Advice for a news addict
No meetings to report on this month, what with holidays. However, having been away, I’ve spent quite a lot of time catching up with health and wellbeing policy news. In fact too much time. It’s not really an obsession but I do feel an imperative to go through all my usual sources for the whole period. To a far less serious extent it’s probably the same sorts of thing as drives perfectionism, OCD or even hoarding behaviour. So how to deal with it?
First, a CBT type approach. Remind myself why I’m doing it (to support my activities as a patient and public representative, and to provide information for this website). But I’m spending longer collecting this news than on those public and patient activities. So, thinking about how I use the whole of my time, focus, and spend the time, on those things I’m actually trying to achieve, whether representing the patient voice or writing or whatever, and then use the left over amount of time (capped at some appropriate amount) to do what is essentially a support activity, keeping up with the news.
But it’s not as simple as that. There’s always that desire to finish the job properly. There’s a risk that it becomes an end in itself. So if there’s a process I have to constantly repeat, change the habit. Instead of routinely going through everything, pick the top few sources, go through those and then see if there’s time left for others. Mmm, thanks for that: sensible suggestion. I’ll give it a go.
Also, try and fit the task with the purpose. Picking out stories to add to the database isn’t the reason for doing it. It’s more about understanding what’s going on to support my other activities. So focus on those things which are most relevant. Hmm, I think I already do that. For instance I’ll record more items on mental health than some other things, because it’s relevant for what I do locally.
In addition, it’s not just about individual news items. It needs narrative, debate and viewing over different time periods. What seems important day by day may not be the same as what seems important over several months. So as well as the database, maybe do a blog every quarter trying to pick out the main issues and trends. OK, might do that.
OK, thank you, it’s been nice to talk to myself like this and thanks for the suggestions. I’ll see if I can follow my own advice, alter my habits and become a bit more effective.