How are you spending your time?

There are lots of ways to break down how you spend your time. One of my favorites is the consumption vs. creation chart. It’s unique because it maps the connection between what we consume and what we create, and enables us to spot trends or feedback loops that aren't obvious without a second look.

The creation area is how we influence the world around us.

It's what you share, the actions you take, and what you feel and express. Others may consume what you create. That is to say, what you create and share is how others will perceive you. It may not be who you are - but it will be what you become to the people around you.

Think of your consumption area as a foundation.

It's the environment, food, interactions, and more that you experience. If you're like me, you do a lot of consuming. That's okay! The tricky part is when we forget often that what we create is influenced by what we consume. If you want to start creating something, sometimes it's as simple as changing your consumption habits to create the environment and space for the new creation to take place.

To use the chart, first pick a broad topic or theme in your life (for example your health, hobbies, or work). Second, fill in the chart with the time, information, things, knowledge, feelings, etc. Finally, take a step back and look for some trends between what you are consuming and what you are creating. Often we're looking for pairs, but connections can be between 3 or more things! There are lots we can learn - but I want to take the time to focus on 3 types of links in particular.

Reinforcing connections: These are unique trends where consumption and creation are both positive experiences and beneficial. If you find an area where what you consume and create is self-reinforcing, you've likely found a lifelong hobby, passion, or job that you will enjoy and excel at.

Balanced connections: These connections likely make up most of your trends. These connections are split, either the consumption or the creation is positive while the other is negative. An easy example for most people is household chores - You might not enjoy cleaning the toilet, but creating a clean house is rewarding. These types of connections present opportunities for adaptation if you're willing to put in the effort.

Parasitic connections: These types of connection that should be watched carefully. Almost all parasitic connections have an addictive, environmental, or avoidance mechanism at play. That's why they are often such difficult links to break. If you find yourself with a parasitic connection that you can't break, it's usually time to look for outside assistance.

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