This post is just something I was reflecting on that I thought to share. It is just my perspective and I’d want to hear yours.
Productivity comes from the verb to produce. We throw the word productivity around a lot but in essence it just means to create/ offer / cause/ give rise to.
Anything you do that leads to creation is productive work. So social media is not necessarily a distraction if it brings about creation ( which it often does)
What can you create ?
The more obvious answers would be some sort of product : food , physical product , content etc
Other things you can create
What can you consume ?
Information in all its forms :
- Social media
- Art in all its forms
And food and drink of course.
How do you do apply the knowledge ?
One can argue that consumption can be productive especially if it provides necessary information and tools to create or inspire creation.
However , what use is knowledge without action ?
If you spend 3 years learning about how to start a business and never start one , what have you gained ?
This can even be applied to academic knowledge. You could choose to study for 8 hours a day but if you never put it to practice , it is almost wasted.
- Doing practice questions
- Taking exams
- Writing application based essays
- Doing research that contributes to advancements in that field
In summary-applying that theory to your real life experiences.
So yes, I also believe that studying is a form of consumption until you create something out of it .
For many years , I consumed a lot of information. I knew things in theory but had nothing to show for it practically .
Once I realized this , I made it a point to consciously derive actionable steps from the content I consume. Sometimes I do it subconsciously but I often have to remind myself to approach things this way.
Life is for living after all . If you spend your life reading about how to live , you’ll die before you get the chance to even try.
We are not immortal but we often move through life as though we are. As if there’s this limitless future when we will finally do what we want .
Creating is not limited to work or study . Creating also applies in your social life .
Being a proactive member of society by interacting with your family , friends and community .
I’m not sure how cohesive my message has been so I’ll summarize :
- If you care about productivity , your challenge is to create more than you consume .
- This rule is applicable to all areas of your life.
- By doing this , you will actually LIVE your life because all the information you gather will be put to work.
- Creation also means that you will add value to your family and community . Value is in DOING.
Consume as a means to create
In my procrastination tips post, I talked about productive procrastination. So lets call this productive consumption .
What if I just want to learn about random stuff for the sake of it? Does everything have to be linked to productivity ?
I don’t think we ever put time into learning about random things if we don’t plan to use this information.
You might think it’s random that you keep watching videos about knitting but perhaps it is a passion of yours that you can do something with . You won’t know this until you actually start knitting .
Maybe you gravitate towards music and spend a lot of time listening to and studying it . You may not be a musician but you could be a producer, artist manager or DJ in the making .
Your friends call you the “plug” because you have the gift of finding talent and creating a platform for their work to be recognized. What if you are a cultural curator like Issa Dee from the show Insecure?
Your obsession with studying films from the 50’s or the different flower species is not a mistake. The mistake is not figuring out how it applies to the big picture that is your life .
When I am consuming just for the sake of it , I often use it as a way to avoid doing something useful and regret it afterwards. When I consume productively , I feel nourished.
So to answer the question ‘What if I just want to learn about random stuff for the sake of it?’
I think it is important to live a purpose-driven life . So everything you do serves a clear role.
Creativity improves your health
Research has shown that there is a significant association between life purpose and mortality. This means that purposeful living may have health benefits such as decreased risk of death due to heart disease.
Creativity is connected with personal properties such as flexibility, openness, autonomy, humor, playfulness, willingness to try things, elaboration of ideas and realistic self-assessment.
Therefore , fostering creativity can promote mental health through self-realization and the ability to process and interprete environmental stimuli.
True to this post , I’ll leave you with some actionable steps :
- Match your create to consume ratio. This is not easy at first but it will become more natural over time e.g for every 15 minutes of consumption , follow it up with 15 minutes of creation . So after watching someone draw for 15 minutes , pull out your sketchpad and draw. You can even consume and create at the same time by doing a follow-along tutorial . That way you get immediate value from the knowledge you’ve gained.
- Produce results. The next time you read up on any subject , ask yourself immediately what you can DO with that information . If you watch a video on how to cook something , try improvising the recipe or plan on how you’ll make it that week once you have all the ingredients. After watching someone workout in one of their vlogs , do 10 sit-ups.
- Create memories by spending time with your loved ones . You may bond over information sharing (e.g. through memes on Twitter or watching Netflix together). However, consider just catching up on each other’s lives over a video call ,playing Scrabble with your family , or cooking with your housemates.
- Sometimes your impact as a consumer is to create opportunity. If you love a certain artist :send them a tip when they do their free live session on Instagram, buy their art , read their book , share their work etc. Support that content creator you admire by sitting through the ads on YouTube, sharing their blogpost with your friends or buying the product they are selling . Help that friend of yours by investing in their ideas or connecting them with people who can.
- Create solutions. After reading a detailed article as to why the government is failing or the challenges that people face in your area of expertise , think of solutions you can bring to the table( no matter how small). Even if these solutions already exist , are you able to draft a proposal you can pitch as to how these ideas can be applied in your company? Is there a way that you can support your local community in a way that you feel the government hasn’t delivered? What would these solutions entail ? Spend time thinking through this and this will lead to productive consumption .
- Create community. Sometimes , our objective is simply to bring like-minded people together. This can be through your online platform(s), public Spotify playlists, events or even WhatsApp groups .
The value of your creation
Creating is something we do subconsciously . We may not realize how big an impact it makes on other people’s lives.
By the way , just because your work is not Instagram doesn’t mean you aren’t creating . Writers who don’t publish their work aren’t any less than those who do. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be monetized for it to be considered valuable .
Leveraging the opportunities you have is great and often necessary. However ,if it hampers your creative process then maybe you should reconsider your approach. As long as your output serves those it needs to, it is enough. ( This probably goes against all laws of marketing. Lol.)
The goal is not to create non-stop . Creating is exhausting. Therefore, rest is part and parcel of a productive life .That’s why we need to sleep every night. You’ll find that rest can be a great source of inspiration to create better.
What’s your take ?
Do you create more than you consume ? Or are you working on this like me ?
I’m also open to the possibility that you disagree with me and I’d love to hear a different point of view.
In this day and age, productivity can be considered toxic because it works on the assumption that there is a singular way to achieve success and happiness. Perhaps , there exists a group of people who would much rather consume all day and that is what brings them happiness in life. What do you think?
If you liked this post , it would mean the world to me if you let me know in the comments down below and share with at least one person who you think would enjoy it too.
Always remember that your hair is your crown and your body is a temple; embrace it,love it and take care of it .
God bless you all.