These days, it seems that if you’re not consuming something – videos, podcasts, blog posts, books, magazines, films, social media streams – then you’re probably asleep.
There’s so much great stuff out there and many of us feel compelled to keep up at a dizzying rate. My clients and students confess that their biggest challenge is finding time to create.
You’re Consuming Too Much
But a closer look usually reveals that most of us are consume a shocking amount in any one day, and that much of that time that could be spent creating. If you’re trying to create and ship something, you may need to check your consumption/creation ratio.
But I can’t give up my morning news reading! I am not letting go of my New Yorker subscription! I absolutely must start my day checking in with everyone on Facebook!
Don’t worry. I don’t advocate pulling the plug completely on what you’re consuming. Instead, if you’re truly committed to bringing your own ideas to the world, you must make sure your consumption/creation ratio is correctly balanced.
What You Consume Becomes What You Create
There are many reasons we consume – to learn, to escape, to be moved, to be updated on progress in our industry and, of course, to procrastinate.
I’m not judging what or why you consume. Everyone has the right to enjoy whatever they want. But you should be aware of what you consume and the impact that has on you.
Why is it so important to be vigilant with our consumables? Our time is precious and limited. The abundance of consumables can add to stress. Our creative work is directly affected by what we consume.
We must guard our precious creating time and energy or life will slip by and all we have to show for it is that we scanned a lot of articles and watched a lot of YouTube videos.
Just like food or beverages we take in, what we read, watch or listen to has an effect on our mental, emotional and physical states. And our mental, emotional and physical states are critical to our ability to think, feel and create.
Literally Check Your Consumption
Have you ever sat and thought about what you actually consume every day? Take about ten minutes, now, to do just that. Make a list of things you consume on a regular basis:
Next to each item on the list, jot a rough estimate of how much time per week you spend with each item.
Next, ask yourself this question for each: How does this further my professional goals or enrich me personally?
How much time a week do you spend creating? Put the consuming number next to the creating number. This is your consumption/creation ratio.
Get Your Creative Balance Back
Once you’ve done this exercise, you’ll know what’s really fueling you and your creative goals. You’ll be able to enjoy what you enjoy even more, and turn the dial down on things that aren’t contributing to your goals.
In our crowded world of information, the real game for all of us is to manage our consumption. Our ability to deal with and process information is vital to our success. Be aware of how your consumption impacts your creativity and adjust accordingly.
What did you learn about your consumption/creation ratio? What changes might you make this week to swing the emphasis from consuming to creating? Share your thoughts in a comment below. And thanks for consuming this article!
Cynthia Morris helps writers, artists and entrepreneurs make their brilliant ideas a shining reality. She writes articles, e-books, blogs and is finishing a historical novel set in Paris. Get your creative juju back with Cynthia’s creativity workshops, from her Juju Infusion videos and from her free newsletter, Impulses, all found at Original Impulse.