How To Focus for Long Periods of Time: 5 Steps to Unlocking “Monk” Focus Mode

How often does this happen to you…

You sit down and start working on one task. Then you remember something else you need to do, so you shift your focus on that task. And then another. And another. And then you forget what task you’re supposed to be working on!

You’re not alone. Here’s a shocking statistic for you: A study from the University of California found that it takes over 23 minutes to refocus after one single distraction! Now imagine this… 

The average worker is interrupted between 4 and 12 times every hour. This means that, even in the best-case scenario, the average person is interrupted once every 15 minutes. That’s more often than the time it takes to refocus!

If you feel like your day is a never-ending wrestling match with distractions and interruptions, chances are you’re not wrong. So the question is… 

How can you become the master of your distractions and unlock your “monk” focus mode?

The 5 Steps to Unlocking “Monk” Focus Mode

Before creating these 5 steps to unlocking “monk” focus mode, The Founder of Finisher Secrets, Javier, performed an experiment to record how many times he was interrupted or distracted in a day. His results…?

He was interrupted or distracted over 10 times in a single day. Now, if it takes 23 minutes to refocus each time… Javier was losing almost 4 hours of focus from his day! 

But by using these 5 steps, within 3 weeks he was able to reduce his distractions and interruptions down to only 2 per day.

Here are the 5 steps to unlocking “monk” focus mode…

1. Use “The Distraction Filter” Technique

Willpower is strongest when it’s not being used.

By using the principles of Timeboxing combined with deep work, you will effectively create a “Distraction Filter”, stopping distractions from ever becoming a problem that needs your willpower. Here’s how it works:

Choose one or two of your most important tasks for the day and set aside up to 2 hours of time to perform each task, with a strict deadline to complete the task.

During these time blocks focus on one thing: Working on that ONE task.

Tell your coworkers, family, husband, wife, child, cousin – everyone including the neighbor's dog if you have to – That you must not be disturbed, interrupted, or at all bothered during your deep work time.

And don’t worry – It’s very unlikely you’ll miss anything!

2. Forget Your Phone Exists

One of our greatest achievements is one of our greatest threats. Here’s what I mean.

On one hand, we have the incredible technological leap that created cell phones. On the other hand, we have the incredible leap in distractions that cell phones created.

You see, that computer in your pocket, and all the apps on it, have been purposefully designed to steal as much of your attention as it can. And they are very good at it.

Don’t even try willpower with your cell phone. The best way to avoid getting distracted by it during your deep work sessions is to forget you even have one. Here’s what to do:

10 minutes before you begin your deep work session, put your phone on “Airplane” mode. And then lock it in a drawer in another room.

Why 10 minutes before? Because this will allow your brain to relax from the overwhelming stimulation of your phone, so you can focus on the important task at hand.

3. Organize Your Workspace

When your space is a mess – So are you. Your physical environment can have a huge effect on your ability to focus.


But tidying and organizing your workspace does more than just help improve your focus. It can have real effects on your mental wellbeing.

For instance, cluttered spaces have been linked to increased stress and anxiety levels, bad eating choices, and even a lack of good sleep.

Bottom line: Get rid of clutter before you have to focus.

4. Perform A “Primer” Task

What if you could train your brain to switch into deep focus in seconds? Well it turns out, you can. By using the psychological principle of “priming”. Here’s how it works:

Every time you are about to start your deep work session, you perform the same task. This is your “primer task”. And every time you perform this small task, it sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to focus.

Wash your hands, make a cup of coffee, turn a card upside down… It doesn’t matter so much what your primer task is. What matters is you do it every single time you sit down for a deep work session.

You can think of a primer task like hitting a light switch. Every time you perform your primer task, your brain will “switch on” your focus – Like turning on a light.

5. Put On Focus Music & Get To Work

A Stanford study found that “music moves [the] brain to pay attention.”

Much in the same way as a primer task, the right music for your deep work sessions will help your brain to relax and stay focused. And will help stop distractions in your life. It’s hard to get distracted when you can’t hear anything!

But don’t go lose days curating your perfect “Deep Focus 2022” playlist on Spotify – Because we’ve already done that for you. Click the link below listen to our “Limitless Focus” playlist, specially curated to increase your focus.

Click here to listen to the “Limitless Focus” playlist

Now you’ve learned the 5 steps to unlocking “mode” focus mode in your day, you’ll need a way to make your new knowledge work for you. And that’s where the Finisher’s Journal can help you. 

Used by over 20,000+ entrepreneurs worldwide, Finisher’s Journal has been carefully designed to destroy distractions, end procrastination, maximize productivity, and allow you to focus for long periods of time. 

Master Your Focus With The Finisher's Journal

Join over 20,000 entrepreneurs that use this journal daily to...

  • End Procrastination
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