Guilty pleasures. That’s something many of us suffer from. Especially when it comes to consuming online content.
We scroll through never-ending feeds of the sizzling and sensational. From celebrity confessions, adorably cute animals, to gruesome murders, religious riots and the latest episode of “Who should we publicly shame today?”
Unfortunately, trashy content consumption habits could negatively influence your ability to produce great content.
First, you need to understand that mindless consumption of content isn’t doing you any good.
Psychological studies have proven that Facebook addiction impacts the brain the same way as drugs like Cocaine. And we all know how unproductive a distracted mind can be.
Beyond the constant craving which social media content triggers, you need to recognise how much time you spend online.
Citing this report by We Are Social, consumers in Asia Pacific spend between 3.1 hours to 6.3 hours on the Internet each day.
In Singapore, Hashmeta reported that the average number of hours spent on social media is about 2.1 hours each day. This figure is likely to be much higher for teenagers, youths and young adults.
What about your energy levels? According to this article on Buffer Social, we have four different kinds of energy:
Genius only occurs when you can muster and master all four forms of energy. A healthy and happy mind that is intellectually stimulated and inspired is a productive mind.
If you squander all your energies on consuming crap, you will not have any physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual resources left to produce a content masterpiece.
How can you then break out of this vicious cycle?
The first thing you need to do is to actively filter what you read, hear, or view online. You can do this by taking the following steps:
Often, I receive my best inspiration for content when I am away from my desk and not peering into my smartphone. You can do so too.
Here are some habits that you can consider:
When was the last time you met and chatted with a friend without furtively glancing at your screen at least once? Maybe 10 years ago?
Let us bring our presence back into our social gatherings!
Focus wholly on what the other person is saying. Listen not just with your ears but your heart. Participate in conversations with your whole self.
Beyond listening and speaking, make it a point to observe how people behave. What is their body language telling you? How do the inflexions in their tone of voice vary? Tap onto their emotional energies to trigger a similar connection in your heart and mind.
In-depth face-to-face conversations yield the greatest inspiration for quality content. Try it yourself and see if it works for you.
There is nothing quite like reading a good book or listening to an audio book.
Active reading sharpens your mind and boosts your creativity in a way that passive screen consumption doesn’t do. Regular readers of my blog would know that I am a serial bookworm, with a tonne of business book reviews in my name.
Here are some suggestions on how you can tap the wisdom of the printed (or spoken word):
I have been fairly regularly blogging and publishing at least two blog posts a week, 52 weeks a year, over the last 8 years or so.
Many friends asked me how I managed this, considering that I was holding down a full-time senior management job plus various other industry and board appointments when I first began.
More recently, I committed myself to sharing one visual post on Instagram at least once a day or every two days.
Through a process of meticulously posting quality content and engaging with my followers, I tripled my Instagram followers over a 9-month period – from 550 followers in December 2014 to my present 1,720 (or so) followers.
The secret lies in substituting consuming with producing.
Instead of watching television or YouTube videos, I use that time to write a blog, comment on the posts of others, tweet interesting posts, and engage. On weekends, I devote more time to producing social media content – sometimes as much as half a day on a Saturday or Sunday.
You can read more of my thoughts on this topic here.
What other strategies can you think of to improve your content diet? I’d love to hear your experiences!
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