During our conversation on Friday, we continued to talk about flows, and try to get a further grip of when would we call a situation a flow. We were to talk about our experiences doing certain tasks, such as my machine problems (MPs) for Computer Engineering or Nicole's psychology research papers. During the conversation, I explained my process of solving the MPs, mainly coding and debugging a certain script that I have to write down in a certain language. I described the process to take 3~16 hours long, varying on how smoothly I can script the MPs. When I told people (except Yuchen) that I stayed on the computer for 16 hours straight for the task, professor asked me if I was in a flow while I was on it. My answer was 'no'. I certainly did not have flow while I was on the MPs (for the fact that I do not like Computer Engineering too much..), but I explained it to be a part of my nature that I had to end a certain thing when I have started it. Professor was quite surprised by the fact that I was staying in front of the computer debugging the script for 16 hours without flow.
This led me to something that I was thinking about for the past few days after our discussion, and as a result, I conclude that there is a term which could explain this straight 16 hour MP. It is not flow, but I found the term to be 'hyperfocus.' To introduce the terms and to see the difference, I will link 'flow' and 'hyperfocus' here. If you go into the link and compare the definitions, flow is similar to hyperfocus, but the word 'flow' has somewhat more glowing meaning to it.
"In some circumstances both flow and hyperfocus can be an aid to achievement, but in other circumstance or situations, the same focus and behavior could be a liability, distracting from the task at hand."
- from 'hyperfocus', Wikipedia.
So, even though both terms have almost the same concept, flow makes people feel joy, and even rapture on a certain level, while the hyperfocus makes people focus on a more narrow vision, making people to be 'stereotypical'.
I would like to share my working conditions for the MPs, which I believe I become 'hyperfocused' for most of the times during the tasks. As I have introduced to you already, Computer Engineering is not my greatest fields that I can perform. I learned this by taking the early ECE courses, which I had to prepare more than others to follow up the courses. After learning that I was not really exceptional at this field and discovering that I also did not have special interests, the things I learned in the engineering courses became mind numbing. Of course, it does not mean that I do not learn anything. However, it's just that I am not as much interested on doing the tasks for engineering courses as other subjects that I am interested in, such as econ. Although, I had to get them done before the deadline to get the grades that I needed to graduate.
I find, in conclusion, the type of task to be important for the flow/hyperfocus to occur during the task. If one has sincere interest in the task, it would be easier for him to find the flow, or the joy of doing the task while being absorbed in it. However, like my MPs, if the task is a must which does not inspire you, continued 16 hours in front of the task would not cause the flow, but instead would get you into a hyperfocused situation.
I would like to hear your opinion about the concept of hyperflow, and would like to see if there might be some other things that would be the cause the distinction of the flow/hyperfocus upon the tasks that one has to do.