Living in the Now: The Japanese Approach to Mindfulness

For many people, focusing on a single task at a time can seem like an impossible feat. The demands of modern life, including attention deficit disorders, work, family responsibilities, and financial pressures, can make it challenging to complete anything from start to finish. Many individuals turn to career coaches or life coaches, spending thousands of dollars, to help them manage their workload and responsibilities.

However, there is another method gaining popularity called Ichigyo Zammai, which means full concentration on a single act in Japanese Zen. This concept comes from the book “Beginner’s Mind” by Japanese Zen Master Sunryu Suzuki.

Imagine starting and finishing one task without interruption. For most people, this feels like a foreign concept, as they bounce between various tasks throughout the day, such as washing dishes, preparing meals, checking emails, and completing household chores.

This scattered approach to daily life can be exhausting. Life coaches suggest that focusing on one task at a time is an effective way to increase productivity and reduce stress. By devoting full attention to a single task, we can achieve greater concentration, efficiency, and ultimately, better results.

Here are six steps to practicing Ichigo-Zammai

Choose a Task

To practice Ichigyo Zammai, the first step is to select a task and commit to completing it without interruption. This task can be as simple as responding to a few work emails or something more complex, such as completing a project. The key is to choose a task that requires your full attention and focus. By eliminating all distractions and committing to this one task, you can achieve greater concentration and efficiency, leading to better results and a sense of accomplishment.

Remove Distractions

To practice Ichigyo Zammai, it is important to find a quiet and comfortable space where you can work uninterrupted. This could be a private room, a quiet corner of a library, or any other place where you won’t be disturbed.

It is also crucial to turn off your phone and any other electronic devices that could distract you from the task at hand. By removing all possible distractions, you can fully focus on the task and achieve greater productivity and efficiency.


When practicing Ichigyo Zammai, it is important to focus your entire attention on the task at hand. Avoid allowing your mind to wander or become sidetracked by other thoughts or ideas. By maintaining a disciplined focus and staying present in the moment, you can avoid distractions that can lead to reduced productivity and efficiency.

This requires mental discipline and developing a strong commitment to the task at hand. The result is an increased ability to concentrate, accomplish your goals effectively, and achieve greater success.

Be Mindful

When practicing Ichigyo Zammai, it is important to practice mindfulness while completing the task. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment, observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment, and accepting them as they are. By applying mindfulness techniques, you can keep your mind focused on the task at hand, minimize distractions, and reduce stress.

This approach also helps you develop self-awareness, emotional regulation, and the ability to manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively. Ultimately, by practicing mindfulness while working, you can improve your productivity, creativity, and overall sense of well-being.

Take Breaks

When practicing Ichigyo Zammai taking breaks is important to avoid burnout and maintain focus. However, when taking a break, it is important to do so mindfully. This means stepping away from the task for a few minutes, stretching your legs, taking a few deep breaths, and then returning to the task.

By doing so, you can refresh your body and mind, allowing you to return to the task with renewed energy and focus. When taking a break, avoid any activities that could distract you or reduce your productivity, such as browsing social media or checking your email. Instead, use the break to recharge and prepare yourself for the task ahead.

Finish Strong

After completing a task while practicing Ichigyo Zammai, it is essential to pause and reflect on your accomplishment. Take a moment to acknowledge the effort that you put in and appreciate the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a task without interruption. This reflection can help you recognize your progress, build self-confidence, and motivate you to take on more challenging tasks.

Celebrating small victories can be just as important as achieving larger goals. By taking the time to acknowledge your accomplishments, you can develop greater resilience, perseverance, and a strong sense of personal satisfaction.

Scroll to Top