Over the last week or so, I’ve tried to practice more conscious consumption of information. I have a love of learning and it’s easy for me to spend hours listening to podcasts, reading blog posts, and following endless internet rabbit holes. However, I’ve noticed how little of this information I actually retain, and even less is translated into some action in my life. As Derek Sivers said, ‘if information was the answer then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs’.
So, what I’m trying to do is commit to not consuming anything without also producing. This doesn’t have to be something significant or public. It can just be a couple of notes in my DayOne journal. Already I’m noticing how it’s made me more selective in what I consume, and I consume less. I guess it’s like making a deal where every time you eat a biscuit or cake you have to do 10 pushups – it makes you ask yourself, is this cake worth the work I’ll have to do. And doing the work seems to make the consumption feel more worthwhile.
One of the best things I’ve read on the internet lately was Asher Wolf’s ‘Fuck You, I’d Spit in Your Cupcakes‘ and it definitely got me fired up on Monday morning. Becoming a mother has affected my sense of self and my thoughts on feminism and so I very much enjoy reading about other women’s experiences.
Several late nights unable to sleep with a nice viral cough provided the opportunity for binge watching the fabulous You Can’t Ask That on iView.
The other thing I’ve been watching quite a bit this week is clips from Cats the Musical. E loves drama and dancing so I thought she’d enjoy these and I was right. I have very fond memories of seeing it as an 8 year old when the production toured Australia for the first time, so it was fun to share it with her.
I learned that the French have a term for the predicament of thinking the perfect reply too late – ‘l’esprit de l’escalier’ (staircase wit).
This post about attempting to go for 21 days without complaining got me noticing just how much complaining I do! I have too many ‘challenges’ on the go (habits, #100happydays etc) that I’m failing to keep up so am not going to start this challenge right away, but it is something I’m interested in trying.
When I’m sick I’m particularly conscious of practising more self-compassion, and I think that’s the reason that this week I sought out Tara Brach (I started reading Radical Acceptance*) and Brene Brown (I re-listened to her interview on the Tim Ferriss show).
I went and saw Annabel Crabb & Leigh Sales at the Canberra Writer’s Festival last week which was delightful. And this was followed up by a new Chat 10 Looks 3 episode, which always puts a smile on my face.
We’ve had some pretty challenging episodes with E recently. I suspect that it’s just ‘being three years old’, but I could do with whatever help I can get, so I’ve also started reading Janet Lansbury’s No Bad Kids – Toddler Discipline without Shame*.
Last week was Book Week and I’m super grateful for my mum making a gorgeous Gumnut baby costume for E. She also made a Princess Leia costume (which was E’s original request). Yay for amazingly talented family!
Head & Heart are approximately fortnightly posts about what I’ve been reading, watching and thinking about – things I thought were interesting, and that you might find interesting too.
* These are Amazon Affiliate links.
Amanda Horne says
I love it: your description of consumption, of retention and of action, and Sivers quote. I think that too. Are you a mind reader? 🙂 I feel the weight of too much information. The burden, the expectation. Probably also the FOMO (fear of missing out). There is much criticism of super-sized meals and huge portion sizes. We have super-sized portions of information! But just because it’s there we don’t have to ‘eat’ it. I wonder if there will be a day when we begin to be more moderate with our information portion sizes because of the impact on our wellbeing.
I like to practise a technique before I read or buy something: a quick check with my intuition ‘do I want to or need to read this? Why do I need / want this?’ How is it of value to something important in my life, or important to others? Sometimes if I’m not sure I skim the document or book and wait for what might be important to leap out.
The analogy of 10 push-ups in response to eating a biscuit does not sound like fun. I’ve read / listened to / watched something that was possibly not too nutritious to begin with, but seemed like a good idea at the time. The action to justify the ‘eating’ is not much fun either (push-ups are not my idea of joy).
I think I know what you mean, though. Say you have read a wonderful blog on parenting, and you don’t want to lose the value of the investment of your time. You love parenting – most of the time (!) – so reading the blog has a valued outcome. It’s nutritious. To capitalize on the reading, what is one worthwhile action you could take to enhance your and E’s life (and J’s life)? This action would not feel like a push-up. It would feel creative, adventurous, a place of learning and experimentation.
Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful response as always! One of my brothers has been talking a lot lately about how much ‘information’ is becoming like junk food and that it will only be a matter of time before we apply the same scrutiny to information consumption as we do to food consumption.
Good point about the push-ups – I probably need to refine that analogy 🙂 I guess another way of looking at it is that consumption of information comes at a cost. We have limited capacity to digest information, and so the choice to ‘consume’ a blog post or engaging in endless Twitter scrolling means that I’m not able to read something more ‘nutritious’. I like the questions that you use to evaluate prospective content/purchases. For me, often the answer is ‘distraction’. I’m simply consuming to avoid doing or thinking about something else.