How to deal with distractions

How to deal with distractions

It can be difficult to keep one’s focus in this frenetic, always-on world. Distractions just keep coming, throwing us off from the more important things. Sometimes, though, people let them through by choice – a voluntary change in pace that starts the arduous journey of procrastination and unproductivity. 

Now, how do we deal with distractions? According to Wired, you should think like a mediaeval monk.

The Medieval monk mentality

Monks are the original non-indentured workaholics. They have utmost devotion to their practice, be it in hours-long prayer or on whatever skill they focus their minds on. Indeed, it has not been unheard of that monks take time to deal with non-ecclesiastical matters like agriculture, arts and literature. Their laborious dedication to their tasks, such as the incessant manual reproduction of secular text, allowing for the preservation – and even the flourishing – of knowledge during the Dark Ages and all the way to the Renaissance. 

One can argue that this has more to do with the isolated and quiet nature of monasteries. However, the discipline of mediaeval monks has withstood the test of time, as we can see with their brothers who, in this increasingly busy and interconnected world, remained strict adherents of their age-old vocation and traditions.

What can entrepreneurs learn from mediaeval monks?

The monastic life of old is chock full of lessons that teach us how to focus our minds on our goals and completely avoid distractions and their pitfalls. Here are some notable ones:

  • Acknowledge your distractions, and share how you deal with them.

Monks from the Middle Ages have a habit of sharing tales of concentration. These are usually told as comedic bits and are often seen as inspirational material. Narrating stories of ordinary people outdoing these cloistered brothers in terms of concentration, these are also designed to keep the monks humble while reminding them to keep their focus straight. Additionally, there are many stories of monks requesting time to be alone, acknowledging their specific need to turn away from society for but a moment to focus on whatever tasks they have. 

  • Learn how successful people go about their daily lives.

Augustine of Hippo lamented the lack of literature on the day-to-day routines of the apostles, longing in particular to get guidance from Apostle Paul’s daily life. This shows us how monks prefer to learn how to deal with distractions – by learning from their betters. Later monks wrote guides, much like many successful people did in the modern era. Today’s entrepreneurs should also do likewise, especially as successful business folk are known for the drive and tenacity that let them keep their focus on their goals.

  • Use technology to your advantage, not as a distraction.

Monks love their books; copying and reading them both serve as a discipline and a pastime. Now, imagine how they react upon the introduction of the codex format and the printing press. You might think that they’d push back in favour of traditional copying methods, but that wasn’t the case. Monks took advantage of technology so they could focus on their spiritual and practical pursuits. In the same way, modern entrepreneurs should not let modern technology act as a distraction. Instead, they should make them work to their benefit, making their lives easier as they concentrate better on their goals. 

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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