I’m not going to lie: it is hard to stay focused on your work when the news is full o’ drama. After a meeting on Wednesday, I shut down Zoom and opened Twitter. The first thing I saw was a tweet saying that the “capital had been breached.” Suddenly, I was going down the news rabbit hole trying to figure out what was happening. My ambitious work plans for the day began to slip away from me.
It would be safe to say that I’m not the only one. I spoke to a few people this week who lost hours of valuable work time because they were glued to their screens. Thankfully, I was able to pull myself away – and complete most of my goals. So how do you do it? How can you remain focused on projects, family, or other duties when the world is churning?
Frankly, you can’t completely do that. When the news is too intense, it’s hard to concentrate. Plus, you probably want to know what’s going on. I certainly do. Here’s how I manage to remain productive – while trying to keep an eye on world events:
:: I cut myself some slack. The perfectionist in me can go take a nap. If I don’t get it all done, I’ll reengineer my week to make sure I don’t miss deadlines. This may mean working later or getting up earlier.
:: I always create open spaces in my day. This means I have windows of “free time,” which I can use for grabbing a tea, surfing the web, or texting my kids. If I’ve spent too much time watching the news, these openings in my schedule can be either used for catching up on work – or designated for fretting over the state of the world.
:: When I’m working, all distractions are turned off. Period. You can use a website blocking app like Freedom to keep you off the web. Make sure your cell phone is in another room – or shut it off completely.
:: There are no televisions or radios in my work space. It’s too tempting to take a glance – and get stuck there.
:: I use Focus At Will, which pipes music in the background. They claim that their focus music helps you “get stuff done when you’re stressed and under pressure.” I have been using this service for years – and it works. I swear by it.
Those are my best tips. I will say that I’m not perfect and there are plenty of times when I’m a full-on news junkie. Those days happen and I am not going to beat myself up about it. Neither should you. If you’ve had a hard time keeping your head in the game, take a deep breath, turn off the news right now, and get back on it. You’ve got this!
Now cat distractions are a whole ‘nother matter!
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What I’m Grateful For:
Texts from the kids
Sunlight on a cold day
Soundtrack for 1/9/21:
Bigger by Beyoncé
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2021
images from stock photography and personal collection