Create, Connect, and Consume

Create, Consume, and Connect Cards

It’s really easy for independent creatives to fall into one of two traps: either being too critical about what we’re not doing or knowing that we need to do something but not being quite sure what we need to do. Either state is counterproductive.

I’ll start with the first. One of the defining features of creative people is being able to dream up a bunch of cool ideas to do. Unfortunately, that tendency is not coupled with the ability to do everything we dream up – yet we often forget that as we’re writing things down on our ToDo lists. And those items that make it to the list but don’t get done, in time, cause us to become overly harsh on ourselves.

The second trap is a bit more complicated, but it has to do mostly with how we work. It’s often the case that creatives find jobs or other work that allows them to manage their own time or they do their creative stuff in the time they own. And those periods can carry the same terror for us as a blank screen can for writers – they’re filled with so many possibilities that it’s hard to focus on any one thing and get going.

So, on the one hand, we overcommit ourselves and get frustrated. On the other, we don’t commit ourselves and don’t have a clear idea of what we need to be doing. The middle ground is clearly where we want to be, but how do we get there?

The Important Things We Do (Categories, Please)

At the end of the day, the important stuff that we need to do falls within three broad categories. We need to create something. We need to connect with people. And we need to take in and digest information – we need to consume.

I used to describe what we need to do using breath metaphors: you can’t breathe in and breathe out at the same time. Taking in information is breathing in, and creating something is breathing out. The reason I liked this metaphor is that it helps us think about how off-balance we are. Consider how much of our lives we spend in school, in training, or just reading the works of other people, when what we need to do is take that information and output something. There’s a balance in the rhythm of breathing, just as there should be a balance in the intake and output of information.

Where the metaphor breaks down, though, is that connecting with people is not something that should be squeezed in in the leftover time. True, meaningful connections with people happen only when we take the time to invest in those relationships and people, and we can’t do that as a byproduct of creating or consuming. We all know this on some level, yet it’s both too easy to forget and hard to put on a list, so we leave connecting with people to chance, habits, and history. Chance, habits, and history don’t create meaning; intentions (and following through on those intentions) make meaning.

Though I’ve presented these as discrete categories, the reality is that it’s possible to connect with people while you’re creating and/or consuming. For instance, making the deliberate choice to watch a movie with someone and being fully with them while watching is a way to both connect and consume. Working on a collaborative project that all parties enjoy and find meaningful is a way to connect while creating. Be real with this one, though; it’s far too easy to try to add one category to the other without asking whether you’re fostering the connection or are merely just there.

Using the Categories to Prioritize

Knowing that we have only those three categories of things that we actually need to do makes it easier on the day-to-day level to figure out what we need to be doing. And the fact that they’re all qualitative helps us get over the tendency to beat ourselves up – there’s not a list of things to do per se, as much as a meaningful metric we can use to evaluate our day.

We can also use the categories to help us set priorities for the day. We know on a gut level which component we need to be working on, and as we become more self-aware, we know what we’re capable of doing. There are some times in which we can’t be creative but we do have the energy and desire to connect with people. There are times when we don’t have it in us to either create or connect. And there are times when all we want to do is create.

At the same time, though, we can’t leave all of this stuff to fate – and this is especially true with connecting with people since they have their own lives and time. This is the point behind the heatmapping ideas: grab the reins of your creativity by learning how to figure out the trends in your days and weeks – trust me, they’re there – so that you can plan around when you’re going to be able to do what you need to do. If you’re especially creative from 9:30am–11:30am, that time block is probably not the best time to be consuming. If you’re dead past 4:00pm, don’t plan your creative work for that time.

But while you’re at this planning stuff, don’t leave your Connecting time to your dead time. Don’t give the people you love and enjoy being with what’s left over. They deserve the best parts of you, too.

I’ll use my priorities as an example of what I mean by using the categories to prioritize your day. In general, my default daily priorities are Create, Connect, and Consume, in that order. I have a lot of projects to complete – a dissertation, some information products, etc. – and the only way they’re going to get done is if they’re my first priority. I’ve discussed this with the people I connect with, and they understand and agree with these priorities. Then comes the connections – online and offline. Consuming gets what’s left over, but in reality, I consume throughout the day anyway; I’m going to do that one way or the other, although I’m now better about asking myself whether it fits in with what I need to be doing.

