Conscious Consumption

A couple weeks ago I posted about “Radical Creation”–stopping reading, watching TV, listening to podcasts etc. to re-focus on creating content and move away from constant consumption. It was a successful experiment. I came away from it refreshed and with a more conscious approach to media. I’m no longer cold-turkey, and have moved back toward the middle; toward what feels like a better place. This has resulted in me setting a few informal rules:

  • Give time to think, write and process anything you consume. If you haven’t done that for the last thing you read, listened to or watched, don’t start something new.
  • Write about it. Even if it’s just jotting down a quick note, write something about everything you take in. This is to help remember it later, but more importantly, to remember it now. 
  • Triage. Consume all types of information, but be aware of the relative value. It’s not always easy to put something down midway through, but do a gut check. If it’s not working out, move on.
  • Avoid “The Shallows“. It’s easy to spend all available time reading Twitter or Hacker News, but there is more out there. The best fish aren’t found in shallow water.

Since taking that approach, I’ve been writing significantly more, have re-started some side coding projects and have generally felt more in touch with the present and more conscious of how what I consume affects me. It’s been a good reset.