Read Time - 5 min
Pretty much everyone with smartphone access knows the difficulty of focusing on tasks in the digital age. When presented with a whole host of enticing notifications, feeds, and colorful apps, it can feel almost impossible to resist the lure of distractions. While quickly responding to a message may not feel like a big deal, persistent and regular interruptions can have a profound impact on concentration. If you’re struggling to maintain high productivity levels, digital technologies could represent a significant part of the problem.
Did you know, for example, that distracted people can suffer a whopping ten-point drop in their IQ? Given that the average American checks their phones an average of 96 times a day (every ten minutes), it’s no wonder many of us feel we’re not achieving our full potential in our personal or professional lives. Fortunately, digital media addicts across the country are discovering a simple and effective strategy to help them regain their long-lost focus and fulfil their goals – monk mode.
If you’re familiar with the disciplined lives of monks, you can probably guess what monk mode entails – deep focus and dedication to a single task. However, while monks have been dedicating themselves to meditation, deep study, and minimalist lifestyles for many centuries, detaching yourself from the chaos of modern life can feel like a radical act for the average worker. While the prospect of avoiding social media, streaming sites, emails, video meetings, apps, and more can feel daunting, it could transform your life for the better.
Embracing monk mode is easier said than done. After all, we’ve been conditioned to rely on our digital devices for everything from waking us up in the morning to organizing our finances. Here are some simple tips to get you started:
One of the main reasons people struggle to focus on work is that they’re constantly distracted by colleagues and requests. We all know how stressful it can feel to wade through 56 unread emails, 17 Slack notifications, and endless opened tabs full of tasks you must complete. Unfortunately, receiving a constant stream of demands can lead to stress and overwhelm, leaving workers unable to put their minds toward a specific task.
To combat this problem, don’t be afraid to set boundaries with colleagues. You could, for example, let peers know that you will only reply to emails during certain hours of the day or will not accept meeting requests in the morning. Naturally, you will need to offer some flexibility depending on the nature of your role. However, advocating for your own needs and headspace is one of the best things you can do to preserve and improve your concentration span.
For many people, it’s almost impossible to work in a loud, messy, or busy environment. If you’re lucky enough to work from home or have a designated space in your office, creating a serene work environment could work wonders for your productivity. As well as hiding your phone away, why not invest in soft and calming lighting, ergonomic furniture, and productivity tools such as calendars and notebooks? Try to incorporate as many analogue items as possible, such as paper, wall clocks, and sticky notes, to minimize your need to use digital devices.
Perhaps the most crucial (and challenging) step in entering monk is to minimize digital distractions. One of the best ways to resist the lure of notifications is to use an app that limits your access to certain smartphone functions while you’re working. Naturally, you may need to permit emergency phone calls or vital apps, depending on your personal circumstances.
Monks aren’t known for staying up late streaming YouTube videos. Rather, they’re early risers who make the most of the small hours to brush up on their reading and meditation. Embrace the serenity of the early morning by setting your alarm an hour or two earlier and focusing on your most important tasks for the day. Many of us are more alert at dawn when daily stresses and worries are yet to enter our heads. If you feel a little sluggish when your alarm sounds, a delicious cup of coffee should kickstart your mind!
Ready to start fulfilling your potential and improving your relationship with technology? Attempting to enter monk mode is a great place to start. While you might struggle a little at first, it will only get easier with practice. You’ll be preaching about the power of this popular technique in no time.