The content creation consumption balance

I’ve noticed that there’s a fixed upper limit in the amount of content I deal with. This upper limit is split between creation and consumption. It looks something like this –

A practical example – I read about 4 books in January, another couple in February and made progress on a few more. My content consumption level was high. But, once I started the “Notes by Ada” project, I’ve found myself reading very slowly. Writing an in-depth weekly article on technology takes time, energy and requires me to flex a new muscle. So, the amount of bandwidth I have to absorbing new content has gone down significantly. Part of it also ties to the fact that writing requires me to absorb different kinds of content in a deeper way – e.g. a deeper look into technology news than before. But, part of it is just the amount of mental energy I have left.

There are a few interesting lessons from this observation. Here are my top 3 –

  1. It is important to not set goals in isolation. Many of these work together. And, I think there are other such pairs of behaviors or actions that have a fixed upper limit. One such pair is the amount of time you spend on the content of your work versus marketing it. That’s a topic for another day. But, I think there are more.
  2. I learn a ton more when I create content than when I simply consume it – even if I’m taking notes. The difference lies in synthesis.
  3. We learn a lot more when we observe why we do things a certain way rather than simply beat ourselves up for not doing enough.

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