In his book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” Greg McKeown refers to getting focused as being in the “Monk Mode.” The benefit to the Monk Mode is greater and higher quality work product.
Given our time-starved world, it might be more effective to find Mini-Monk Modes throughout our day. Here are some ways to do that:
- Silent Times. Seek out short periods during the day—like 20 minutes—during which you grant yourself permission to work uninterrupted. This may be first thing in the morning or after the proverbial dust settles at the end of the day. The point is to actively determine when these periods occur. The act of choosing delivers great rewards; repeating that act eventually creates a habit.
- Quiet Zones. Create a quiet zone in your workspace. One client put a chair in his office in which he did all of his “heavy thinking.” He positioned the chair behind the door, which he left open when we went to his Thinking Chair. This led people to pass by his office during these periods, reducing the number of interruptions he suffered.
- Question Blocks. We are often interrupted by questions from others. In fact, we can sabotage our own focus efforts ￼by dashing off to ask someone else a question. Ask others, to the extent possible, to save their questions as they come up through the day, then bring them to you in groups. Also, keep a notepad close at hand on which to jot down the questions that come to mind and then seek those answers after the Mini-Monk Mode is over.
Getting just a few Mini-Monk Mode periods in a day can greatly boost our productivity and sense of accomplishment.