Be Smart About Art

Don't get swept away by the flood of news and opinion

written by: Susan Mumford June 26, 2016 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 2303 views

Don't get swept away by the flood of news and opinion

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here)

At times of national and international crisis, there’s a temptation to immerse yourself in minute-by-minute media coverage and the outpouring of feelings on social media. This is more the case than ever before thanks to the digital age providing easy access to a deluge of written and spoken reports by amateur and professional journalists alike.

While much of the UK is arguing whether or not the right decision was made, let’s consider some cold, hard facts: The EU referendum vote was 52% ‘Leave’ and 48% ‘Remain’. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced his resignation (though it doesn’t yet go into effect). In the immediate aftermath of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, the future of the country, its citizens and residents remains unclear.

Regardless of whether you are in favour of  ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’, one thing is certain: change is on the way.

As unsettling as a time like this can be, I have good news for anyone who owns a micro or small business: you can swiftly implement change and turn on a dime. I personally learned this in the depths of the 2009 recession, when gallery sales dropped off a cliff. Yet by cutting costs in every way possible and introducing guaranteed and measurable income streams, the business managed to navigate tumultuous times thanks to what my business adviser described as ‘tenacity’ and ‘willingness to change’. Regardless of what the future brings, you are in a strong position to navigate storms – should they come.

While you could spend hours and days digesting unfolding news, ask yourself how such a time suck benefits you and your business. With time a precious asset, it’s surely better spent pursuing the life of your choosing.

Here are several tips to keep you moving forward in times of crisis:

1. Be a critical thinker.

There are reports that UK citizens now need visas to visit Continental Europe. Such a statement is not factual. Only time will tell. In the meantime, what you can consciously do is avoid coming to conclusions about what the future holds based on hypothetical reporting and what you read on social media.

2. Set daily timeframes for checking news and social media.

What works for you? Decide what times of day you’ll have a look, and for how long. Write down these parameters and stick to them. If social accountability works for you, announce this commitment to keep online digestion under control on your personal facebook page (to friends & family). And if you get distracted by notifications, then switch them off!

3. Set your daily top 3 priority list.

This will help to keep you focused on what’s important. Be sure to check off items as you finish each one.

As with anything, such seemingly straightforward action points are easier said than done. Accordingly, think of it as three simple steps to take day in and day out until it’s become a seemingly natural pattern. Et voilà! You’re a critical digester of information who uses time effectively and prioritise what’s important for you in your own life.

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Image: A group of journalists on camera outside of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, Fri. 24th June 2016. 

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Really good advice - to which I would add, make time for a distracting activity that gives you pleasure and builds your emotional resilience to bad news cycles. I garden and am working to substitute 'news consumption' w proper reading time - fiction or art related for me, but you need to find the activity that feeds your soul best x