I read this tweet from James Clear last month. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but it’s been on repeat in my mind for the last few weeks.
Recently, I succumbed to the allure of a free e-book advertised within the e-book I was currently reading. When I gave my email address to receive the e-book, I was asked if I wanted to join a list to receive e-book deals.
Sure, why not?
Less than 24 hours later, I received this:
I unsubscribed immediately.
I already feel so far behind in my to-be-read pile—and those are books I’m legitimately interested in.
I don’t need 1,000 books to keep me busy. (Does anyone?)
To consume more and to create more
My reading choices are a microcosm for my input choices (to use Clear’s nomenclature).
I both want to read more and to read better.
- How to Read Recklessly is a good start.
- Help! I’m drowning in my TBR pile also has a good suggestion: only read the TBRs you currently own. I’ve long considered doing that but haven’t been able to put into practice.
- The Nonfiction Book Party Online Book Club, of which I’m a new member, compels you to read different genres of nonfiction than you normally would.
- Consolidating and curating my online consumption with Readwise’s new Reader app.
- Reviewing what I read years ago with Readwise’s main app.
I want to choose better and more varied inputs so that my output increases, both in quantity and quality.
Here’s the rub: I want to consume more and create more.
So a tradeoff has to happen: For every new input, I have to remove one.
Instead of adding (e.g., browsing e-book deals), I need to subtract (the unsubscribe button is your friend).
To that end, these are the inputs I need to put out to pasture:
- Continuing to read any book that fails to compel me within 10% of its length
- Mindlessly scrolling social media
- Overpopulating my phone’s home screen instead of setting my Kindle app as the only readily available app (I’ve tried this before but can never stick with it!)
- Aimlessly searching bookstores (online or brick-and-mortar) the same way I browse Netflix when I have no plan for what to watch
- Allowing email to dictate my time instead of me becoming the dictator of my email (I’m decent at this but know I can do better.)
I hope to expand this list as the year progresses and see if these changes make a noticeable difference in my outputs.
Two questions for you
- Do you wrestle with the inputs in your life? (Specifically, the content-consumption inputs)
- What are the top 2 or 3 inputs you need to remove from your creative life?
Let me know below.
Shortly after publishing this post, I bought Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain. I’m just a few chapters in, but it’s already helping me think more thoroughly about the issues I raised above.
Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential
Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential [Forte, Tiago] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential