Monk Mode: How focused concentration can make your year

Have you ever considered going monk mode?

Monk mode is something I’m going to do for the next couple of months.

How is your year going for you so far? Are you crushing it? Are you making bank? Generally speaking, are you getting it done.

Your year is 25% done already.

Is it me or is this year going extra fast?

Every year seems to go that little bit faster. Time probably goes along at the same rate no matter what you do.

If anything it’s your perception of time that changes.

You still have the same amount of memory space available. Each year more and more is getting used up, and that’s probably why it speeds up.

Your brain, unknown to you is making the decisions of what to hold onto and what to dump. Are you struggling to remember what you’ve achieved in the first part of the year? If so there’s a chance that it wasn’t all that memorable, to begin with.

You have to trust me that I am getting to the point about monk mode, but I’m going to take a quick detour into what memory means.

If you have an elderly relative or if you’re in contact with an older person think of how they come across to you. How are they? Would it be unfair to say that they are a little forgetful at times?

You say that it’s old age and think nothing of it. Some even say it’s dementia or Alzheimers. Is it though, do we have to diagnose every senior moment.

My uncle diagnosed my grandma with Alzheimer’s at her funeral.

That was a Shyamalan twist that no one saw coming.

Now I thought that you would need years of medical training to even begin to consider making a diagnosis.

What do I know?

The point I’m getting at is that she didn’t have Alzheimers or dementia. Being forgetful at that age is not an indicator that you’re going all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

My grandma was old and was under a lot of stress. She wasn’t very active and had a terrible diet. Without telling tales outside of school put it this way, those who cared for her longest did not care the most.

Where am I going with this? Am I having a senior moment? Is this Alzheimers?

You still there? Good.

What I’m saying is that towards the end of her life she lived the same series of days over and over on repeat.

Sat on the sofa watching Columbo and Murder She Wrote.

Grandmas life was Groundhog Day.

Fair play to my mum and aunt for taking her on holidays. Trying to break that routine. Sadly, the routine had become so ingrained in her mind that to break from it distressed her.

If you are living the same day your brain is going to compile those memories into one space.

You don’t have Alzheimer’s, you just have a boring life.

The moral of this tale is if you want to forget your life stick to routines. If you want to remember, switch things up.

My year so far.

My year so far has been pretty good. I’ve done stand-up comedy which went OK and am looking to do more.

Mental Deficiency, the band I’m in, had their first gig recently. We’re going to be playing more throughout the year.

From the beginning of the year up until March, my freelancing grew exponentially.

Doing script consultation with writers was fun.

The freelancing got to the point though where it was taking up more of my time than my own pursuits.

Since that, I’ve shut up shop while I rethink pricing and time commitment.

It’s been an invaluable experience, and it’s definitely made me more resolute in my own writing.

There are also a couple of opportunities on the horizon I’m excited about. I don’t want to talk about them too much in case they don’t happen.

It feels like I am close to getting my workflow in a good place so that everything is becoming more streamlined. As in it takes less effort to get things from the mind to the page.

As years go, this has been fantastic. My nadir year was 2017. It wasn’t that anything particularly bad happened that year.

By the same token, nothing good happened either.

I wasted my time in two relationships that went nowhere, and that’s about all I can remember from that year.

I’m thankful for the experience, but as years go, it was a waste of time.

Slipping away

There is always a chance that every year is a potential 2017. At this point of the year, it is essential for me to take stock.

I’ll be honest I have already started to take my foot off the pedal in some regards, and I can’t let that happen again.

My big problem is maintaining momentum. Things go well, and then I stop or lose interest. Either way, there is no excuse.

I have to keep going.

This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

The thing is that even I know it.

When I don’t write I get depressed.

I fall back onto bad habits. I eat garbage, play video games, spend hours on Youtube, watch porn and masturbate. It’s not good because then I beat myself up for not writing.

The part of me that doesn’t like being told what to do just doubles down and the cycle continues.

I get stuck in my own Groundhog Day.

Time passes regardless.

Monk Mode

For the next three months, I’m going to go “Monk Mode”. Urban Dictionary says in Monk Mode: there are no women, no alcohol, no fun, ONLY training.

I take issue with that definition. Monk mode isn’t about no fun, it’s about dedicating yourself fully to the task at hand. Focusing entirely on achieving your goals.

Let’s take my goals this year.

What do I want to get done this year?

In short, two play scripts and two film scripts. Additionally, I’d like to get the next Mental Deficiency album recorded. I’d also love to have a solid 20 minutes of stand-up, but these two goals fall into the “bonus” category.

Let’s just look at the scripts for now.

Be aware that this is going to get technical as anything. If you zone out, you can skip onto the conclusion.

2 play scripts = 2 x 10,000 words + 2 x 10,000 words for the background notes and outlines etc.

Total word counts for the plays = 40,000 words.

2 screenplays = 2 x 20,000 words for the drafts + 2 x 20,000 words for the outlines etc.

Total word count for the scripts = 80,000 words

Takes 24 hours of writing to do 20,000 words.

Total writing time = 96 hours.

96 hours that’s all it will take to get what I want to do this year.

If I work four hours a day that will take less than a month.

Easy, right?

So what’s stopping me, what’s stopping you?

The distractions,

They’re killing me.

If you’re honest with yourself, the distractions are killing you too.

Here’s a list of what I need to do and what I need to avoid to become more disciplined.

Monk mode guidelines

  • I plan out meals – so much time is wasted deciding what to eat and when I don’t have a plan I tend to eat bad stuff.
  • I write 1000 words a day – this is a habit that I need to build on. Slowly I am getting better at it, and the words are coming more efficiently; however, I’m still inconsistent.
  • I plan out what I am going to post on Instagram – I spend way too much time scrolling on Instagram. I need to become more strategic when it comes to using it.
  • Put out twenty tweets per day. I’m on twitter a lot but more as a consumer. It’s an excellent platform for writers, I need to get better at Twitter.
  • I work out every other day – I need to get consistent with the working out and building my strength. It always feels good even after a brief work out yet somehow I leave it a long time between sessions.
  • I don’t eat out- It’s a waste of money, and I should be improving my own cooking skills.
  • I don’t consume sugar – Sugar is an Achilles heel of mine, and I eat way too many sweet things. Need to cut down and then eventually cut out.

  • I fast every Friday for 24 hours – I used to fast twice a week but now not so much. Fasting makes the mind sharper, and I need to tap back into that strength.
  • I don’t play video games. This is a time suck. I am enjoying Apex Legends and Alien Isolation, but I need to cut way down on that. I tend to play it late at night too, and that gets me all excited before bed. You know what I mean?
  • I cut down, way down on Youtube videos – This is another weakness, I’m watching way too many Youtube videos. It has become my TV only this TV can follow me around the house and eat my day like it ain’t no thing.
  • I don’t watch porn/ masturbate- This one is a little on the side of TMI. In the interest of being transparent here, you go. I’ve actually started into this one from before the start of the year, and it’s going well. Again, to be honest, I have had a few lapses and have felt rotten after. I’m going to write about how bad porn and self-abuse are, but for the meantime, this one is already in progress.

Please note:

As time goes on this list will be adjusted and amended, but I’m excited to go into monk mode.

See you on the other side.

Conclusion

Monk mode is a period of concentrated focus on what you need to get done.

Hopefully, you get some value out of this article, and maybe you’ll go monk mode yourself.

What do you need to get done?

Time goes on regardless.

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