When Notifications Are Fighting to Get Your Attention, Use 'Monk Mode' to Avoid Distractions

  • 77% of employees use social media at work and spend an average of two hours and 24 minutes a day scrolling through it.

  • "Monk Mode" claims to help people avoid all digital distractions and focus on a specific task as much as possible.

Monk Mode
No comments Twitter Flipboard E-mail

Procrastination is often triggered by psychological factors like boredom, work overload, or stress, which can lead to postponing tasks unnecessarily. This can result in increased tension and less time to complete tasks.

One effective way to combat procrastination is to eliminate digital distractions. The so-called “Monk Mode” approach aims to help you this by minimizing technological interruptions to maintain focus while studying, working, or even spending leisure time with family and friends.

An Infinite Rabbit Hole of Distractions

It’s no secret that social networking and content apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have been designed to capture a user’s attention with the “infinite scroll” feature. According to Harvard Business Review, this feature works through a psychological process similar to the one associated with drug addiction. In fact, the European Union is considering banning the “infinite scroll” feature due to its addictive effects.

The addictive nature of social media has led to 77% of employees using their social networks while working, according to the Pew Research Center. Data from the Digital 2023 Report prepared by the consulting firms We Are Social and Meltwater, reveals that people spend an average of two hours and 24 minutes browsing social media every day.

In addition, research from University of Kassel in Germany, highlights the negative effects that notifications have on productivity and performance in tasks that require concentration. As such, the concept of digital isolation, which is what is proposed by Monk Mode, is effective in optimizing the time dedicated to work or study.

Monk Mode: A Flight Mode for Your Brain

Monk Mode involves eliminating all digital distractions from your devices to focus solely on the work at hand. This method is similar to the “Eat the Frog” technique, which aims to help people identify the most important and demanding tasks and prioritize them over simpler ones.

Unlike the Time Blocking and 1-3-5 Rule techniques, the goal of Monk Mode isn't to organize your workflow. It complements these two other methods to enhance concentration and ensure that the time spent on tasks is used efficiently without being interrupted by phone notifications.

When we receive notifications from social media, emails, or messages, our brain is conditioned to react, a behavioral procedure known as Pavlovian conditioning. At the same time, this triggers FOMO, which many of us have felt at one time or another.

This means that upon receiving a notification, our brain shifts its focus and seeks a dopamine reward, which is only fulfilled by checking that notification. It’s estimated that it takes between 15 and 30 minutes to fully regain maximum concentration after being interrupted by a notification.

Technology To Control Technology

People don’t need to apply the Monk Mode approach to all tasks throughout the day. According to Bloc CEO Josh Wood, the best way to start getting used to this isolation practice is to do it for short periods of time to achieve maximum concentration.

For instance, you can start by using Monk Mode when facing the most demanding task in your day. Gradually, you’ll be able to extend the periods of “disconnection” from notifications. The key is to be inflexible with distractions and direct all your attention to finish the chosen task during the assigned disconnection time.

In this regard, there are apps that help you mute notifications and block access to certain apps and social networks for a specific amount of time, preventing the temptation to constantly check them. This can help you avoid wasting time.

Freedom is one of the most versatile apps. It’s available both for phones and computers, which means you can avoid distractions from incoming email notifications on all your devices. Similarly, Cold Turkey and FocusMe are also useful in preventing digital distractions.

Social Media Is a Leisure Activity, and Leisure Activities Are a Good Thing

Social networks are crucial for leisure and personal relationships. As such, it’s important to note that the goal of Monk Mode isn't to completely disconnect you from social media (unless you want to), but rather to limit use when you need to focus on other tasks.

This will prevent your brain from having to multitask. Prioritizing concentration on a single task can improve cognitive response, which, simultaneously, can reduce mistakes, lower stress levels, and improve long-term memory and learning processes.

Having said that, it’s important to schedule breaks from work in your to-do list, but it’s also crucial to give your brain some downtime and allow it to get bored and do nothing. You’ll thank yourself for it at the end of the day.

Image | Cottonbro Studio via Pexels

Home o Index