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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don’t Be Paralyzed By Media Consumption in 2011

“I will be a producer, not a consumer.”

Late last year a friend shared this resolution on Facebook. It caught my attention as being a great resolution that I think every entrepreneurial blogger could do well to have.

As I write this post, it’s 11.49 a.m. on Monday morning.

This morning, I returned to my computer after a weekend off with the intention of jumping into some solid blogging. My plan was to start early (8.00 a.m.) and whip out at least five posts this morning and to start work on a report that I’ve been planning to write in the afternoon.

That was the plan, anyway…

The reality is that I’ve been quite distracted. It started on Twitter (I should never switch on Tweet Deck that early in the day!) with a link that a friend sent me to read. That link led me to another, and another.

This morning I must have read 20 articles and blog posts, scanned 100 or so feeds in my feed reader, watched ten videos, spent a good hour scanning my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook feeds, spent another 30 or so minutes in forums, tested out a new plugin, and … well, you get the picture.

Everything I did was related to blogging and my business. It was all interesting. Some of it was even helpful, and gave me ideas I may not have otherwise had.

However, until right now, I’ve not actually produced anything at all today. This morning has been about consumption rather than production.

Don’t get me wrong—there are times when you need to consume.

We all know that our bodies don’t function properly if we don’t eat well. Cars don’t run well without consuming petrol. Consumption is necessary.

We all need to consume to survive in a physical sense. In the same way, as bloggers we need times when we take in the ideas of others, and are informed by what others are saying—time when we soak in the latest trends and information in our industry.

There are also times where we just need to switch off from work, and consuming something fun and mindless can be good for us, too (anyone for Angry Birds?).

However, many people live in consumption mode to the point where they don’t produce anything.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve chatted with bloggers who have the following problems:

not enough time to post, but plenty of time to aimlessly surf the web for funtoo many distractions, whether they be Angry Birds, Farmville, Twitter, Youtube, or something elsefeeling the need to read every other blog in their niche for fear of missing an important development.

I suspect a “consumption” mentality is one of the reasons that many of us get to the end of a year and wonder why we didn’t achieve any of the grand plans that we had.

Let’s return to the example of our bodies. The main reason we consume food is to gain energy—to take action. We eat so that we’re fueled to do.

The danger with food arises when all we do is eat and eat, and we don’t actually burn off the energy the food gives us. Consumption without some kind of action to burn off what we consume leads to obesity. And my experience is that the same advice applies to running an online business.

There’s nothing wrong with consuming what the Web has to offer, but take the approach of consuming to energize your own action and production and you’ll be in a much healthier space than if you’re simply consuming for the sake of it.

As we enter into a new year, I wonder if perhaps we need to do something concrete together to get us on a path to production in 2011.

I don’t want to get to the end of this year and look back on the year as being one where I read a lot of articles, played a lot of games, and read and made a lot of Tweets…

I want to get to the end of 2011 and be proud of the fact that I’ve:

created things that mattered to myself and othersinspired others to better themselvesadded to conversations instead of watching others talkmade the world a better place in one way or another.

I resolve to be a producer, not a consumer, in 2011. How about you?

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