Dec 30, 2011

Balance the activities

A few months ago, I came across an interesting article which highlighted the fact that our day-to-day activities can be categorized into three buckets:
  1. we create something
  2. we consume information 
  3. we connect with others
These three categories need to be balanced in order to feel productive and happy.

While I was working, this balance was somewhat intact. But in the past few months, I have been noticing that this balance has gone haywire for me. The "consume" part has consumed most of my available time. The available time for myself has gone down considerably ever since my daughter arrived. Not that I'm complaining. Motherhood has been a delightful experience and is teaching me a lot which I was totally unaware of.

The limited time which I get is spent on reading different articles which people share in my social (twitter, facebook, linkedin) world and the numerous RSS feeds to which I have subscribed in Google reader. These articles and blogs give me many perspectives and ideas about startups, marketing, product management, technology, analytics etc. The information goes in but I'm not making the best use of the knowledge I have gained. Many useful articles get bookmarked under different folders - "read & review", "to process", "future ref". My firefox bookmarks is getting piled up everyday.

This continuous flow of information which I'm "consuming" is making me feel restless and unproductive. While I researched more on why I feel this way, I came across a thought provoking article on similar lines. One of the points mentioned in this article answered my question
"we want to know more about the world in order to have lesser surprises, and hence we tend to read more and more, especially if it is information that we perceive as relevant to us."
I have decided to correct this imbalance, going forward. As a first step, I have unsubscribed from many RSS feeds in Google reader. I have kept the feeds list to a minimum and will reduce it further based on my usage.

My resolution for the coming year is to "Focus a lot more on create". "Create" could be anything - writing an article, getting back to blogging, coding/learning a new programming language, podcasting, cooking a new dish, learning a new art form etc. I want to journal how I go about this creation journey.

Please comment if you have any other ideas to get the balance of "Create, Consume and Connect" right.

P.S. I'm not sure how much time I would get to "connect" with my 3 month old daughter at home but will keep my options open.


Abhinava Pratap Singh said...

Anuradha, I read your blog and the two other articles that you've linked in your blog. I agree with your ideas and can also related to your feelings as I'm also shuffling my time between family (parents, wife and daughter), work for which I'm paid and things that I want to create. Of course, most of my time is eaten up by the work that I have to do to get paid. Of late, I've also been sucked into Facebook and Twitter.

As it was said in the article, I feel that we overcommit and try too many things at the same time. This leads to frustration as we can't do everything successfully. I think you've don't he right thing by minimizing your RSS feeds and to read lists. From my personal experience, I'd say that we are happiest when we create. The act of creation gives a high that can't be matched by anything else.

Connections allow us to be comfortable in the world and also eliminate the feeling of loneliness, which we social animals loathe. Celebrities connect with a lot of people and become sick of connections. Privacy is what they seek thereafter.

The Consumption, as you've rightly pointed out, works towards minimizing surprises. It's noteworthy that however much we know, we'll still be surprised by new occurrences.

I've never heard of anyone who's tired of creation. Therefore, I feel that it will not be wrong to conclude that we should focus on the creation, while keeping the other two to satisfactory levels.

I'll also apply the new ideas that I acquired through reading these articles and your blog. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts.
I wish you all the very best in your efforts and also wish you a fulfilling year ahead.

Anuradha Sridharan said...

Thanks Abhinav for your detailed comment. You hit the nail right on the head when you say that the act of creation gives a high which cannot be matched.

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