How to Stay Informed Without Getting Paralyzed by Bad News

One day ago, I arrived at the Manhattan office where I work as a tutor. I was hoping to tame my inbox before my first session. Instead, I clicked on a news alert and succumbed to a media storm of Ukrainian refugees fleeing bombed-out homes and President Biden’s ominous warnings about the Russian chemical war. This cycle of news, rather like a cyclone, plunged me into TikToks of teenagers mourning their country with tears, refugee families on the subway, and images of the safe lives of Ukrainians a few weeks earlier. Soon my chest contracted uncomfortably. A donation to the International Rescue Committee could not fully comfort me before my client arrived.

I’m describing my morning, but I’m not the only one with this experience. Interestingly, when the updates on Ukraine make me feel helpless, I feel extra anxious to know that I can’t sit and move around forever. Despite life-changing events, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world: I have to meet my work requirements.

On the one hand, the importance of daily commitments diminishes as many suffer. However, neglecting everything except the most recent global trauma would lead to unemployment and instability. This line between having terrible realities and wanting to be productive to stay afloat is tenuous. “It simply came to our notice then. And our brains have a negative bias, ”says psychiatrist Jess P. Shatkin. “We have an innate mechanism in the amygdala and limbic system to pay attention to what can harm us. But participating in this way affects our mood, sleep and anxiety,” he says.

Shatkin, director of NYU’s Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies, stressed that caring for professional and family matters can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by current events. “I cannot directly affect what is happening in Ukraine,” he says, “but I can try to be good with my students, patients and family.” Investing in your own commitments and relationships creates resilience.

While technology can paralyze bad news, online tools can also help you make productive contributions within your different roles. As an addict to organizations that combines four part-time jobs with college classes and a private life, this is how I balance responsibilities.

Schedule and recognize the time

To-do lists can look like an error log when you can’t mark things from your list. Google Calendar works best for me, as it promotes (A) the designation of time for each task so that I see what I can realistically complete each day, and (B) easily documents changes so that it recognizes my efforts when it appears a last minute meeting. , my Wi-Fi is off or a friend needs it.

I create events for most daily activities – emailing, ordering, making presentations, even lunch. That way, I assign a start and end to each business instead of looking at a list without an address. The best part about GCal is its flexibility. When my time estimates are off, I edit the event to capture the time I spent on an obligation and, if necessary, change the tasks for the next day. This week, for example, it took another 30 minutes to email my co-workers after the meeting because I was looking for a spreadsheet in our shared Google Drive. (That is to say politely: I was ready to throw my laptop against a wall.) To make up for it, I set my next task to start later and edited my event “Send an Email ‘information’ to reflect its actual duration. When I opened GCal the next day, I realized why my plans were altered instead of thinking it wasn’t productive enough, and I was able to spend more time writing emails in the future.

Also, try to create calendars for different aspects of your life and attach documents to event descriptions so that you are not me on Monday night, furiously looking for missing materials. If scheduling daily work becomes compulsive or tiring, you can use GCal’s reminders or task feature, and there’s always the Reminders app for Apple users or Todoist for Android fans. I find it more motivating to spend time, but do what you enjoy.

Embrace responsibility

Focusing on deadlines is difficult when it looks like World War III is wreaking havoc. From time to time I just have to congratulate you on the little victories, as well as attend all your meetings (or even smaller successes; I’m not above celebrating the shower). Don’t stick, but take responsibility with compassion.

If quantitative data drives you, consider an app like Yeolpumta, available in English and Korean for Apple or Android devices. App graphs that track time spent on different companies help me visualize daily, weekly, or monthly progress. In addition, turning on the application timer blocks the opening of unapproved applications, which encourages concentration when willpower is declining.

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