One of the differences between success and mediocrity is the amount of time we spend on activities that create movement for our business vs. time spent simply consuming information related to our business. Most of us bloggers and entrepreneurs are wearing multiple hats at any given time – juggling clients with our own projects, or perhaps juggling a day job with a new side business. When time is a limited resouce, becoming conscious of how you’re spending it is crucial.
Information Is Power?
That’s what they say isn’t it? And that’s of course true in many ways. Continuing self-education is very important (and one of the things I love about WordPress is that it always gives me something new to learn), but that’s different than the passive, mindless consumption of information that’s available to us online constantly. It’s the equivalent of watching TV. Sure you might pick up something useful, but if you don’t have a specific purpose in mind, you’re just wasting time.
So if it’s so distracting, why do we love to gather info?
1) It adds to our concept of our ‘self’…
So without getting too Buddhist-philosopher on you, if you substitute the word ‘self’ for ‘ego’, you’ll start to get the point which is some version of – “I know so much stuff, therefore I am awesome.” Or perhaps even, “I know so much stuff therefore I am more awesome than my competition”. This may or may not be true but that’s irrelevant. All that’s happening is that you are getting distracted from the actual work that needs to be done. It doesn’t do you much good sitting there feeling that you’re awesome – the real people on the other side of the monitor need to feel that too in order for you to be successful.
2) It makes us feel like we’re doing something…
Information-gathering,researching, reading etc seem like noble activities but are often just busy-work that we do while we should actually be doing something else. Information is great, but it doesn’t actually help move us forward unless we apply that info.
A little consumption here and there is fun and can provide inspiration or a much-needed break, but unchecked consumption becomes negative pretty quickly:
- It becomes a complete time-suck
- We spend too much time thinking about what other people are doing because we’re reading their tweets, blogs etc and get distracted from the tasks we need to do for ourselves
- It’s a purely mental activity and the only thing that moves you forward is action with a tangible result, not thought alone
Creation Is What Moves You Forward
I’m no artist – I can’t sing or play an instrument. So when I talk about creation and creativity I’m not talking necessarily about purely artistic pursuits. I’m talking about business creativity, which includes things like coming up with ideas for products and services that serve your audience, or creativity in blogging.
In this context, creation is really the act of putting something tangible out there into the world for others to see, enjoy or buy. If you’re keeping it to yourself, you’re not really creating.
To move your business forward you need to be focused on creation not consumption. This will require you to become more conscious of your activities and make many little course redirections along the way to shift toward creation and away from pure consumption. The more you create the more confidence you will have. The more you consume the more stagnant you’ll become.
Turn Consumption Into Creation
Consumption of information can become useful when you use it to generate action, or apply it in some real way, e.g.
- Use it on a client project or other real world scenario
- Share it with others to help them – via a blog post, ebook, video, phone call etc
- Use it to generate blog post ideas or product ideas at a later time. To make this effective you’ll need a good system of bookmarking to retrieve the information at a later date. Offloading your memory this way frees your brain to work on important things, instead of worrying about trying to remember every gem of information you come across.
When you are in the creation mindset you’ll be less worried about what your competition is doing and you’ll become more productive,effective and successful in your business. Your focus is turning all the gems of knowledge in your brain into tangible pieces for the world to enjoy.
What are you creating today?