Zanshin: Mastering the Art of Focus and Concentration

business mindfulness personal development Sep 06, 2023


1. Confronting modern distractions head-on

2. Embracing Zanshin for enhanced business focus

3. Embracing Zanshin's Mindful Focus

One of my students recently brought me a remarkable revelation. As she finalized her assignment for our Positive Psychology Master Coach Program, I was reminded of Zanshin, a technique I had learned about years ago but had somehow managed to forget over time. This student's insight struck me hard, as I recognized the irony in my situation. Despite my early morning focus sessions, I found myself still immersed in a whirlwind of emails, websites, and social media feeds. It was a wake-up call, a realization that I needed to revisit and embrace the essence of Zanshin. Not just for myself, but for all of you, my cherished readers.

In my journey, I have often incorporated fragments of Zanshin without fully comprehending its holistic impact. However, this awakening prompted me to dive deeper, to explore this concept and its practical applications. After all, knowledge is indeed a beacon, but it's through application that transformation truly occurs. So, join me as we journey through the art of Zanshin - understanding its core, and unraveling actionable steps that can help us infuse it into our lives. Remember, practice and application are the keys, so let's embark on this journey together.

Understanding Zanshin

Zanshin, often translated as "remaining mind," is a concept deeply rooted in Japanese martial arts, particularly in disciplines like Kendo and Aikido. It refers to a state of heightened awareness and focus, even after an action has been completed. This mindfulness cultivates a seamless transition from one task to the next. To apply Zanshin in your life, start by understanding its essence and significance.


  1. Mindful Awareness: Begin each day with a moment of mindfulness. As you wake up, take a few deep breaths and set an intention to remain fully present in your activities.
  2. Reflective Pause: Before transitioning from one task to another, pause for a brief moment. Reflect on the task you just completed and acknowledge its conclusion.
  3. Clear Intentions: As you move to the next task, consciously set an intention to dedicate your full attention to it. This mental preparation sets the stage for focused engagement.

Mindfulness Meditation

One of the foundational practices of Zanshin is mindfulness meditation. Set aside a dedicated time each day to sit in a quiet space, focusing your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. This practice trains your mind to remain present and centered, a key component of Zanshin.


  1. Designate a Space: Choose a comfortable and quiet space for your meditation practice. Eliminate potential distractions.
  2. Focus on Breath: Sit comfortably with your back straight. Close your eyes and direct your attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of each inhale and exhale.
  3. Gentle Redirecting: When your mind drifts, gently redirect your focus back to your breath. Be patient with yourself; it's natural for the mind to wander.


In a world of multitasking, Zanshin emphasizes the power of single-tasking. Dedicate your attention fully to one task at a time. Whether it's replying to emails, working on a project, or enjoying a meal, immerse yourself completely in the task at hand. This not only enhances your focus but also improves the quality of your work.


  1. Prioritize Tasks: Make a list of tasks for the day and prioritize them. Focus on one task at a time, starting with the most important.
  2. Eliminate Distractions: Create a distraction-free environment. Put away your phone and close irrelevant tabs or apps on your computer.
  3. Set Time Blocks: Allocate specific time blocks for tasks. During these blocks, immerse yourself fully in the task without switching to other activities.

The Ritual of Completion

Practice the ritual of completion by consciously ending one task before moving on to the next. Take a deep breath, acknowledge the accomplishment, and then transition to the next task with the same level of focus. This practice prevents the lingering of mental clutter and maintains a sense of clarity throughout your day.


  1. Breathing Space: After completing a task, take a moment to pause and take a few deep breaths. Allow yourself to mentally disengage from the task.
  2. Acknowledge Achievement: Recognize the effort you put into the task. Celebrate even small accomplishments.
  3. Transition Intentionally: Before starting the next task, set an intention to bring the same level of focus and dedication. This intentional transition helps maintain your flow.

Minimize Distractions

Identify and minimize distractions in your environment. Turn off unnecessary notifications, create a clutter-free workspace, and communicate your periods of focused work to colleagues and family. By doing so, you create an environment that supports your efforts to cultivate Zanshin.


  1. Notification Management: Turn off non-essential notifications on your devices. Allow only important alerts to come through during focused work.
  2. Organize Workspace: Clear your workspace of clutter. Keep only the tools and materials relevant to your current task.
  3. Communication Boundaries: Communicate your periods of focused work to those around you. Let them know when you'll be available for interactions and when you need uninterrupted time.

Regular Breaks and Physical Activity

Zanshin doesn't imply constant intensity. Regular breaks and physical activity play a crucial role in maintaining sustained focus. Incorporate short breaks throughout your workday to rejuvenate your mind. Engage in physical activities like stretching, walking, or deep breathing to refresh your energy and enhance your ability to remain present.


  1. Scheduled Breaks: Set alarms or reminders for short breaks every hour. Use these breaks to stand up, stretch, and take a few deep breaths.
  2. Physical Recharge: Engage in light physical activities during breaks. Try a few minutes of yoga or take a brisk walk to boost circulation.
  3. Mindful Breathing: Practice mindful breathing exercises during breaks. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold briefly, and exhale slowly through your mouth.

Consistent Practice and Patience

Cultivating Zanshin is a journey that requires consistent practice and patience. Set realistic goals and gradually extend the duration of your focused sessions. Over time, you'll notice improvements in your concentration and productivity. Celebrate your progress and stay committed to refining your Zanshin skills.


  1. Start Small: Begin with short periods of focused work and gradually increase the duration as your capacity improves.
  2. Track Progress: Keep a journal to document your experiences and progress. Note any positive changes you observe in your ability to concentrate.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Reward yourself for staying committed to your practice of Zanshin.

Conclusion: Zanshin offers a powerful approach to mastering the art of focus and concentration in a world that often demands divided attention. By understanding and implementing its principles, such as mindfulness meditation, single-tasking, and the ritual of completion, you can experience heightened productivity and a greater sense of fulfillment in both your personal and professional life. Remember, Zanshin is not about perfection but about continuous improvement in your ability to remain present and engaged.

Embrace the essence of Zanshin, and witness the transformation it brings to your daily experiences, enabling you to navigate life's challenges with clarity, purpose, and an unwavering focus.

Braco Pobric is an Internationally Recognized Positive Psychology Expert, Executive Coach, and Corporate Trainer. He is the bestselling author of Habits and Happiness: How to Become Happier and Improve Your Wellbeing by Changing Your Habits. Braco is a founding member and Chief Happiness Officer of the Life Success Academy, Certified Positive Psychology Master Coach and Trainer, and former globally Certified Trainer and Business Coach for Dale Carnegie Training. His unique approach to integrated learning in Positive Psychology Coaching (PPMC) program let him train over 60,000 Students in 172 countries.

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