Hyperactive mode is Twitter, staying on top of email, messaging. Browsing and chatting on Slack, quick reading on Medium, being responsive. Notifications. Many browser tabs. Meeting after meeting after meeting. Fixing things. Hyperactive mode is reactive, immersive, lots of little shots of dopamine. Stress.
Hyperactive mode is valuable, and feels great, sometimes. But not always. It will rarely make you feel satisfied. Hyperactive mode often leaves you thinking “where did my day go?”
Focus mode is undisturbed writing, creative flow, quality. Focus mode is a flow of thought after thought after thought, channeled into products. Words on paper. Amazing code. Beautiful drawings. Focus mode is creating things and finishing things. It’s taking in information with full attention. Long reads. An insightful talk. An inspiring movie.
Focus mode is valuable, and feels great, almost always. Focus mode often leaves you thinking “where did that come from?”
But it shouldn’t be the only thing. Focus mode needs some hyperactive mode to stay in touch with the world.
Spend some time in true focus mode and some time in hyperactive mode every day. When in doubt, err on the side of more focus mode. This world will push you toward hyperactive mode all the time.
If there is a secret to professional wellbeing as a knowledge worker, this is probably it.