Living in the present has always been a challenge for humanity. Our hyperactive minds always wander in the past and the future. In fact, you can easily say that most people live in the future and past more than they do in the present.
And this comes at a price: we end up facing anxiety, depression, procrastination, dead-ends, and whatnot. We are simply designed to be in the present, and we drift off from this design.
The Ichigyo-Zammai method is an ancient Japanese method of staying in the present and it roughly translates into ‘full concentration on a single act.’ Its roots are in the Zen culture, and it was introduced as a term first by Zen Master Sunryu Suzuki in his book Beginner’s Mind.
Its main lesson is that once you start an activity, you should finish it and not add other things in the bucket while you’re on that activity. It may seem limiting to many who tend to multitask at the cost of their wellbeing, but it can actually help you achieve much more than you may think.
And here are 6 steps to help you practice the Ichigyo-Zammai technique:
1. Always have a to-do list at the start of your day. In it, include all the regular activities as well as the extras that you want to accomplish for the day.
2. Order the activities by importance. Ask yourself which of the activities will contribute to the feeling that you’ve had a successful day if you complete them.
3. Estimate the time which you will need to complete the tasks. Stick to the hour measure and don’t underestimate your abilities. You will be surprised at how much you’re able to achieve in shorter blocks of time.
4. Set a timer and focus on the task. And remove any other distractions that can wait, such as your phone and all those social-media ‘attacks.’ Focus on the task completely until the timer goes off. Once you’re done, allow yourself to drift off on Facebook or whatever.
5. Pay attention to your thoughts. We often tend to procrastinate because of our drifting thoughts. So, to maintain your focus and get the job done, always be aware of your thoughts and whether they are in sync with your task. If they aren’t, bring them back to center and allow yourself to readjust.
6. Be aware of your surroundings. As you’re on your task, spread your awareness to your surroundings and to the feeling of being present in the ‘now.’ Keep this fabulous energy with you and you will see that even the most tedious of tasks can become a pure enjoyment with the right mindset and energy!
This technique not only boosts your productivity but also increases your sense of inner peace.
When you give proper attention to the things that deserve it, you will see how life becomes easier, you become happier at your workplace, you enjoy your care for your home more, and you socialize with people on a higher level.
So, instead of turning your focus on how miserable you may be feeling at work, focus on the positive side that you have a job which can help you grow; instead of paying attention to the messages on your phone during a conversation, pay attention to the person you’re talking with.
The moment needs you and you need the moment – adopting this mindset will set you free from debilitating thoughts and unnecessary wasting of energy. Live in the present!