Tag Archive: Chapter 7

Book Notes – Hyperfocus, Chapter 7

Recharging Your Attention

A person’s energy levels influence the ability to focus. Here are signs that mental energy is running low:

  • Switching between tasks often and being unable to sustain focus for just one task
  • Losing grip on intentions and working in a more reactive way
  • Getting tasks done at a noticeably slower rate, or going over things multiple times
  • Opting to do less important, more mindless work than more important and serious work
  • Unintentionally slipping into Scatterfocus mode

Even if it were for 10 minutes at a time, utilizing Scatterfocus lets the mind rest and replenish energy. A replenishing work break can have three characteristics:

  • Low-effort and habitual (see previous chapter on Habitual Mode)
  • Engaging in an activity that one actually wants to do
  • Engaging in something that isn’t a chore (unless doing a chore is enjoyable)

Basically, when taking a break, pick an activity that is highly enjoyable, such as walking around the office, going to the gym on lunch break, or spending time with coworkers that encourage positivity. Frequent recharging is also necessary if a particular project or task isn’t very motivating. Regarding taking breaks:

  • Take a break at least every 90 minutes
  • Break for roughly 15 minutes for each hour of work that is done


For every hour of sleep a person misses, two hours of productivity can be lost the next day. Some claim they can get by on less sleep than others, but chances are good that either they do not perform complex tasks or they could be more productive if they actually got enough sleep.

One of the best ways to get more sleep and increase sleep quality is to develop a solid night-time ritual. This is necessary because at the end of the day energy is depleted and people will tend to act on autopilot mode. Establish a routine that helps unwind before bed. For example, reading, meditation, or something else. Avoid television and online videos. It may seem convenient, but it soaks up attention and keeps people awake.

Taking a break is one of the productive things a person can do. Whenever a person rests, time is exchanged for energy. If anything, people should feel worse about not taking breaks than taking them.

Book Notes – How Fiction Works, Ch. 7

How Fiction Works is a book written by critic James Wood and is an examination of the techniques that fiction utilizes to immerse the reader and create an experience. This is the sixth of a series of write-ups of notes that I have taken while reading the book.

Chapter 7: Sympathy and Complexity

Wood begins with a question of the value of fiction. Wood asserts that there are three major values. One is language, the exposure to vocabulary and concepts of speech and writing. The second is the world. That is, experiencing life through the eyes of others, even if they are fictional characters. The final value has to do with convictions and beliefs. This is the idea that fiction allows readers to reinforce pre-existing beliefs or develop new beliefs or ideas through exposure to a fictional world. Seeing the world through the eyes of another can elicit sympathy and understanding and this is no less true for fictional characters than real people. In addition, insight into a character can be shown by that character’s own ability (or lack thereof) to imagine the world through the perspectives of another.

Wood believes this is connected to moral philosophy. The ability to sympathize with others or see their perspectives can lead to a character forced to immediately deal with two equal and conflicting moral arguments. Wood cites Bernard Williams, who claims that moral philosophy about the emotional life of a character rather than basic talk about the character’s self or general perceptions. Wood argues this can lead to insight in the complexity of a society’s moral fabric.

This was a relatively quick chapter to go through. I think the insight about a character’s ability or inability to understand the perspectives of others was interesting. This is also interesting in light of the idea that it can be used to highlight emotional perspectives and general moral fabric.