How do you keep focused in troubled times?


#1

Originally published at: https://interi.org/2017/01/how-do-you-keep-focused-in-troubled-times/

Let me tell ya, I am all over the place. I get maybe an hour of focus each day, and that is if I start drinking tea early in the morning, and I get this lunchtime clarity.

My thoughts go all over the place, and I tire easily. I really enjoy having an actionable task in front of me, but the nature of my work is 75% thinking and researching, and that just isn’t working these days.

And I know why.

I feel like I need to keep up with what is happening in the federal government, but there is just so damn much. And I am not the type that is okay not being completely up on current issues.

Normally that means that maybe 5% of my time is spent paying attention to Congress, depending on what they are discussing that week. But these confirmation hearings have just scaled up the trouble the new administration has brought to power. I mean, I’ve mentioned that the cabinet picks are like a who’s who of Disney villains, but when we get more into their backgrounds and experience, but mostly apparent motivations, it is frightnening!

And all along I know that no matter how much I know about what is at stake, it is ultimately an impotent gesture. Knowing all this doesn’t actually enact change, and I can only call my representatives so many times in one day/week/month before it is noted that, yeah, I am not on board.

I even have a difficult time enjoying the things I am normally way into: WordPress, video games, weird new tech, and all the amazing stuff happening in astronomy. The only thing that pulls me out of my head is Clover and Susan, but they aren’t around all the time, and about 1.5 of that duo is also worried.

So that is me. How are you doing? How do you keep focused? What brain hacks do you employ to get stuff done while the trolls gather at the gates?


#2

My next course of action is to take a break from the shitshow that is the new administration. I will still get in my five calls a day (and maybe pair that is five servings of produce for good measure…). I will still post the things that come across my feeds, and will participate in the conversation here.

But I am not going to dig as deep. I don’t need to be an expert on every issue that comes down the pipe, because you know for damn sure that 45 isn’t. And that is possibly the greatest expense we are paying at this point in time: the draining anxiety over this Anti-American buffoon.

I obviously can’t remain oblivious, but here is what I realized, I need to care for myself and my family. And I am fortunate enough to be able to do that by helping my community. My work helps those that help others. The bulk of my clients are small businesses, and how can I not equate that to actually creating jobs?

So I am going to focus on that as much as possible. Let me know when the next protest is.


#3

I’m having a terrible time focusing. But what has helped me most are the usual for any distraction (really diving into a project for hours), and perspective. For the latter, that means acknowledging that the extreme narcissist now empowered is making things relatively worse, but on an absolute scale, barely registers. The U.S. has been an evil empire its entire history. For example, only with loss aversion bias is the recent immigration order a significant new outrage. The underlying much greater outrage is that the international order is global apartheid, of which all U.S. administrations of the past ~100 years have been chief architects and enforcers of. I want to focus on very long-term projects of re-orienting stories, economies, and global governance away from extreme narcissism, not contribute to struggle between elite factions (which is how civilizations collapse).


#4

You don’t think it is a case of giving and inch and 45 taking a mile? I would love to chalk it up to loss aversion bias, but I am worried it is the first step of an unstable administer.

Specifically, I worry that the Republican “leaders” are the least affected by discrimination while also being addicted to power, won’t step in even if more executive orders make life miserable for more marginalized groups.

That is why I have a hard time looking away…


#5

Probably is. My argument is more that the system of global apartheid means thousands of miles are gone. It’s the seen inch, potential mile, or whatever added on that people get outraged about. The unseen depths are the real outrage. ~100k people affected by recent orders? 7 billion by global apartheid, the amount of negative affect directly correlated to wealth and other privilege. That the outrage starts now is outrageous.