Create More Opportunities in Life by Consuming Less and Creating More
By avoiding the process of creating and only consuming, you’re denying the world your gifts.
Today is the day you admit something. Today is the day you flip the switch, and take a different direction. Today is the day you draw a line in the sand and say, “I’m done being stuck in consumption mode!”
We’ve all been there. Reading another inspiring article. Scrolling through countless feeds. Watching too many videos or TV shows. These things all give us small dopamine responses, which is why we get addicted to them.
But you know what will give you an even better dopamine response? Creating stuff that brings value to you and other people. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone has something unique to offer the world.
We have all been stuck in consumption mode. All of us. And honestly, it’s a mode in life that comes and goes every single day. It’s not something you’re going to turn off forever (unless you move to an island that doesn’t have Internet).
I know I catch myself avoiding writing an article, working on an outline for a new project, or answering emails because it doesn’t give me immediate gratification. As human beings we are wired for immediate gratification. Shiny object – wee! New opportunity – ahh! Fun new thing to explore – yes! But you have to learn to turn it off.
I don’t have a fancy one-size-fits-all formula for flipping the switch on consumption mode to “OFF.” What I do have is a ton of experience getting a lot of things done. Like, way more than most people. I’m not saying that to be cocky, I’m saying that because I’m proud that I’ve learned how to flip the creation mode switch to “ON.”
What are the actual steps I take to move from consumption mode to creation mode?
Close your email inbox!
This one thing is so unbelievably helpful when you want to switch from consumption mode to creation mode. Our email inboxes are like the needy girl/boyfriend who won’t EVER leave you alone. Always pestering you with their problems and then randomly surprising and delighting you with something amazing.
While reading this article I bet you got an email. Whether it notified you on your phone, popped up on your desktop, or showed a new notification in Gmail.
Shut your inbox up for a few hours at a time. Close it down. Life will go on and your email will be waiting for you. This comic by Oatmeal is spot-in.
Build your creation zone
I’m writing this from the bar top in my kitchen. I’m not at my desk. I’m not on my couch. I’m not sitting in front of the TV. There’s tons of natural light. This is the spot in my house where I’m feeling motivated at this very moment. This is the spot right now where I’ve turned off consumption mode and turned on creation mode.
I have a playlist on in Spotify, I think it’s called Indie Relaxing Acoustic, or Super Chill Zone, or some other hipster-y name. It’s music that isn’t distracting and doesn’t make me want to sing or dance. That music is great, but not for writing. Maybe you need singing/dancing music for whatever you’re creating? That’s totally fine.
Another note about writing. I shut everything down and write in this handy (free) app called Letterspace. I just recently found it. It’s beautiful. It’s simple. I can’t format a single thing or get distracted with tools and widgets. I can only write. I love it.
Whether it’s where you work, what you listen to while you work, the tools that you use to create, find your optimal creation zone. Go to that place when you need to create.
For the love of all things holy, turn off your notifications or hide your phone.
If you thought your email inbox was needy, your phone and all it’s blinking notifications takes needy-ness to another level.
I get it. Some people simply cannot turn off notifications for Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc. That’s fine. You’re controlled by your phone. The least you can do is put your phone out of sight and earshot while creating. Don’t worry, all those precious notifications will be there for you when you go back to it.
I’ve removed all the social apps from my phone and turned off email notifications. I don’t feel like I miss out on anything. I control my usage of these platforms, I don’t let them control me!
Close the tabs
I shouldn’t have to mention closing the social media website tabs. That’s a given. But I firmly believe if you want to be in creation mode you can’t have a bunch of consumption opportunities staring you in the face. Try just minimizing your web browser. Try it. Hide the tabs from your eyeballs.
If you’re a hotshot, close your browser and all its tabs! Holy crap, that’s scary right? Don’t worry, those are just things on the Internet that will be available for you to find again.
Do those things. It’s four things. If you can’t try all four, then there’s no hope for you. I’m not saying that to be dramatic—well, yes I am. If you can’t get out of your own way, you’ll never get out of consumption mode.
So many opportunities will show up for you in life if you’re creating stuff. Almost zero opportunities show up if you’re just consuming everyone else’s stuff.
James Clear put it perfectly:
“Our lives were meant to be spent making our contribution to the world, not merely consuming the world that others create.”
You just finished consuming an article. I’m acutely aware of the irony here. But now that you’ve read this, stop consuming any other content for awhile. Find your creation zone. Go to it. Stay there for awhile. Create something. Even if it sucks and it never sees the light of day.
Keep creating and allowing more time for creation than consumption.