Using Priorities to Come Up With Tasks

Of course, knowing that you should be connecting (for example) is helpful only if you can connect that up with something you can actually do. Here’s where the rubber hits the road.

Develop a list (I know, yet another list) of tasks that relate to those three categories. For example, logging onto Twitter can be a great way to connect with people. So can reading blogs with the intention to comment rather than just read. Or see how your friends are doing.

Do a similar thing for consuming and creating. What counts? What doesn’t? Are there some activities that you can do that are synergistic – i.e., both creating and connecting?

It may help if you see this like building a deck of cards. You may have a Create deck, a Connect deck, and a Consume deck. They should all be things that are actually important to you. Then you can use the deck in one of two ways.

The first way is probably the optimal way: put the things on your calendar and do them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “personal” or “work” or whatever – put it on there. It takes the guessing game out of the equation and helps solve the “I should be doing something but don’t know what” problem.

The second way is more intuitive and less structured, but it still has its place: use the decks either during those times that are unscheduled or when your schedule doesn’t match what you’re able to do. The reality is that sometimes you can’t or would rather not do what you planned to do during a certain time – for instance, if your kids get sick and had to stay home from school, there’s no amount of discipline that’s going to allow you to both take care of them and do that creative project you had planned. But you may be able to read during that time… or catch up with your friends… or do something else you had on your deck.

The decks, then, help solve the “I was supposed to do that and didn’t” problem. Sure, you may not have written that chapter of your book, but you still rolled with things and managed to do some other things that were really important.

Still No Free Lunch

A pitfall to watch out for is always deferring the things you don’t want to do for the things you actually do want to do. For instance, you may know you need to Create but instead decide to Connect, not because you can’t create, but because you’d rather not for one reason or another. If this deferral becomes a habit, you may be further ahead because you’ve done some other important stuff, but it’s not really solving the problem.

Truth be told, though, there’s no productivity system or bunch of creative tricks or tips that will help you with the continual deferring problem. You’ll have to have the discipline or fortitude to either stick with doing those things when they’re hard to do or quit them and take them out of your deck. Do them or don’t do them – get the hell out of the middle so you can have some peace.

The other thing to remember is that you can only really do one thing at a time. If you’re doing a Create task, do that task until it’s done. Don’t bounce around between three or four Create tasks and a few Connect tasks sandwiched between some Consume tasks (yes, I’m looking at you, Twitizens – #twitterAA). Do it, complete it, and move on. (Click to share – thanks!) Rinse and repeat a few times, then call it a day.

The point of all this is to get you out of trying to figure out what you need to do when you should be doing it. There’s a time to plan and review (a Weekly Review, perhaps?) and a time to do – hopefully, thinking about some of this helps you develop a system that works for you. And in case you’re wondering, this is one of my Create tasks for the day. Thanks for consuming it!

Taking it to the next level: Can each aspect of our beings – the physical, emotional, mental, and social – be viewed this way, too?

Create, connect, AND consume with us in our next Creative Giant Coworking Session!

Comments

  1. says

    Charlie, thank you for expanding on the breathing in/out metaphor. I knew there was something missing there but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I’ll be taking a fresh look at my GTD and routine with this in mind. And of course continual deferral is an ever present challenge. We’ll have to keep fighting that battle for a while methinks.

  2. says

    Hi Charlie,

    Your photo caught my attention and insisted that I read this article/post.

    Why? A number of years ago I read a book called (I think) S.H.E. Side-tracked Home Executive. While I am not a “home executive” but a busy financial one, the clutter in my house was driving me crazy (well still is but there has been significant improvement because of this little book) so I picked it up. One recommendation is to break down all household activity into little tasks and make up a cue card (like pictured) for each – with a last done section. It has helped me so much to keep track of regular and irregular activities (OMG the last time I cleaned the chimney was 2001? Where did the time fly – I thought I did it last year!) and develop better habits. Fewer plants die as I know when they were last watered etc. Many benefits.

    So I think highly of cue cards.

