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Too much focus

AFP – As the name suggests, “monk mode” is all about maximising your capabilities by adopting the studious, solitary lifestyle of a monk.

This involves meditating, switching off your phone, cutting yourself off from social networks and limiting your interactions with colleagues who could hinder your productivity.

Some followers of this concentration-boosting method go even further by abandoning their social life or abstaining from certain substances (like coffee or sugar) to focus on performing to their very best ability.

“Monk mode” is inspired by personal development methods, which have been in vogue for years, to improve learning and memorisation skills at work. It was first conceptualised in the 2000s, although it has recently come back into fashion on social networks.

The hashtag #monkmode has 67.4 million views on TikTok, the preferred platform for young people to talk about their working lives.

Videos on the subject tend to extol the virtues of this technique to a predominantly male audience.


It seems that the proponents of “monk mode” are often young men, seeking to optimise their work and enrich themselves by soaking up inspirational discourse.

They advocate the importance of self-discipline and productivity for professional success.

One of the most fervent advocates of this method is Iman Gadzhi, a twenty-something entrepreneur who heads up the communications agency, IAG Media, and Grow Your Agency, a training organisation that aims to “reform the education system by bringing our customers the best online business programs the world has ever seen”.

His videos on the benefits of “monk mode” are viewed by tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of TikTok users.

Yet there’s no guarantee that “monk mode” will boost productivity. German and British researchers discovered in 2018 that practising mindful breath awareness meditation for 10 minutes a day could improve concentration and working memory.

So is it enough to meditate and cut yourself off from all potential sources of distraction to improve professional performance? Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, productivity goes hand in hand with unproductiveness.

It’s essential to take time out for yourself, so you’re better able to immerse yourself in your work when the time comes. What’s more, the social isolation inherent to “monk mode” lifestyles can be detrimental to mental well-being.

All in all, it’s important to avoid burning yourself out trying to meet increased productivity demands.