Too much intentional attention. One of the unfortunate habits I fall into from time to time is the over-consumption of news and information. From sports talk to political talk, and all manner of news reports, I gorge myself on it.
And it’s not just information that gets to be too much. I’m a sucker for listening to opinions under the guise of wanting to understand what people are thinking. It wears on me.
I say it’s a bad habit because it leaves me open to a constant flood of information that, while informative at times, isn’t designed to serve me. In fact, it’s often designed to play with my emotions and hold my attention.
None of that is helpful or actionable. How could it be?
As I flip from station to station endlessly consuming a variety of information, there is nothing more than a collection of sound bites. The stream of rehashed viewpoints fills my head with useless arguments I end up having with my radio as I drive home.
I don’t want to avoid the news. I want to stay informed. However, I think it’s essential for us to pay attention to the effect regular consumption has on our psyche.
Noticing how much time we give in the name of staying informed and the impact it has on our actions and decision making is eye-opening.
The trigger for me was noticing a dramatic increase in feeling anxious and unmotivated. As I listened to people on the radio share their take on events, I became angry or frustrated. And I wasn’t doing anything with it.
It happened as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, too. I could feel my emotions shift from post to post, but I just kept scrolling and scrolling with no real purpose.
My head was getting cluttered with random points and internal debates that led nowhere.
Too Much Intentional Attention
Instead of seeking information, I was subjecting myself to it.
And it was beginning to dictate what I was thinking about throughout the day.
It was apparent I had to do something.
As with any change in behaviour I try to make, I look for ways to remove things supporting my bad habit. In this case turning off the radio, deleting apps, and blocking sites on my browser are a few.
I then replace them with something to support my desired outcome such as podcasts, daily briefings or even silence.
Again, this isn’t about burying my head in the sand or filling the day with only positive news and information. It’s about choice.
Our attention is valuable. We’ve got to be intentional with how we use it.
It’s not always easy. People are fighting for every sliver of our attention every day. But the fact is, we get to decide who wins that battle. And I’m rooting for you. You with me?
Improve your skills through one of many courses! Start Now