The current internet and its platforms encourage you to consume as much content as possible. And it requires some discipline to limit your intake.
At some point in life you realise that time really is your most scarce resource, and you’d like to spend it well. But when it comes to consuming content, what is time well spent? To me it is consuming content that I can learn something from.
So if I want to be sure that I actually learn something I need to be able to select the right things to consume. And when doing so, I need to make sure that I retain some of that valuable information.
I often watch/read things that were recommended by others who I hold in high regard, which is a good start. I then watch/read the thing, say to myself ‘this is really good’. Possibly take some notes, and simply move on to the next thing. I’ll forget 95% of what I just consumed.
So the obvious issue is retention. But, there’s a reason my brain is discarding most of the information. I’m not making any serious effort to encode it.
But instead of consuming tons of content and also trying to encode it all, let’s try an experiment. What if I had to read/watch anything I want consume three times, in full, three days in a row?
This could be like watching a movie for the second or third time. Or re-reading a book. You’ll see things you missed the first time, and you experience the exact same content in a different way. What if this repetition could actually improve the way in which you consume that content?
If a 20 minute video becomes a 60 minute time investment, you’re going to make sure it’s worth it. I see two effects here:
1 – You become more deliberate about the content you commit to consuming.
2 – You’re likely to have a better understanding of the content and retain more of it.
You may need a little discipline to see it through. But consider it an experiment that introduces you to using a new tool in the shed. Just repeat this act of repetition enough for it to stick (the irony), so you can use this to your advantage.