In a word, (well two actually) not this. What I mean is, too much content consumption = zero content creation. No action, no moving forward. 100% procrastination. A little harsh? In my case, not at all!
I had a realisation a few months ago that I had become addicted to consuming content. It had been that way for a couple of years I think and I had fooled myself into thinking that I was ‘so into’ my business and couldn’t get enough of any content related to my business. I was lapping it up. Every evening I’d curl up in the armchair in front of the TV with my ipad, phone or laptop, sometimes with all three scattered around me. And whilst I’d be ‘watching’ TV I’d always mostly be focussed on something online, for about 1-2 hours each night.
Whether that was a Pinterest rabbit hole or numerous email newsletters that I had signed up for and which had arrived in my inbox that day, there was always something that would grab my interest and send me down a path of content consumption for the evening. So I would spend at least an hour an evening scrolling and browsing around, reading other people’s content. Some of which would be very helpful and genuinely interesting, whilst the rest would be reinforcing or repeating something I already knew.
And all the while I was reading and listening to other people’s content, what was I definitely not doing? Creating any of my own. At one hour per night (if not more), that was at least five hours per week that I could have been devoting to building up my own, rather neglected (as it was back then) blog in order to continue to build my business. More than likely it added up to a much larger amount of time per week if I’m honest, especially if you include weekends!
Or if I didn’t want to spend that time creating my own content, it was time that I could spend in any other way I liked – reading a book, getting ready for the next day, focussing 100% on the TV programme that I was meant to be watching or even doing the ironing for goodness sake…. You get the picture.
So why was I consuming so much content?
Why was I spending so much time consuming other people’s content? I was looking for the answer, the magic formula, the magic wand. Whatever you want to call it, I had talked myself into thinking that by consuming and ‘learning’ more constantly, at some point I would get hold of that magic bit of knowledge that would be the answer to whatever it was that was missing in my business and would lead to success in my business more quickly.
But I now see that the thing that was missing in my business was me.
I needed to be taking action in my business; not be passively consuming the fruits of other people’s actions. All of this consumption really added up to massive procrastination – I just wasn’t prepared to take the leap and to start making some of the ideas in my head into reality.
I was also doing the same thing in signing up for online courses, whether free or paid (too often paid ones). I told myself that if I could just absorb all the great ideas and teaching in this next course that would be it, I’d have cracked it and be on the way to true success. And of course that never happened because, again, it wasn’t going to happen just by passively consuming all of this information, I needed to get myself into action.
It was similar with podcasts – an almost ‘must listen’ approach – some of those episode titles just suck you in. ‘This is the one’ I’d think, rather than listening for the enjoyment alone.
The one major exception I would add here is that very tangible/practical ‘how to’ type courses will give you a result. It stands to reason if the course is a good one and you follow the steps from A to Z you will be able to do that thing using that particular software. However, learning how to do that thing might help you along the way but still is not a magic answer of itself. It won’t do you any good at all if you don’t actually put what you’ve learned into practice by taking action!
So what now?
I’ve changed things in the last few weeks. I have unsubscribed from all of the email newsletters that I didn’t gain anything from (but spent time reading anyway) and have kept just those that I always look forward to.
And I have simply stopped that nightly routine of passive consumption. It has made me realise that there are a couple of hours in the evening that I can do anything with!
I’ve committed time to my blog as that’s where the focus of my content creation efforts will lie from now on, ready to be shared in any place online that’s relevant to the post. I want to take my blog up a few gears and set myself the target of weekly posts from the start of January 2020. To do this, I committed (only to myself!) to write 8 posts over the two week Christmas break. (This is post 2 of 8). I wanted to turn blog writing into a pleasure rather than it being a last minute rush, which I know will make me enjoy it so much more. And the thought of having 8 posts in hand come the start of 2020 was almost unreal to me but I needed to start in this (slightly drastic) way to give me the best chance of getting and staying ahead. This is from someone whose previous blogging efforts consisted of writing the post on the day I planned to publish it. Something I found uncomfortable and stressful.
I’m still listening to podcasts in the car but for interest and/or enjoyment only. Not through FOMO, thinking ‘this is the one’ that will save the day and provide the magic answer for my business.
It’s early days for my content creation over content consumption movement but it feels great to be writing and taking action. Having ideas in my head and not doing anything about them was intensely frustrating, which is how it has been for years. By making the time to create content, that is already changing!
At the time of editing this post it’s early January 2020 and ‘word of the year’ choices are all over social media. It may come as no surprise at all that my word of the year for 2020 is ACTION!