    I have also been mulling over the whole idea of creation vs consumption. I’d never thought of reading as consumption until recently. Don’t think I read it (consumed it) here but it seems to be a meme that is growing stronger. I also have more creative projects on the go than ever before with all the challenges you mentioned in your article.

    This morning I wrote out 3 cards – flourescent yellow (CREATE), pink (CONNECT) and orange (CONSUME) with a list of some of the things I want to accomplish in each category over the next few days. So easy to carry with me or to display. So easy to add to or start a new card when all to-dos are crossed out and the card filled up.

    Excellent idea!!!
    Thank you!
    All the best,
    EVA

    EVAs last blog post..FLOURISH!!!!!!!! – My Word for 2009

  3. says

    Thank you. I’m going to start shifting how I work and schedule my time.

    I think it’s really interesting, being a creator, using communication with my consumers (fans/listeners). I’ve found that it isn’t just the creation itself that people want, it’s being able to have contact with and communication with the creator about the creation.

    Does that make sense?

    Joely Black (@TheCharmQuark on Twitter)s last blog post..All about a boulder called receiving

  4. Charlie says

    @Mike: Thanks for the feedback – I knew something was missing, too. I found the answer in the oddest of places – Aristotle. A lot of my thinking now is on how the social aspect of our lives is usually subsumed under other things, yet many of us place the social aspect as the most important.

    I should have written more on continual deferral, but the post was already long enough. There’s a difference between strategic deconflicting and continual deferral, though. One’s necessary, while the other ain’t.

    @EVA: I’m glad the cue card thing resonated. It occurred to me as I was thinking of explaining this – I don’t actually have them given that my intuition has been a pretty good guide lately, but there’s a place for thinking of things in that way. And I’m now prompted to do more with the idea – so thanks for pushing the idea along.

    @Joely: It makes complete sense. I’m sure you’d jump at the chance to talk to one of your favorite artists about their art and other things, in general – why you’re torn is because you don’t realize that you have that relationship to people who dig Amnar. But you do.

    The question for you now is how can you connect with your readers to help give them the material they want while at the same time advancing your goals – which, I think, is to share Amnar in the world. Note the relationship.

  5. says

    @Charlie – “I should have written more on continual deferral, but the post was already long enough. ”

    No kidding Charlie, a full treatment of continued deferral would be at least a standalone post if not a whole series. Whether deferral is strategic or by default, the reasoning for the deferral needs to be defensible. If not, it’s definitely time to decommit.

  6. says

    @Charlie – Thank you! Your response suddenly made me think about the energy/psychology behind how I put the podcast out. I’ve always kind of seen it as people being basically unwilling to be interested and I have to force them! Instead it’s about sharing something that brings joy to their lives and excitement.

    I think this might change very subtly how I talk to my audience from now on. It’s not so much a question of pushing it out, more opening up. I’m thinking about asking for their help to spread the word – I know some already tell their friends about Amnar (which is why downloads are going up) – but I think not just changing my style slightly to really showing how much I love Amnar but also inviting them to share their support might benefit everybody.

    Joely Black (@TheCharmQuark on Twitter)s last blog post..Processing out loud: The unheard thoughts that stop me working

  7. says

    Thanks for this, Charlie! I have had it in my mind for a long time that every good day must have Creation in it, but I hadn’t thought about the other two legs of the stool. Using the cards is a terrific way to be more mindful of all three areas.

  8. says

    You’re absolutely right — for creative folk, ideas are cheap, but acting on them can be tough. It often leads to a sort of hideous ‘creative no man’s land’ like the one you describe where you’re stuck between getting on with stuff and going back to revisit what you think you should be getting on with.

    I think your Create/Connect/Consume mix is a great pattern to break the potential paralysis. The only thing I’d add is that chaining individual Create/Connect/Consume tasks together as a batch process can work really well sometimes: for example, it can be good to blast off 50 email replies or send 100 estimates at once, rather than splitting them up between other tasks.

    Nick Cerniss last blog post..Why you need luxury loo roll

  9. says

    I this type of “putting ideas out there” stuff a lot with my boyfriend. He thinks up tons of great ideas, and writes them down if he feels like it. But the sad thing is that none of them really go anywhere. Of course it’s easy for me to say that about him, when I know full well that I do the same thing. ;)

    Your post really made it clear that I need to spend more time with him, and maybe we can even create together!

