Back in the days, information was scarce.
When you got a piece of information you could sell it for a hefty price, knowing that you’re the only one who carries that info.
Nowadays, we live in times of abundance of information.
Each that we read blog posts, tweets, stories, articles, books.
We watch YouTube videos, TV, listen to podcasts and audiobooks.
And while information consumption is not necessarily bad but when not controlled it can quickly get so.
You see, in the title of this post, I specified that optimization for the quality of content consumption is key when you’re working in a so-called creative industry. But the truth is it matters for all of us no matter what our job or venture is.
That’s because what we consume is what we produce.
Remember you are what you eat slogan?
You produce what you consume could be another one.
Or your work is the product of what you consume.
#1 thing that you should optimize is the quality of that content.
Quality is more important than quantity. That’s because even if you consume more than you in fact crunch through you’ll still end up with quality information that’s left.
On the other hand, if you spend time reading or listening to 💩content, that will influence your work.
#2 thing to optimize is the volume.
We’re capable of consuming only as much content per day. Going through more content just for the sake of it is, in fact, losing out on quality information that you could (and should) consume in a more preferable time.
#3 thing to optimize is the process of consumption.
It’s much easier to do a certain thing when you know what you should be looking for.
This way you’re not worried that you’re going to get stuck in tedious tasks that lead to the actual sub-goal. This can be done by organizing content consumption in regards to when and what.
It can be as simple as when I’m on the go, I’ll listen to podcasts. Yet, when it’s 7 pm and at my desk, I’ll read one newsletter and three blog posts.
Then you can always get one step further.
You’re just about to leave your apartment. You pick up your mobile and open the Spotify app and Podcasts tab. Instead of turning on the show, you scroll through tens of episodes from your saved shows.
Prioritize what you’ll listen to when you have an opportunity to.
Same for blog posts, newsletters, etc.
Organize and streamline whenever you can.
There was no more crucial time to take care of content consumption.
The work of a creative is a sum of everything that influences his or her thinking.
People often ask how you can turn your thinking into the idea-mode as some people presumably can. Truth is it is as easy as thinking about anything else.
Depending on your background and what you consume on a daily basis your thoughts and ideas will revolve around those topics and constructs.
If you want to get better at anything you do, surround yourself with adequate quality content.
In her most recent post, Polina Marinova outlined “Improving the content diet” as one of the 10 biggest things she has learned since starting her own company. Citing:
“It’s easy to fall into a spiral of consuming what I call “junk food content,” which plunges you into crazy thought patterns and anxious feelings. A year ago, I made a conscious decision to elevate the content I was consuming, and it had a tremendous effect on my mental state.”
I fully subscribe to that notion and have experienced tremendous change since giving up on 💩content that you can put on autoplay and forget about. This gave me more time for the books that I wanted to read, videos that I wanted to watch, and podcasts that I wanted to listen to.
The I don’t have time to… is always a matter of prioritization. It’s no different with content consumption.
You’re bombarded with so many pieces of information that your brain quickly becomes “full” and gets resistant to consuming anything else. And that’s the time when the best decision is to wind down or spend time on consuming non-referrable information.
The conclusion is that your mind is the idea machine on its own. It’s the writer, editor, and publisher, all in one.
But the mind uses whatever you feed it with to go through that process.
And you are the only person to choose what it will be.