4 ideas to create more and consume less

How to avoid the trap of the endless scroll

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

In a world with multiple social media platforms, it can be difficult to stay focused and built your own voice among the masses. If you are passionate about creating, and potentially monetizing those passions, here are some ideas that may be helpful to avoid the trap of the endless scroll!

If you’re a content creator, blogger, writer, or anyone who publishes content on the internet, chances are that you also consume a ton of content.

When I sit down with my phone, I definitely waste way more time on social media than I’d like to admit. Of course, that is the end goal of all the social media algorithms. Despite this knowledge, I fall prey to the endless scroll.

I do it under the guise of a slew of excuses like “analyzing my competition”, or “seeing what’s trending”, “supporting other creators”, or “looking for inspiration”.

But the truth is I’m addicted to content. It is how I and so many others stay entertained or inspired these days, especially amidst a pandemic.

Even if you know the impact that social media, and consuming content have on you, it is difficult to avoid the distractions of social media and the online world.

The reality is that I instinctively open Instagram or TikTok when I’m feeling a lull in my day. I am consuming content just like everyone else. There is often no purpose to my scroll.

Lately, I have been more intentional with social media consumption. Because my goal is to spend more time creating and writing.

There are only a limited number of hours in a day. And I don’t have a team that is executing my ideas. Whether it is writing, photographing, or creating recipes for my other blogs, all of these creative pursuits are my passions. And I owe it to myself to pour my best self into these passions.

So I have 4 ideas I like to keep in mind, while I try my darndest to avoid falling into the trap of the endless scroll.

Create before you consume

Create before you consume — Marie Forleo

This is a quote by Marie Forleo that has stuck with me over the years. It reminds me to spend time actually creating.

Creating is what I love to do.

I have noticed that the days that I write or develop recipes are the days I feel best and most fulfilled. Especially when I undertake those activities in the morning.

I’m still far from being a morning person (never have been). Yet I feel like my best self when I spend time on creating rather than consuming earlier in my day. The reason is that I have not diluted my ideas with the creativity of others.

Creating is the only way to grow

I also try to remember that consuming content will not help my growth at all! I will stay stagnant if I don’t put out new ideas into the world.

Creating content and publishing is the way that I will continue to grow my brands, and reach new audiences.

How to create before you consume?

If creating is what you love, that’s what you need to spend your time on. All the other activities are just white noise.

For me, personally, I have found that the morning or late at night is when I create my best content. Those are the time that I am most focused. The distractions of the day are not able to taint and dilute my creativity.

Create when you thrive

Over the past year, especially in light of the pandemic, I have become more aware of my energy flows throughout the day.

Without the option to take a break by connecting with others, or traveling, it has become important to be more intentional with rest and taking breaks.

Those breaks have allowed me to become my best creative self.

Managing your energy

There are times of days or weeks that I work better. Despite not working a traditional corporate job, Mondays are still my low energy, blur days. And I take that into account when I schedule my week.

I pay attention to the times of day, days of the week, that are the best fit for me.

I just don’t feel like it

There are many times I find myself pushing things off to tomorrow because I just don’t feel like doing what I needed to.

I have tried to explore why I don’t feel like doing things I’m passionate about. Sometimes, it’s because I am being overly ambitious with what I can accomplish, and I am just tired of thinking about it.

Other times, it’s because I am spent from other tasks.

So how does one thrive so they can create?

It is not about striving for perfection but becoming more aware of your own patterns. I reserve mid-morning and evening for administrative tasks that don’t take a lot of my energy.

I am more intentional with understanding the times of days, and days of the week that I tend to feel like my most creative self. And then I schedule to create around those times and days.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to outsource or delegate those tasks, that can also be a great way to create time to thrive.

Taking breaks is also an important way to manage your energy so that you can create with your best foot forward.

Consume with intention

Instagram, TikTok, Medium, Twitter. Every one of these platforms is great for any content creator to connect with their audience and learn from other creators.

The reward factor

Some of these platforms have an obvious reward attached to the time spent on the platform. When I have been more consistent with engagement on Instagram, I have also noticed more eyes on my profile, and growth in audience.

Growth and Engagement

Of course, audience growth is not everything. But it does matter. The bigger your audience, the more potential eyes on your work. And the more likely the algorithmic gods will distribute your work to others.

But then some time while scrolling intentionally to engage, I end up losing track of time.

How to consume with intention?

I have turned off my notifications to all the apps. This was a push after watching the Netflix Documentary The Social Dilemma. But it has really helped me spend less time on platforms like Instagram, and TikTok.

Another tactic I use is to give myself a task list of specific actions for the platform. For example, I do need to consistently engage with my audience on Instagram — but rather than leaving that task as broad as it is, I give myself specific targets — comment on the first 10 posts on my feed, or engage with 20 posts for 5 of my targeted hashtags.

Creating a schedule around the engagement for each platform has really helped create space to focus on what’s important, and reduce stress from trying to constantly be present on different platforms.

Consume without comparison

One of the worst parts of this online world is the comparison.

“Why not me?”

That was what I would always think when I came across a newer creator in my niche.

Competitive Analysis vs. Comparison

As someone who likes numbers and data, I love looking at how other people’s content is performing on various platforms. And how that can drive my content creation.

I love to look at how other food photographers are taking photos. How other content creators are making their videos. What other writers are writing. How can I capitalize on trends? What can I learn from other creators?

But with that “research”, quickly creeps in comparison.

As much I would like to say that I am only in competition with myself, it’s hard not to compare my growth to others in my niche.

Discipline and Consistency

It took me a long time to accept this: there will always be those who grow faster or have a post go viral on their first try.

Admitting and internalizing that simple fact has been a relief.

It took me a while to figure out, “why not me”?

I don’t consider myself to be someone who is lucky. My success has always been tied to hard work, discipline, and consistency. I have to remember to bring that mindset with me into the online world.

There will always be people who go viral on their first try, or so it seems. But I am not privy to the thousands who try and grow their audiences online every day.

If you find yourself comparing your growth to others. Stop the scroll.

Trust me, it will serve you better.

How to consume without comparison?

I still ask the question, “why not me” but then I also try to answer the question.

I have been more intentional with analyzing why a piece of content did well for someone else. Or why they have a more engaged audience or are growing faster than me. And then I try to think about ways I can apply those tactics to my own content strategies.

How to create more than you consume

Setting myself up with boundaries for social media consumption has been a survival technique over the last year.

Consuming all the content during a pandemic has been overwhelming, to say the least. And it has hindered my ability to be creative.

I hope these ideas help you create more, so you can pursue your passions as well!

Create before you consume

  • Prioritize creating over consuming content

Create when you thrive

  • When are you most creative?
  • How can you create more opportunities for your best creative self?

Consume with intention

  • Turn off notifications
  • Set physical boundaries

Consume without comparison

  • Analyze your competition rather than just compare
  • Figure out how you can emulate their successes

Originally published at https://mintandgoldstory.com on April 3, 2021.

Finance professional / CPA on a break from corporate life. I write about wealth, well-being & blogging. A weekly-ish newsletter https://bit.ly/3oake9U

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