Start working with the focus of a monk

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Monks – derived from the Greek word 'μοναχος' which means lonely – sometimes work with immense focus and for months on end, on a sand mandala. Then, when this complicated drawing is done, they wipe it all away again. Where can one find this focus the monks work with? And how could you apply it to your daily life, where Facebook, Instagram, datingapps and Netlix are always there to tempt you?

find focus in a world of temptation:

1. Clean up your desk.

2. Shut down your email and your browser before you start working. When you need to work with your browser, don’t open more tabs than you need.

3. Turn off notifications: from your phone, your smartwatch, really anything that bleeps, rings or makes any noise.

4. If you don’t need internet to work with, find a spot where there’s isn’t any. Yes, they exist! For instance here, or herehere and here.

5. Put your headphones on before you start.

6. Make sure you have a special assignment to perfect. Tell yourself to write a chapter of your book, create a fantastic bit of code or work out a creative proposal. There is a big difference between small tasks that require little thinking capacity but will tire you – like answering you email, updating your to-do list, organizing your documents or tagging your messages – and the focus you need for bigger tasks like writing a bestseller. All the little things can wait, it’s about the big, sweeping things that are so monumental that you’d rather do a thousand little things than start on one major thing.


Here’s how to prepare yourself to begin your task with attention and focus. This doesn’t mean you should use all day to perfect your work playlist, clean and tidy your desk and unravel your phone settings to make sure not only the sound but also the data, brightness and group notifications in WhatsApp are switched off. This would be considered procrastinating. A random Spotiy playlist, a quick tidy and the mute button on your phone will suffice.

What’s your secret to working with focus? Share your story with us on Facebook.