Here's something you'll see in common with your favorite passionate entrepreneurs: They know when to stop. Richard Branson does his most intense work after lunchtime, Arianna Huffington commits to several hours of sleep a night and even Tony Robbins schedules in "me time" every single morning.

Defy Ventures' founder Catherine Hoke has some serious credibility, from building a successful non-profit based on integrating the previously incarcerated into entrepreneurship roles to overcoming her own challenges to be one of the most sought-after female leaders.

Her secret? Monthly monk days. Two of them, actually.

Take two days off every month

On the latest Tim Ferriss show, she explains monk days as scheduled times away from the world. There are two types she takes: Personal and professional.

A personal monk day is a day to recharge, reflect and reboot. It is a day focused on inner productivity versus outer results. It is unplugging, too, which means no Internet, cell phone or other outside devices. If it sounds familiar, Hoke's strategy echoes my own blank day routine.

A professional monk day is a day to get stuff done. It has the same unplugging aspect, but it has a concrete to-do or task list. In old-school parlance, we'd call it a catch up day. In today's interconnected world, having a true catch up day almost requires completely unplugging from distractions (It's no coincidence that my own month of unplugging was some of the most clear, productive days of last year).

How you can implement your own monk days

Don't be afraid of leaving social media for a bit: Can you check your social feed while you're at the dentist? Of course not, but you survive. Treat your monk days with the same amount of respect. Your chances of missing anything important are next to nil.

Start offloading your basic tasks: The unspoken fact is that Hoke can only do monk days by creating and training a competent support team. Start building your physical or virtual support before you actually need them.

Give yourself permission: Again, the entrepreneurs that last are those that give themselves permission to stop and think. Focus on your 100-year plan, not your 100-hour one.

Published on: Jan 30, 2018