It hit me that I have been consuming so much so fast that I haven’t had time to actually think about what it means. This is further expanding on the topic I discussed a while back titled Media Consumption. I have listened to some great Podcasts and read some great articles. Some of them have great nuggets of information that I write to myself thinking I will expand on it soon. The problem is that I never have time to execute that idea. I just end up with pages of notes that I will never look back at because I am already consuming the next block of information.
The Neverending stream of Information
As you can see from the picture below I have a podcast listening problem big time. Don’t get me wrong I like all of them but there is never enough time. Mostly I listen to podcasts while running. However, it is also really easy to just keep listening to these wonderful podcasts after I return from a run or during downtimes like walking the dog, walking into work, folding laundry, working around the house and the list could go on and on.*View of my Podcast list from October 2018*
Hence lies the problem that I might be consuming too much information versus creating my own output or reflecting on what I have heard. Every time I read articles, books, or even listen to books or podcasts I always have this great intention of sitting down at the computer and writing out some thoughts like I am doing right now. However, as you have noticed from my very sporadic posting schedule, I never quite get back to the creation side of things.
On a run a while back I was planning to hit a feat I had not done in a long time by cranking out a 6-mile run. About 2 miles in my Bluetooth headphones died and all I had was silence. It was a strange feeling but good strange. I was just listening to my breathing, my feet hitting the pavement, and animals making noises in the distance.
It made me think that maybe I do need to rethink when I consume vs create or maybe I just need times of silence. In fact, it might just be that I need more time to think through what I had been consuming instead of just going right on to the next book or the next podcast. It is almost too easy to just let the next in queue startup without even thinking about it or digesting what was said.
What is next!
Obviously, the answer is easy but sometimes you just need to hear other people say it for it to sink in. I think Cody Warner said perfectly in one of is daily vlogs from a while back…
Stop Watching… Start Doing! - Cody Warner
As I look for areas to improve on, this tweet I ran across below might be a good rule to follow.
My new social media rule for 2019: create as much as I consume.— Jillian Johnsrud (@JillianJohnsrud) September 20, 2018
Other Articles on this Topic
If you have been thinking about this too, or wonder what other people have to say on this topic I am sure there are a bunch of other articles you can find. Towards the end of 2018 I was hearing a lot of people talk about it. Below are two articles that stuck out in my mind and each are taking different approaches.
Thinking about Attention by CGP Grey
CGP Grey, where he talks about stepping back from the internet almost completely. I don’t disagree with his thoughts as I too feel my attention span may be affected by always being connected and getting bit-sized pieces of information instead of long-form. For me personally, I consume more long-form listening than reading and even though I try to actually read a couple of books a year it is a challenge for me to stay focused. Grey may be taking a drastic approach that I am sure will work well for him.
A New Case for Unsubscribing from Nearly Everything by Cait Flanders
Cait actually has more than the one article touching on this topic as if you follow her you know she started slowly taking steps back from how she consumed information from the internet. She is not completely stepping away from the internet and just focusing on what mediums she wants to “subscribe” to as a way to ensure she can focus on other projects that are important to her. In another article (Why I’m Retiring from Personal Blogging) she wrote about intentionally creating space in our lives for things we want to do.
When we intentionally create space in our lives, we can intentionally decide what to fill it with. - Cait Flanders.
I have not entirely figured out the best way for me to scale back my information consumption but will continue focusing on it going forward. If you have started to scale back yourself what has worked well for you?