    Nathalie Lussiers last blog post..What Do Your Boss and a Figure Skater Have In Common?

  10. says

    Charlie, first of all… I’m jealous of your design. Your comment section looks so much sexier than mine.

    Secondly: re: party people. That was hilarious. Still chuckling about that. Almost spit out my coffee actually. Thank you.

    Lastly, I love what you’re doing here. I think you’re filling a big gap of a needed and missing service. Kudos (I hate that word, but don’t know what else to say) to you for finding that and exploiting (that word sounds dirty too, huh?) it.

    Anyway, this post changes the way I think about connecting, consuming and creating. I’ve had a hard time seeing them as all valid things and needing a necessary balance. I think I need to do a little less consuming and a little more connecting. Actually, I need to do a little less checking things. Checking email, comments, email, feedburner, blogs, twitter, email, twitter, other email, etc.

    I thought I knew everything (kidding, of course… kind of), but I’m really learning a lot from you.

  11. says

    Thanks so much for this, Charlie. You completely articulated something that I’ve been tossing around for a while. I knew that I needed aspects of blogging, writing, and learning in my life, but I’ve had trouble finding balance because 1) blogging and Twitter seem like such indulgences for a writer, even though I never leave the house and a certain warping occurs if I don’t have a conversation with another person for several days, 2) I have trouble rationalizing the value of simply reading for pleasure (even tho I’m a writer, hello?!) and 3) I just haven’t been able to define how all those things contribute to my quality of life. Thanks for breaking it down so well. The three categories and the breathing metaphor are great.

    Diane Whiddon-Browns last blog post..Writing Every Day

  12. says

    Charlie,

    Very good post that identifies how we interact with and connect to the world. I think I learned more from this post than I have from entire books on the subject, and you did it without any of the fakeness of the usual programs and advice that pretend we don’t prioritize according to what we actually want to be doing.

    There’s so much truth here; thank you for getting it out there.

    David Dittells last blog post..The Rule of 3

  13. says

    Thanks for writing this! It’s a terrific clarification of categories, making it easy to assess very quickly whether or not life is in balance. I’ve been heavily weighted toward creating and connecting (offline, not on social networks), but consuming hasn’t been as much of a priority at the moment. These things go in cycles, but it’s insightful to see how you’ve distilled the cycle to its essentials.

    Andre Kibbes last blog post..Outsourcing Life: Sid Savara on Virtual Assistants

  14. Charlie says

    @Mike: For some reason, I haven’t got to this continual deferment post yet, although a epiphanette (hat tip @marissabracke) just hit me. Oh, the time!

    @Joely: Wow, you’re in such a different place now than you were then. I’m going to tweet you about this just because.

    @Lisa: I’m glad this helped – I wonder now what’s changed.

    @Cairene: The absolute best compliment is letting me know that I a suggestion I made works and that it’s simple. Really – thanks a ton.

    @Nick: Batching is an awesome technique, and mastering the batch has really helped me make sense of things. But more importantly, it’s helped me see that things aren’t nearly as urgent as we think they are. Thanks a ton for adding that to the discussion.

    @Nathalie: There may be some rough patches, but creating things together is one of the best ways to hang out. Especially compared to sitting on the couch watching TV.

    @Jonathan: That you’re jealous of my design thrills me to no end. Really, though, all the credit goes to Chris Pearson and Lisa Firke.

    I feel you on the checking things. Every morning, I check a bunch of useless crap that really has little bearing on what I need to be doing. Yet I check anyway.

    @Diane: It turns out that the indulgences have a huge halo effect for other things. Like you say, in fifteen minutes, I can have a conversation on Twitter that completely changes my writing and idea generation for the better. The trick is keeping the balance.

    @David: This is an awesome comment, David. I was pumped for a few hours – thanks so much for commenting.

    @Andre: I’m glad you mentioned the cyclical things, as I find that I’m really cyclical when it comes to creating and connecting. I’ll go “dark” for a few days while I’m creating, only to yearn for the connections I’m not attending. Then I get charged from the connecting and will go dark again. I’m wondering whether I should just go with the natural flow, or accept it and lean into it. Much to ponder here.

