It’s been a while since I have uploaded a new blog because I’ve been juggling a freelance work schedule with my PhD work, creative work and an associate fellowship teaching qualification. I’m writing this post to re-enter the blogging flow and also to announce that I have been awarded a bursary by Physical Fest to create/develop a work for their festival in June (the nature of this performance work deserves a blog post in itself, so keep an eye out.) The past week I have also been preparing for a conference in Bournemouth, alongside teaching, rehearsals, training and marking. It’s been hectic but fulfilling. Anyway, here I share with you three things I found of interest this week. The first one being key bits of information I took from the latest non PhD related book I read: Hyper Focus.
Hyper Focus, written by Chris Bailey, is an absolute game changer. He details the ins and outs of both hyper focus and scatter focus, whilst unveiling the difference between the two and the various uses for both. For instance, hyper focus is essentially how it sounds, it is a space to maintain full control of your attention by eliminating distractions to work on one complex task at hand. Unknowingly, I have been utilizing this process in my PhD work for a while. For instance, my morning routine consists of reading and writing between the hours of 6-8am whilst my phone is still on flight mode and whilst my girlfriend is either in bed or in work herself. I get more done in those two hours of hyper focus than I would in a whole day if I were sitting in a room full of people or next to a phone that pings every two minutes. Academic papers are really quite wordy, so I need to be in hyper focus to process and understand. The best piece of advice here is to keep the phone switched off, close your office door if you have one, wear headphones if you are in a public space(even if you are not listening to anything), and give yourself only one task to focus on. That means, extracting the most important or time dependent task from your to do list and rewriting it on a piece of paper, or a post it note. This will keep you focused on the task at hand. When in hyper focus you should accept that thoughts come and go, and if you do get distracted by another thought, such as remembering you have to do something, write it down and put it somewhere that is not in your immediate eye line. I tend to put loose bits of paper under my keyboard so that is not distracting, but close enough to be remembered. The final and best tip is that coffee has been proven to aid the experience of hyper focus, which gives me an excuse to go order another Nero’s.
Whilst hyper focus works best for honing in on one complex task, Scatter Focus works better for creative tasks like brainstorming new ideas or in my case creating a new work. When I enter the studio, I slowly transition from serious researcher who has been studying complex theory to a scatter focused improviser who works spontaneously, trying to reproduce the most prominent themes of research through my body. However, once this scattered attention begins to narrow, the scatter focus then moves back into hyper focus as the work reaches the editing stage.
I did write more on this, but for the purpose of keeping this post short, I shared key information. Overall, to work between these two modes increases the size of attentional space, productivity and sense of achievement. It is enlightening to understand more about how I can better use my time for more productivity in my creative work.
The choreographic direction of the work “Generxs” resonated with me because, in parts, it appeared as a physical representation of an internal dialogue that one might engage with when paranoid that everyone is watching / criticising them. In the case of the performers who are ridiculed in this work, they are being teased about sexuality. The first occurrence of this is when the man dressed in a leotard is despairingly crawling around the floor in a pathway that is led by a woman wearing a strap on. The second is closer to the end when the man is being stripped of his clothing and then washed for his sins. This is my reading, anyway. What do you think?
Although I do appreciate how the projection has been set above the performers body (Mariana Guerrero), which is bound to a purposely built wall, it is not until around five minutes in that this work, “Desenredo Desesperado”, becomes interesting to me. As she struggles to release herself, the movement is not acted. It is raw. This stands as a reminder to me to not “overdo it”. Sometimes the natural movement is the most effective movement. I also appreciate the time she takes to chop off her hair with blunt scissors.
I’ll be back next week with more to share, but in the meantime, you can see my daily updates by following me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook