Optimising Outcomes: Understanding Your Focus Fingerprint
Have you ever wondered why some people can effortlessly jump between tasks — while others dive deeply into a single activity, blocking everything else out?
Welcome to the concept of the Focus Fingerprint.
Everyone has a unique pattern of attention.
Much like our distinct fingerprints — no two individuals process, concentrate, or react to information in exactly the same manner. While our thoughts bear our personal imprints, understanding these patterns is pivotal not just for self-awareness but for optimisation of your efforts.
The Focus Fingerprint has two prominent patterns:
- Transient Focus: This is an adaptable state of focus, suitable for quickly processing or toggling between tasks. It represents a superficial focus state.
- Persistent Focus: This entails honing in on a task or concept, allowing it to dominate your attention, naturally sidelining distractions.
Recognising your inherent focus tendencies allows you to leverage your cognitive strengths and address any weak spots.
Now you might be wondering if this this connects to broader ideas like ‘neurotypical’ vs. ‘neurodivergent’ minds.
The short answer is yes and no.
Yes, certain traits align more with specific neuro types.
- Most people can sit through a meeting without getting extremely restless. That’s a neurotypical trait and also a persistent focus state.
- Someone with ADHD might jump between tasks, showing a natural lean towards transient focus.
- And a person with autism might hyper-focus to reduce sensory overload, resonating with persistent focus.
However, it’s important to understand that these are broad generalisations.
- Not every neurotypical person will have a persistent focus.
- And not every neurodivergent person will have a transient focus.
My Focus Fingerprint
I’m naturally hyper-focused, which is a persistent focus.
This means that once I dive into something, it’s easy for me to get deeply engrossed. It’s a strength when I need to delve into deep work, but in the past, it caused bottlenecks. I’d become so engrossed that I’d forget lunch or neglect the transient focus tasks.
I work in mental modes with Focus Drivers.
This has allowed to set aside time for the transient focus work through my mental mode for shallow work — called Eco mode. I also limit myself to 60-minute sessions of persistent focus in Sports and Off-road modes. This helps reduce my tunnel vision and obsession on one area of interest.
Understanding your Focus Fingerprint — whether it’s transient or persistent — is not about changing it but rather grasping and steering it for maximum productivity.
Action Plan: Dual-Task Assessment
Grab a pen and paper or your favourite notes app.
- Dual-Task Selection: On your paper, create two columns.
- Left Column: “Read & Summarise” – Choose an online article, newsletter, a chapter of a book or something that you find interesting.
- Right Column: “Task List” – List 5-7 tasks you have pending for the week (e.g., client presentation, launching a newsletter, new staff onboarding).
- 45-Minute Timer: Set a timer for 45 minutes.
- Aim to read the article and write a brief summary in the left column.
- Whenever a thought related to one of the tasks in the right column pops into your mind, write down any specific details or steps about that task.
- Begin: Start the timer and begin the activity. Allow your mind to work naturally.
- Reflect & Assess:
- If you found yourself frequently diverting to jot down task details while reading, it indicates a leaning toward transient focus (task-switching).
- If you mostly stayed with the article and drafted a solid summary with minimal diversions to the task list, it suggests a tendency toward persistent focus.
- Bonus Feedback: Rate, on a scale of 1-10, how stressed or relaxed you felt during the exercise. Often, people feel more at ease in their natural cognitive state.
By recognising your Focus Fingerprint, you can work harmoniously with your inherent nature, yielding impactful results with minimal strain.