  15. says

    This entry was just as fabulous as Angela suggested! ^_^ One thing that occurred to me — as much as I don’t want to rewrite my whole task list (or even part of it) again, when I rewrite it so often, I had a very solid realization while reading that having a deck of index cards with a single task on each one would be great for me — paging through ONE task at a time, all by itself, is far less confusing / overwhelming than having a huge complex list of them and having to scan through them. I’d probably get off my butt and DO a few of them before even going through the whole deck. And brilliantly, I’ve got some index cards in the office closet! :}

    Megan M.s last blog post..Last Panel of the Day

  16. Sarah says

    Thank you for this post! I am a pastor and this post really helped me with how I think (and want to think) about ministry. All three components are important and the basic “tasks” of a pastor can be categorized pretty clearly in one of each. (For example, study and reading articles to stay current is obviously consuming; writing a sermon or designing a program for the church is creating; visiting members/shut-ins and providing pastoral care is connecting.) I am definitely bookmarking this post to refer to when I feel overwhelmed in ministry — what an innovation! Thanks again!

  17. Kevin says

    “Taking it to the next level: Can each aspect of our beings – the physical, emotional, mental, and social – be viewed this way, too?”

    That’s a brilliant insight. I think you have the basis of a whole book there…

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  18. says

    Charlie,

    This is a great post – the first time I have visited your blog and it looks like there is lots of other good stuff here too. I would count myself as a ‘creative’ – it’s taken a while for me to get here and I’m still trying to understand creativity and productivity – there is a lot for me to learn!
    .-= Steve Marshall´s last blog ..Crazy Red Bus =-.

  19. BC says

    Excellent essay.

    Personally, I prefer “Create, Connect, and Consider” for my three C’s, though. (Consider this new source of information, or new angle on my task, consider I may have been heading in the wrong direction, or that I may have been second-guessing myself too much, consider impact on other people/tasks: in short, don’t so much “consume” outside sources, but “digest” them.) Raw consumption is not something I need to remind myself to do; I’m already a vacuum cleaner on full-time.

    Either way, consume or consider, your ideas here seem a nice antidote to the mania for “GTD” — which I’m allergic to — and my wish that there were more attention to what I think of as a G&O system — for “generate and organize”. The GTD methodology seems too constrained and solipsistic to me.

    • Charlie says

      Good points, BC! Your consider framework is very similar to my own approach to “consume” – I just happen to like consume because it reminds me that intake is important.

      I also think you’ll like the framework I’m working on in my upcoming book. I’ll contain myself and not talk too much about it here…but it’s in the works.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation – I appreciate it.

  20. says

    Hi Charlie,

    This is really useful stuff, and comes just at the time when I’m flailing, struggling to prioritise. I’ll try this out today.

    I wonder if one could usefully add something like “Control” or “Care” for the variety of administrative tasks that aren’t as fulfilling as the other three activities, and yet need to be done. For example, today I may need to blog, write a story, explore Twitter and forums, have my car fixed, and pack a bag for a trip. Maybe a separate stack for those would make them easier to schedule?

    JV

    • says

      I like this idea, JV. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now.

      You mentioned:

      I may need to blog, write a story, explore Twitter and forums, have my car fixed, and pack a bag for a trip.

      The first two I’d place under Create, the third under Connect, and the last two are where I’d see a lot of people falling down. They don’t quite fall into the 3C paradigm, and are easy to forget – yet, at the same time, it’s an activity that I can see trapping a lot of people.

      For instance, it’s a sure bet that Angela’s putting something off if I see her vacuuming. ;p

      I’ll continue to mull about this. Thanks for the suggestion.

  21. says

    Thanks for the great post, Charlie. As I’m sure everyone can relate, my task list is as long as my arm and I often struggle with how stay on track and be more productive. This Create, Connect, Consume model is a great way to break up the day and focus on my priorities.
    Another great way to Create and Connect at the same time is to use online Collaboration tools, such as http://www.wizehive.com. I’ll be following you on Twitter and subscribing to your feed. Thanks for the advice!

  22. says

    Charlie, would you say more about this?

