Why Consuming Content can be Valuable

Yes there's a lot out there, but you don't even have to agree with everything to get value from content...

I’m switching things up today and creating content about consuming content… 

The context for this post is that I have been build a content creation system for myself in order to consistently post on instagram, which is a Q1 goal for me. 

In doing so, I was thinking through the system and I recalled a term that August Bradley used in his first Notion series in 2020: “do date” vs “due date”.

It got me thinking about the value you can get from consuming other people’s content, or rather the value I have consistently got from multiple years of content consumption.

I see two main areas regarding the value of content consumption:

  1. It gives you the words and understanding to help you frame and develop your own problems

  2. Whether you “agree with” the content or not, it will probably get you a step closer to your own ideal system because it’ll help craft your decisions moving forward in one way or another.

Giving you the words to help you frame and develop your own problems

The aim behind my consistent posting on Instagram is to get better at communicating my ideas in short form. To post consistently requires a good system, because content takes a surprisingly long time to put together, even in short form.

I realised that this system would need to support dates in two ways, the first with the date I’m meant to prepare the content for posting, and the second for when I actually post it. 

I thought on this for a while and then remembered a simple line in a youtube series I watched years ago:

Now the point I’m trying to make isn’t that remembering that term solved the puzzles I was pondering, but that it gave me some terminology to help me rethink the problem. 

“Do” vs “due” is also a much simpler way of referring to this idea than “the date I’m meant to prepare the content for posting, and the second for when I actually post it”, and having more clarified simple ideas is helpful for continuing to develop the system. I realised “do date” relates to my task management system, and “due dates” to my content management system, so they need to talk to each other in some way (I think).

This terminology is only available to me because I watched a lot of August’s videos when I was getting started in 2020, and he explained his ideas so clearly.

From my first Notion task database! Which in itself was me using another piece of content as the base: https://youtu.be/Na9nx9LYdBc?si=-lIGH9knjGi21HQI

It’s not just August’s content that inspired me in 2020. It’s been an ongoing process for years. 

I honestly have so many more examples of how other people’s content has crafted my workflows over time, so I am going to do a separate post about those in case they inspire others.

But for now I hope this shows that consuming other people’s content gives you new words to explain things in, and that can help you progress in your systems and workflows, or at least give you new things to test.

You don’t have to like everything you consume

I think it’s valuable to both agree and disagree with content- disagreement meaning “I don’t think this is sensible”, but also in the sense of not being relatable.

I feel like most of the time, reactions go roughly one of two ways:

  1. Wow that’s cool, I’m inspired by this

  2. This makes no sense to me at all, I take no inspiration from this.

Personally, with either of these reactions I still feel like I’ve gained value. I have moved further towards my ideal system regardless because I either have something new to try, or something to not waste time trying at this point.

But even if you’re inspired by someone’s system, it doesn’t mean you need to copy it exactly. It’s inspiration. Treat it like a menu and take what resonates. You can always come back to the content later to take more, or never revisit it if you’ve decided you’ve had enough from that menu. Following the earlier example, I can be inspired by “do date vs due date” without putting August’s PPV system into place, or use Notion for everything.

Similarly, if you use different tools to the one featured in the content, you can absolutely still gain value from it and enjoy the read/watch. I think it’s still fascinating to hear what decisions people are making and why. Some decisions or suggestions are tied to the app itself, but many aren’t. And at this point, you can take ideas and workflows from one app and do something with them in your app(s) of choice.

That’s exactly how my system has evolved over time. 

It’s not necessarily about finding systems, workflows or practices to copy, because things have to work for you. But you can get some targeted, precise and well thought-through inspiration from other creators. 

4 years on, not many of my systems tangibly resemble what I’ve seen from other people, but to me their influence is crystal clear, so I will write a post going through these influences soon in case they can help anyone else.

Everything I’ve learned and created has been inspired somehow by other people’s free content, and that’s exactly why all my content is available for free now I have become a content creator myself.

This space is full of value and inspiration, and I’m so grateful to have learned so much and to have a platform to talk about my ideas too. It’s so wonderful.

Do you agree with these sentiments? What value do you get from consuming content? What pieces have changed the game for you? I would love to know!

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