Hyperfocus, is it a superpower?

For me it comes pretty close to being one

By Camilla Asra Engelby

Graphic Designer & Content Creator Camilla Asra Engelby

Okay, let’s talk about hyperfocus! October is ADHD (and ADD) awareness month, and as an ADD person hyperfocus is an aspect of my neurodiverse identity

What is hyperfocus?

Hyperfocus is an extremely high level of attention that can last for hours on end. Hyperfocus is often seen in people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or like me attention deficit disorder (ADD), however it’s not an official symptom though psychiatrically, it is considered to be a trait of ADHD / ADD. And though hyperfocus can cause a person to be side-tracked I’ve managed to harness it in a meaningful and practical way in my work as a graphic designer.

When I’m in hyperfocus mode I’m able to concentrate so intensely (and as a result work really fast) that I completely loose track of time and everything else going on around me. During the final stages leading up to event live of Copenhagen 2021 WorldPride and EuroGames I utilised this ability to the fullest several times.

Hyperfocus saves the day

Covid-19 posed a great deal of challenges for Copenhagen 2021 (as well as for many others). I was originally meant to have four weeks for concept development and graphic design of the 164-pages official guide for the event. But because the guidelines from the authorities were somewhat late (and also not quite what the management had anticipated), I ended up only having two weeks to complete this enormous task.

And here’s where me having hyperfocus saved the day. And by the way – if you’re curious to see see the final result of the official guide for Copenhagen 2021, you can do that right here. Personally I’m exceedingly proud of the outcome.

So is hyperfocus a superpower?

I’ve previously mentioned, in my blog post about ‘Autism in the workplace’, that I’m not really a fan of calling neurodiverse abilities superpowers. But for me personally hyperfocus does comes pretty close to being one. And it has on many occasions saved a project or task. With that in mind it’s quite disheartening that so few ADHD / ADD and autistic people are involuntarily left out of the workforce. We truly do have so much to offer.

Hyperfocus employment stats 90% of autistic adults are unemployed, 67% of ADHD / ADD adults are unemployed, 48% of disabled adults are unemployed, 18% of able bodied adults are unemployed

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