I woke up early this morning. The dog spinning in circles, jumping at my face. She demanded I take her out before coffee. Which I did. A short stroll around the apartment complex she happily relieved herself. I mused about what I might do today, feeling like there was a lot but not really. A long list of things that take little time: clean the bathroom, vacuum, return some emails, and so on. But what do I do? Back up to the third floor. I make my coffee and oatmeal, and them binge watch Netflix. Househunters my drug. I make excuses about it like, “Well, we are planning on buying a house.” Like somehow this is a part of my research. After a few episodes, I think, I should listen to that book on dogs, only a few more hours and I’ll finish. When you read a book, you can’t really do anything else, but, well, read a book. But listening? I find myself distracted by the dog, playing 2048 and checking facebook. Enough of that. I admit to myself, “I have a problem,” might as well just go with it. It’s Thursday. I have three more days of nothing to do! I’ll try and watch Parenthood again. After finishing the first episode, and starting the second, I finish my left-over taco lunch. With similar lack of commitment to my doggie audiobook, I use my phone as a distraction from my distractions. Is this the way the entire summer is going to be? I know: first world problems. I’m about to enter into two months of little responsibility, the perks of school schedules. Yes, I need to read that book. Yes, I need to take that test for teachers certification. Yes, there is a trip or two. It’s been a lot of consuming, and very little creating. What if I cut my consumption time down, and uped my creative time? My job requires a lot of creativity, but it’s very goal-oriented creativity. Creativity as a means to an end (even though my students don’t always realize it). What if I just wrote? What if I read? What if I kept away from the distractions? Limited my screen time and intake? What if I organized and systematized my creativity this summer? What if, instead of watching 5 hours of Netflix when I’m bored, or 15-30 minutes of 2048, I walked or read or wrote or something else–anything else. I don’t even like some of the shows I watch. I don’t even care. I just want the time to pass. Admittedly, this morning is rare. I usually kick my butt into doing something useful a lot faster. Instead today, I day dream and I avoid. Like what could I have done or written or accomplished in the last 20 minutes being distracted from writing what I’m writing right now? Probably a couple hundred words maybe? Unacceptable consumption:
- Netflix (TV in general)
- Most things on the internet (especially social media)
- Addictive games (like 2048… which I really want to play right now)
- Food, drink, etc.
- Listening (to music, radio, podcasts, books).
Is the gym, beach, travel, napping or working out consumption or creation? Creation
- Reviewing (Yelp).
- Dialogue (AKA hanging out with people)
- Conversation–meaningful and intelligent (on the internet?)
- Doggie training.
- Professional development.
As I make these lists, it seems silly that my creation list is so much longer than my consumption list. I always feel like I have more that I need to consume, and nothing of worth to create. But when it’s listed out, there is way more opportunity and options to create than to consume. So, what do I do with this? Do I make some sort of moderate commitment to the internet to create more and consume less? What does it look like? How do you break the addiction? One hour of TV and one hour of social media etc? That’s still a lot of time. Maybe one hour total? I don’t know, but I feel like I need to try. [Oh looky, the Minimalists have the same blog title here…]