Work to Create—Not to Consume

July 24, 2014 Abby Herman

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Are you a creator or a consumer? If you’re like most people, you’re a little bit of both. I’m not talking about consuming “stuff,” but rather consuming information. We’re exposed to so much information every day, from music and talk radio to emails and texts. There’s never a shortage of information coming at us throughout the day—especially online. Social media and jobs that sit workers in front of the computer all day make it way too easy to be more consumer than creator.

Create Before Consuming

I am Guilty (with a capital “G”) of being a consumer. Which is scary, really, since I don’t get paid unless I create. As a writer, social media manager and project manager, I must produce content—and a lot of it—before my clients pay me for my work. And most of the time, that content requires a good amount of online research.

I Google, Bing, Tweet and Facebook my heart away while seeking information for an assignment. One thing (usually) leads to another, and half an hour later, I’m watching cute puppy videos when I should be reading about Goodwill’s security breach or low-budget ways to do back-to-school shopping.

Marie Forleo, a leading marketing expert and entrepreneurial mentor, has a great way of looking at creating vs. consuming. She suggests having the discipline to create first, then consume. Make a list of what you want to consume, get your work done, then consume away.

Create and Profit

Chris Kalaboukis, author and Thinkfuture blogger, wrote a piece about creating, rather than consuming. Rather than simply listen to the music, Chris encouraged his son, a music major, to utilize his talents to generate income. After all, technology today makes it ridiculously easy to create content and share it with others all over the world. His son found a Russian pianist who sells coaching through a series of online videos. She became a creator of content that others can consume. And she’s making money doing it. What’s your passion? Become a creator of what you love.

Find a Balance

Most creative types need to consume content—whether it’s online or in-person—to get the creative juices flowing. If you’re in a more streamlined profession like sales or education, you might consume others’ proposals or lesson plans to garner ideas. No matter what your job or passion, it’s okay to spend time consuming in an effort to move your own ideas forward. The trick is to find a balance. Avoid the distractions—even if it means shutting down the Internet for a period of time.

And me? My phone rings with texts all day and my Internet browser calls my name as I write. Sometimes I’m able to ignore it, but other times I need that little bit of consumption to give me a little push. I figure that as long as I gather the ideas I need and get my work done, I’m entitled. Now, time to watch those puppy videos!

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About the Author

Abby Herman

Abby is a writer and editor in the Phoenix area and is always on the prowl for great ideas. When she’s not in front of her computer, you can find her running the streets or nearby mountain trails—usually way too early in the morning to be considered sane.

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