Saturday, July 21, 2012

How Create / Consume Can Help You

To Do Create / Consume Too!
I talked a little bit last time during my weekly update about how how certain traits were key when setting goals for yourself. I think the topic deserves further exploration, and I'm going to weave it all into a post here about how I think Create / Consume can work to improve anyone's life.
(FYI - every study or fact you see referenced here, unless otherwise noted, is courtesy of Barking Up The Wrong Tree, a fantastic blog composed of amazing statistics that seeks to "understand why we do what we do and use the answers to be awesome at life." A noble goal indeed)

Resisting Temptation

I didn't know this until I was knee deep in my experiment, but studies have shown that the desire for media use is incredibly hard to resist, actually trumping the desire for cigarettes and alcohol, two traditionally highly addictive drugs. It doesn't take a whole lot to really convince any of us that the internet can be very addicting, as can the desire to veg out in the front of the television whenever we're feeling lazy and have some time to kill. It's human nature, and it takes will power to resist the temptation.

What I like about Create / Consume is I can liken it to a diet that allows me to indulge in whatever way I want, so long as I'm being productive overall. I'll spend some time writing during the day, when I first wake up in the morning, and maybe a little during my lunch break or on my commute home - and I can spend my time at home consuming whatever I want. Or if I spend a full day working on something through the night, then the next day I pretty much be as lazy as I want. 

The balance is tricky, and it's certainly not easy to maintain. But being productive is ultimately more rewarding in the long run. I think we all know this, too - we sometimes just need a little push to get us going. On the flip side of things, did you know that under-indulging could actually be the key to happiness?

Learning Self Control / Time Management

It wasn't until I started tracking my time that I became fully aware of how much I consume. Sure, I knew that I listened to a lot of podcasts, and spent more time than I should on facebook. And then of course there's all those games on my iPhone. But man-oh-man was I shocked to see the total staring me right in the face. Nearly 48 hours of my entire week was spent consuming. By comparison, I actually spent less time sleeping that same week (less than 47 hours, though I wasn't tracking it precisely).

According to studies, will power can be improved with small acts of self control every day. I think Create / Consume hands those daily smalls acts to you by keeping you highly aware of your time. It's annoying at first, but it's slowly becoming second hand to start tracking both fields of activity whenever I'm about to start one of them.  And knowing the clock is ticking in either direction while I'm working makes me less inclined to spend more than few minutes browsing the internet when I could be doing something more productive. Conversely, I find that I'm pushing myself to get in a few more hours of creation wherever I can. I'm seeing The Dark Knight Rises tonight, and on top of this blog post, I plan on spending some time drawing Batman while I'm in line waiting to counteract some of of the approximate 3 hour run-time of the film! (Drawing is not really something I do regularly, so this will be a strictly side creation

Working Towards Your Goal

In my last post I briefly mentioned having read that apparently ambitiousness and vagueness were key traits to aim for in trying to be successful with a particular goal. In other words, aiming to start living an overall healthier lifestyle that includes an improved diet and regular exercise might be a better overall diet plan than simply 'lose 50 pounds,' though I can't personally speak to how ambitious or unambitious either of those goals are. (Someone with dieting experience care to chime in?)

Here's my personal example: before C/C, I had a personal goal of eight hours of writing every week. When I was working with that goal, before the experiment started, I missed the mark pretty regularly, and I'd feel like crap every time it happened. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn't I able to make the time? Now since starting the experiment, I've not concentrated on any other goal besides keeping my creation above my consumption - and if you look at my stats and combine writing and blogging each week, I'm currently average close to ten hours a week of writing. Which I literally didn't realize until writing this post. Pretty cool, huh?

I'm setting a bar for myself this month without ever really seeing exactly where it is. I'm aware of the specific times I'm investing in everything, and the statistic I find myself looking at the most is the ratio of creation to consumption over any given day/week/the entire month. All I can ever do to improve that stat is what I'm already doing - create more, consume less. And so that's what I'm always keeping in mind. I'm aware of whenever I'm consuming a lot, and working contrary to my goal, but I don't feel like I ever need to panic because of all the ways I have set up to put things in reverse. The month has so far been anything but stressful.

***

When I first started out with this project I really had no idea how much it would help me. Now I'm fairly convinced I'm going to keep doing it even after the month is up (more on this soon). And I will continue to encourage others who are looking to create more to do it with me. I'm actually selling myself on this whole crazy concept more and more every day I'm doing it! I hope this post has done the same for you.

-Matt

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