    “There’s no productivity system or bunch of creative tricks or tips that will help you with the continual deferring problem.”

    Is it in fact that you believe existing support systems #fail outright at creating progress when procrastination or deferral is present?

    Is it that you feel no viable system or tricks/tips exists? In which case I’m curious about your definitions. I ask because I teach on the power of environments to support exactly this, moving away from doing things through willpower or discipline – such an exhausting way to live.

    For example, if a business owner constantly defers writing or some other aspect of ‘creating’ there are weekly coaching calls as accountability, online platforms which encourage the creation of new writing habit chains, even self-tricks such as ‘If you write 3 times this week you get to buy that cool thing you saw.”

    Clearly these and other examples work and don’t work from case to case. The best case scenario is that a sustainable new habit is formed and the formerly ‘often deferred thing’ becomes an effortless part of life. Thank goodness for me, I found a way to no longer defer doing my books and paying my taxes, you know what I mean? I owe that to a logic-based system (online tool for money management), a person (a great bookkeeper and accountant) and soft-system (reward for tax completion ahead of schedule.) Not to mention non-punishment in the form of frowning hubby or pissed off government that tries to bury me under reminder letters. (Tax penalty-by-papercut, perhaps?)

    I’m wondering if by ‘help’ you mean ‘fix permanently’ or something like that…

    Your writing is so different (and subsequently exciting!)… thanks for not deferring it.

  23. says

    Oh! I guess this means that my yearning to Connect and Consume is perfectly natural, and THAT is why I keep getting drawn into such things! Does this mean I can convince myself to stop beating myself up about it?

    Part of my problem is that I record the time spent on such things using a word that ignores the usefulness that I can derive from the time I spend at twitter, facebook, Buzz, Google Reader, etc. The word I use in my records is “frivoling”, which I chose as a cute and gentle way to remind myself “I shouldn’t be doing this for too long” — which results in me still thinking about the thing I’m trying to avoid thinking about (just like “Don’t think of a polar bear!” usually results in thoughts of polar bears).

    I’m realizing now that this choice of word is still far too negative. After all, most of these things are more about Consuming (ideas, thoughts, perspectives, humour, etc.) and Connecting (to people, the world and things happening in it, etc.), which means they aren’t inherently bad. Maybe if I change the name of this category of activities to emphasize the positive aspects, I will start to be more conscious of how attentively I am Consuming or Connecting. Furthermore, I may start to see the imbalance between how much I take in and how much I put out; if I use the breathing metaphor, I may start to see myself being so full of air that my lungs and diaphragm and ribs will ache with the need to exhale.

    Also, now that I’m thinking about this metaphor, I see so many other ways twitter (and other similarly Connective/Consumptive activities like reading email, mailing list info, and RSS feeds) is like inhaling: I usually start my day by absorbing what others are talking about as they start their days, sometimes contributing at bit myself (usually in the form of haiku), and eventually, I reach a point where I’m full and need to switch to output mode. I’m not yet very good at recognizing this, but armed with this new metaphor, I think I will be able to see it more readily: I’ve gotta exhale when I get too full! Later in every day (usually over lunch), I turn to these same activities as a way to recharge… like taking a breath of fresh air, readying myself for more.

    My last thought is that it seems the metaphor has two things that are opposite to each other: Consuming and Creating. The other, Connecting, is an external idea that has an internal opposite that is equally important. We just need to find another word that starts with ‘C’ that might unify it with the above awesome terms; some ideas proposed above like Care or Consider almost work… or maybe Contemplate? Collect (as in collecting oneself)? Cogitate? Cherish? Comfort? My thesaurus skills are floundering, but there’s something in here, and it might start with ‘con-’ which means ‘with’ … is there such a word meaning ‘with oneself’? Hmm….

    • says

      I love your thinking here, Qrystal.

      I ended the post with this:

      Can each aspect of our beings – the physical, emotional, mental, and social – be viewed this way, too?

      I’m wondering whether the word you’re looking for could actually be Connecting at a different level? We’ll be mulling this one over together.

  24. says

    I really like this relatively simple way of thinking. Young pepole often ends up with lots of ideas, without neccesarily considering how to prioritize them, how to carry any of them out. This is a nice and clean way of thinking about the routines you must develop to GTD. Thank you.

