How to Concentrate on Work During an Intense News Cycle
With the constant influx of breaking news, staying focused at the office can be difficult. But if you follow some of these simple . . . wait wait wait. That’s how the President chose to respond? The President of the United States of America? Just give me a second to process this.
[Thirty minutes later.]
Sorry about that. So, the first thing you can do to help with concentration may sound simple, but it’s often overlooked: start your day off with a good breakfast. This will keep your mind . . . O.K. Now he’s saying exactly the opposite of what he just said? Well, of course he is, this is what he always does. He’s probably trying to distract the public.
Hold on, I have to write a quick thirty-seven-tweet thread.
[An hour later.]
Anyway, as I was saying, a way to improve attention span is to set aside time to meditate. Clearing your head can truly . . . Oh, shit, that guy turned out to be a sexual abuser? Wow.
This is bringing up some stuff. I have to journal a little bit and then make a phone call. Won’t take long.
[Four hours later.]
All right, I think I’m reoriented now. This has honestly been a tough year. But you know what helps burn off stress and promote brain health? Exercise. According to studies . . . Uh, they want to make what a law? That is incredibly inhumane. Does the U.N.’s stance not even matter anymore? What century are we living in?
Sorry to do this again, but I can’t not read these first-hand accounts of the people impacted. This is . . . a lot.
Where were we? Right. Let’s say you have an intimidatingly big project. If you break it down into smaller tasks, you’ll be able to set more realistic goals.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. He’s a bad guy, too? I’m going to need about two days of alone time to digest this as well as all that it implies about society, and then angrily familiarize myself with every think piece on the issue.
[Three days later.]
That took a little longer than I thought. Where were we? Ah, yes, lists. They’re a great way to create a hierarchy of tasks so that you can deal with the most pressing . . . Hold on, my friend is texting me. The President’s trying to declare war over Twitter again. This can’t be a formal declaration, right? I mean it’s Twitter, a den of cute dogs and iniquity.
This could be pretty important, though. Maybe we should take a break to figure out what the hell is going on.
[A day later.]
Well, the good news is it doesn’t seem like we’re actually at war after all, yet.
Now, another thing to try, especially if you’re in an open-floor office, is wearing headphones. People take it as a sign that you’re focused on the task you’re working on.
Which makes you think: Should we be so focused on working within this socioeconomic system when it overlaps so much with the structures that oppress us? Sure, we’re supposed to remain calm and continue living normally, but is any of this normal? And what happens if we begin to accept it as such?
Aw, crap, I missed my deadline.