Five life hacks to attain monk like focus at work


What are the odds you can finish reading this article before receiving another notification or a ping from one of those WhatsApp groups? chances are slim.

Studies show that our attention span is down to a few minutes, in the name of multitasking, are constantly becoming a prisoner to our phones? Here’s how to focus and manage time in the age of constant mobile notification.

In a recent book named ‘The Distracted Mind’ the authors explain that we never multitask but only switch between tasks rapidly. They don’t suggest that we give up our devices, but that we use them in a more balanced way. Here are a five life hacks from HFT’ to hone your time management skills to attain monk like focus.

Busy is not equal to being productive

Check mails every five minutes to achieve inbox zero or the compulsive habit of replying to every message in a group chat on WhatsApp or Slack does not equal to being productive, it only means we have let our minds wander like a monkey and are handing control of our time to random people. Learning to prioritize offline work vs. online gratification is first step to take back control of our work life.

Don’t be afraid to quit

or at least mute the WhatsApp groups filled with jokes, forwards and porn. Log out of social media apps when at work, you can set email fetch and notifications to be less frequent too. The people who are constantly sending forwards & jokes maybe jobless, it doesn’t mean you should keep them company!

Be in the room

or on the Skype call, or whatever you are doing. Being physically present in one meeting and texting on your phone is not multitasking, it is dilution of your focus. You may see other colleagues use their phone while in meetings and that is not a cue for you to check your phone. Rather try a leadership move and request everybody to focus on the meeting. Not only will this make your meeting be more productive but will give others the impression you mean business.

Differentiate between a notification and a distraction

If something is important or an emergency, people will mostly likely call you and not send you a ‘hey’ on chat. It is our job to differentiate contextually differentiate between what’s signals and what’s noise.

Be yourself

Most of the time we are in FOMO (fear of missing out) and get the urge to stay on top of things like what hashtag is trending or which meat is now banned in India. It may give you brownie points at watercooler moments but unless you are in the business of news, this is all a pseudo validation that we self-impose on ourselves. Break the mold and dare to be your true self.