I have an affliction. It is incurable. It was first identified by The Buddha, who called it Kapicitta. Today we call it monkey mind. The incessant chattering of internal monologue.
Monkey Mind sufferers are easy to spot. They can’t sit still. They can’t finish a task. They walk into rooms and forget why they went there in the first place. They hit send/receive on their email every two minutes.
And social media! Monkey Minders put the Twit in Twitter. Their Face in Facebook. The Insta in Instagram.
But there is hope. All of these have worked for me at different times:
- Clear your desk, except for the one thing you are working on.
- Keep an electronic Task List that works on all platforms, like ToDoIst. This eliminates the worry that you forgot something.
- Eliminate social media during designated work hours. Trust me, you will not be missing out. The lunacy will still be there when you get back.
- Keep a journal. Write about what is bothering you and make a point to re-read your entries from two weeks ago. You will be shocked at how trivial the matter seems in retrospect.
- Read books. Go back and forth between fiction and nonfiction. The flow of images and ideas keeps my mind going forward, not round and around. Listen to audio books if you are stuck behind the wheel. Oh, and if a book is not doing it for you, put it aside or throw it away. No reason to stop reading because you are not enjoying a book you chose.
- Exercise. The benefits of exercise are well documented, but the one that means the most to me is a good night’s sleep. As David Letterman used to say, “I’m tired, but it s a good kind of tired.”
Monkey mind is a chronic disease that can’t be cured.
But it can be treated.