I’ve had trouble sleeping for as long as I can remember.
It’s gotten better in recent years, but there are still plenty of nights when I lie in bed wide awake, exhausted but unable to sleep.
You know the feeling, right? When there are so many things on your mind, all spinning around up there at the same time? It’s like you can’t remember what you had for lunch but all of sudden that one email you need to respond to from two weeks ago pops into your head.
I think it stems from being pulled in a bunch of different directions and having very little uninterrupted time to deal with things. Maybe it’s the nature of my work in social media, although I think every working professional these days can relate. With email on our phones we’re literally connected at all times.
The most effective productivity tool I’ve found – and I’ve tried ALL of them – is to periodically go into Monk Mode.
What’s Monk Mode, you ask?
It’s a magical little concept in which you take some time, be it a weekend, a full day or even a couple hours of each day, to check out completely. Shut out the world. Disconnect from everyone and everything – humans and the Internet alike.
You avoid making any appointments or plans with other people and free up some time and space for yourself. Not your roommate, not your mom, not your boyfriend, no one.
What’s the benefit?
Total solitude creates space. Space to be productive and creative, to get in touch with ourselves or to dedicate time to something that brings us joy. Sometimes I dedicate entire weekends to reading a book that’s been on my list, it’s glorious.
How do you pull it off?
It’s simple. Put the time on your calendar – I mean literally, write it down on paper and block it off on your phone calendar. Don’t make any appointments or schedule any plans for this day, weekend, or hey, get crazy and go to Mexico for a week. You don’t have to tell people you’re going into Monk Mode, but it does help to declare it. You’d be surprised by how few adverse reactions you’ll get. You might even inspire someone to do the same.
It may sound extreme or completely unrealistic for some, but I think that may be part of a larger problem. We romanticize busyness and packed schedules, there is always something – usually trivial – to get done.
But when we use our schedule as a tool, we grant ourselves the time and space to shut out all of the noise and distraction in life and focus on what matters.
If you’re ever frustrated with a seemingly never-ending list of to-dos, feel like many days are spent answering emails, or wish you had more time and space to go all in on things, it may be time to enter Monk Mode. Put it on the cal.
Do you ever take the time to completely disconnect, or is this something you struggle with?