I’m currently on vacation, so no new long-form posts for the next two weeks. After the insane Steph Curry NBA game on Saturday, I had some great thoughts lined up about sports, but my limited focus has hampered me from giving it justice.[ref]Turns out writing is hard.[/ref]
One of the cool things about gaining readership on a blog is the increased sense of obligation to give your best. I could have word-vomited something halfway competent out, but I wouldn’t have felt great about it. Professional athletics is a topic I’ve been passionate about as they relate to the arts for a long time — hell, it was my first ever post on this website — so if I’m going to write something, it better be good.
But that doesn’t help me deliver regular value on this website.
So I came up with a great idea: put something out that’s not quite as time-investment heavy as a full 2,500 word article, but still substantive enough to give value. Cool!
Here’s the concept – give three pieces of valuable content: one if you’ve got 30 seconds, one if you’ve got 5 minutes, and one if you’ve got 20 minutes. In other words:
- a piece of content (probably a picture or an info-graphic of some kind) that’s skimmable in 30 seconds
- a link to a quick piece of content digestible in 5 minutes, probably a short article or even a list article, despite my personal distaste for them
- and finally, a link to a more substantive work–something that you can come back to if you’re looking to spend your coffee break digesting a new piece of content for 20 minutes.
I’ll call this the 30/5/20 post. I’m not quite attached to this name, so if you have a better suggestion, leave one in the comments!
I’ll throw these in newsletters as well on occasion, so join the club if you haven’t already by entering your email in the friendly box that pops up when you leave the website!
30 SECONDS OR LESS
What new habit could you form today?
JUST A QUICK 5 MINUTES
Here’s a New York Times article that spurred a host of great book purchases. It’s called Addicted to Distraction – a telling manifesto about an avid reader’s struggle with email and smartphone culture. My favorite paragraph:
According to one recent survey, the average white-collar worker spends about six hours a day on email. That doesn’t count time online spent shopping, searching or keeping up with social media.
The brain’s craving for novelty, constant stimulation and immediate gratification creates something called a “compulsion loop.” Like lab rats and drug addicts, we need more and more to get the same effect.
Endless access to new information also easily overloads our working memory. When we reach cognitive overload, our ability to transfer learning to long-term memory significantly deteriorates. It’s as if our brain has become a full cup of water and anything more poured into it starts to spill out.
Let me know if you connect with it like I did.
A 20 MINUTE COFFEE
I promise I read more other than Mark Manson. But his articles have given me remarkable perspective–it’s bloggers like him that gave me the inspiration to start my own:
“You know, I’ve come back to this post dozens of times. It’s so damn inspiring and explains so much of my life. What if I could do that for other people?”
One of my favorite articles is his on why we procrastinate, called: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT PROCRASTINATION BUT WERE TOO LAZY TO FIGURE OUT.
There are a slew of great graphics on there that give way more insight than I could sum up in words, so I will leave it to him. Here is my favorite passage:
I sit on YouTube, then Facebook, then take a nap, then spend way longer than I’d like to admit figuring out how to make an ugly bar graph with smiley faces on it.1
And instead of writing that life-changing, pants-pooping, mother-hollering, epiphanic psycho-spiritual orgy of life advice that I promised, I sit here, analyzing my own laziness.
But such is being human.
We often don’t do the things that we should. That raise you never ask for. That attractive person you never ask out. That mother you always forget to call. The article you don’t bother to write. The unpleasant feelings outweigh the pleasant ones, and so we avoid the unpleasantness, even if we’re making our lives worse in the process.
It often isn’t until the 11th hour, until the night before, until someone is screaming at you or the threat of complete and utter failure is breathing down your neck, that the equation finally shifts, the pressure becomes too much and the associated positive feelings of doing said action outweigh the negative ones. It becomes more painful not to do something than it does to do it, and that’s when the bastard finally gets done.
Thanks for reading. Come back for new content next Monday, every Monday. No clickbait, no fluff, just value. Thoughts? Leave a comment below, or send me an email. I respond to everyone.
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