter focus, and coffee helps to hyperfocus. Caffeine boosts physical, and mental performance. It deepens my focus, it helps me persevere, it boosts my determination, even when I’m tired. It improves my performance.  

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