Consume less, create more

January 6, 2014 in Thoughts

I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, but a recent rousing post by Michael Lopp has reminded me to focus more on creating in 2014.

Like most people in the design and tech industry, I’m online almost constantly. Dipping in and out of social media channels as I work, commute and relax, it’s great to stay on top of what’s happening around me in the wider world. But it’s also really easy to get distracted and caught up in what everyone else is doing rather than focusing on my own creative output. Now, I’m not going to be one of those people who starts ranting about how damaging all this screen time is, because I don’t believe it is.

And I’m not about to do something rash like give up Twitter.

But what I have found is that over time the constant connection with what everyone else is doing is detrimental to my creativity. On his blog, Rands in Repose, Lopp distilled something I’ve been unconsciously aware of for a while…

You’re swimming in everyone else’s moments, likes, and tweets and during these moments of consumption you are coming to believe that their brief interestingness to others makes it somehow relevant to you and worth your time.


My time is finite, but the stream of tweets, emails, blog posts and sites all vying for my attention is not. Being tuned into so much creative output from others also makes me over analyse what I’m creating. To the extent that it can lead to a weird kind of self-conscious paralysis. It’s subtle, but I can feel my concentration span getting crushed. My ability to focus on one thing deeply and creatively is not as strong as it was and I want it back.

I am going to give more time to getting on with doing and making this year. It always makes me feel good.

When you choose to create, you’re bucking the trend because you’re choosing to take the time to build.