This image was taken from the whiteboard in my home office/bedroom. This is the list of my essential activities. Anything outside this scope is not serving me, and is not a productive or helpful use of my time.
I have always been a big consumer of the news, especially political news. This election cycle has been so negative and toxic, yet I struggled pulling away. There were times during my commute on the train where I was reading the negative news on my tablet, while a personal development book sat unread in my bag. While driving, I have been listening to NPR instead of personal development books on Audible (my favorite app ever). The last couple days since the election I feel the same futility, anxiety, anger, shock, etc. that half the country has been feeling. I have been consuming poison.
CNN = Constant Negative News
You know what? Consuming news such as postmortem analyses of the election, our political future, and random racial violence only makes me feel anxious, angry and helpless. I accomplish nothing in that state. I must disengage from negative information that inspires negative feelings. Today my friend Dave Daley posted a video on FB with the following caption:
Elections Are Over... Did They Distract You From Your Destination?
Yes Dave, they sure as hell did. I have been badly distracted, focusing on negative things. Things that do not serve my growth, my family, my business or profession. I can scarcely look at my FB feed without seeing videos of beatings, shared articles of doom and gloom, and angry vitriolic posts from people across the political spectrum. Fortunately, I also see people posting conciliatory, positive messages, and they are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for that. Here is one repeated phrase I find empowering:
Be the change you wish to see.
Right on. We can't control what other people do, we can only control ourselves. One way to make the world a better place is to make yourself a better person. I love that.
With the election hangover slowly subsiding, I need to focus on my essential activities. I put them on my whiteboard for a reason. Here is what I need to focus on:
None of these activities are furthered by reading Constant Negative News, mindlessly scrolling negative social media feeds, and engaging in political arguments in comment threads. They are a waste of time. They are damaging.
I asked my wife to proofread this post, as I always do. She rattled off other positive/productive activities I could add to the list above, but this wasn't meant to be exhaustive. Those activities are tailored for me. Your list would be totally different from mine. Would it kill you to create a list of positive, productive activities you should focus on? Could you place them prominently in your home, to remind yourself when you are wasting your time?
The more I focus on negative news, the less I'm focused on preserving life stories. My main priority right now is recording life stories, and sharing the mission of preserving life stories. Junk food news doesn't make the cut!
About the Blog
Here I write about the evolution of this project, the act of preserving life stories and personal development. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.