  25. CCG says

    On the topic of tasks such as “have my car fixed, and pack a bag for a trip.”:

    If you don’t do maintenance, things decay. Therefore, maintaining things is a form of creation. You are creating a better future for an object that decays over time. You are improving something that would otherwise end up in a deplorable state. This improvement is an act of creation. Fixing your car is a “Create” task because it improves on something that would naturally deteriorate over time. Imagine what would happen to the car if you didn’t fix it. By maintaining things, you CREATE a better future for your things and yourself. You CREATE a state that would not have occurred by itself.
    Result=you CREATE a fixed car

    But maintenance tasks also apply to relationships. If you don’t maintain a relationship, it too will decay. The little things truly matter, and doing them improves the relationship. Relationship maintenance is a form of connecting.

    Maintenance of Things = Create
    Maintenance of Relationships = Connect

    Now, imagine if you didn’t pack your bags for a trip. While this isn’t a maintenance task, by packing your bags, you CREATE a state that would not have occurred by itself.
    Result=you CREATE packed bags.

    Utilizing the Create-Connect-Consume model, I find that Connect and Consume tasks are quite obvious. If I have a doubt concerning the classification of a task, it is most certainly a Create task.

  26. says

    I highly recommend reading Zen and the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury. If you have not already been fortunate enough to find this book, you are in for a treat. While the thesis of the book centers on creativity, the chapter of the books title, Zen and the Art of Writing, expands on the critical connection between work, relaxation, and the pitfalls of thinking too much.

  27. says

    Love this, Charlie. I’m starting a blog, and one of the taglines I’ve been thinking of includes “creating and connecting.” I stumbled upon your piece because the “Create, Connect, and Consume” title really resonated with me. This piece really helps connect the dots between all three concepts.

    For a long time, I’ve thought of my time as being divided up into “creating” and “consuming.” Most of my greatest fulfillment has come through the act of creating, so I’ve always valued it above consuming. When I find myself in periods too dominated by consuming, I tend to feel out of balance, out of whack, and just kind of blah.

    At the same time as thinking of this creating/consuming dichotomy, I’ve been zeroing in on “creating” and “connecting” as the two things I value the most in life. While philosophically I value connecting, I haven’t always made it the priority it should be.

    The ongoing challenge of course is to try to find some form of balance between the three while also being focused enough on each individually to ship and get things to completion.

    The way you’ve articulated it here makes so much sense. Thanks for writing about this.

  28. says

    Nice post! Thank you for the wonderful advice. It is every person to obtain a concentration to achieve its objectives on time and to move forward!

  29. says

    Thank you for this post! It was very inspiring! I totally want my business to flourish but it never has…and I think it’s because of this. I’m gonna try this new strategy right now…

  30. [email protected] says

    Cool post Charlie, thanks for sharing.

    I think you touched on a lot of good points, and I agree that the 3C’s are critical to building our success.However, I would add a 4th C: “Chill”.

    The reality is we can’t be consuming, creating or connecting, and we need to learn how to chill so we can recover and perform our “tasks” optimally.

    The best way I’ve found to “Chill” is to watch something funny for about 20 minutes as a transition between my block of work. Laughter is an amazing medicine (and recovery tool) and integrating Chilllign with the other 3C’s will make the whole process much more powerful. And more fun :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Create, Connect and Consume — This is a crazily on-point article by Charlie Gilkey and it nails personalities like mine to a T. Charlie and I were talking on the phone last night about productivity. (Yes, we’re nerds. Well, him more than me, but still.) We were talking about Getting Things Done and the productivity hackers who get all turned on by the idea of Inbox Zero or Email Zen or whatever the latest how-to-deal-with-email-in-8.3-minutes-per-day system is. He made a statement that absolutely blew my mind. [...]

  2. [...] This is especially true if you’re trying to make a living out of these endeavors. If you’re heart is not completely in it, someone out there that’s fanatically in love with what they’re doing will out hustle you. Now, you don’t have to go running around as if your hair’s on fire. But what must be clear is that living less than wholeheartedly simply isn’t worth it. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved by staying in the middle. [...]

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