Are You a Consumer or a Producer?

Do you just consume all day? Or do you produce as well? Obviously we are all a little of both. Striking a balance between the two is good, and producing more than you consume is best. Clay Johnson, author of The Information Diet, cautions us, “We can lose our whole day, if we’re not careful, to a passive over-consumption of manufactured information.”

The problem with consuming is that we don’t schedule our consumption time. Whenever we get distracted, whenever we have spare moments, we are tempted to fill them with consumer activities—catching up on websites we follow, reading article after article online, partaking in social media, etc. There is no limit to the time you spend consuming since you always have access via your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

To improve your production rates as well as the quality of what you produce, you may have to decrease your consumption. Ask yourself these questions to see if you need to make some adjustments.

  1. What do you do first thing in the morning?
  2. What do you do when you first get to work?
  3. What do you do on your breaks?
  4. Track your production levels: for example, if you’re a writer, how many words per day?
  5. What do you do if you’re waiting for something from someone?
  6. How many websites do your subscribe to?
  7. How many articles do you read every day?
  8. How many social networks are you always up to date on?

Do you have a better idea of where you stand? Are you a producer or a consumer? Making adjustments in your consumption and production levels may be challenging, but it is doable. If you wake up and immediately check Twitter or turn on the TV, find an activity you can do instead that helps you start your day as a producer. If you automatically pull out your smartphone to catch up on some articles while you wait for someone, you can switch it up by trying to check off some items on your next action list.

Of course, you don’t need to be producing all day long. Clay says about the time we spend producing and consuming, “be deliberate about both.” He’s right—if we can be deliberate about how much time we spend consuming, we’ll remain in control of our habits.

So which are you, a producer or a consumer? And what do you plan to do to balance your life how you want it between the two?

Image by Ambro via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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