Be Fussier About The Media You Consume

Deciding what content we want to consume shouldn’t be stressful, yet it is. Let’s try and fix that.

After I get home from work, eat dinner, and finish cleaning up, most of the time, I want to just chill out and enjoy myself by watching something, playing something, or reading something.

But there’s a problem: there’s so much to choose from, how in the hell do I decide what to spend my precious free time doing?

If I just open Netflix and pick something at random, I can’t shake this feeling of what if I chose the wrong thing to watch? Is there something else that I could be watching, playing, or reading that would be a better use of my time?

Netflix does its best to show you things that it’s algorithms think you might enjoy based on previous things you’ve watched. So the more things you watch, the more similar things it tries to show you. Then on top of that, they have new shows that they’re trying to promote as well.

Netflix’s biggest problem is that each of their subscribers only have 24 hours in a day that they can spend consuming content.

Because of this, Netflix’s competition isn’t other streaming platforms, their biggest competitor is actually anything that takes time away from watching Netflix. Fortnite is as much of a competitor to Netflix as your gym membership, Instagram, your job, or anything else that you spend a meaningful amount of time doing.

The reason I’m bringing this up, is because Netflix will do its best to get you to watch content that it thinks you will get addicted to and binge watch. They don’t really care if you’re watching something that will bring you joy or expand your mind. All they care about is that you keep watching, episode after episode after episode.

Decide for yourself how to spend your time

Take matters into your own hands! You don’t really need to watch stuff that everyone else is watching.

What I do is I try to think of things that I’m into. What interests me? And then I’ll keep an eye out for content in those areas. Sometimes a friend will recommend something to me, or I’ll hear someone on a podcast talk about something they loved. Next, you just need somewhere to jot this down…

Create a list

Whenever I come across something I want to check out from a friend or maybe I’ll read about it online somewhere, I’ll just put it into a list on my phone (my list app of choice is Things), and then reorder them into the order that I plan on consuming them when I have time.

I call this list “Do” and it contains the following categories:

  • ✏️ Anime
  • 📚 Books
  • 📹 Documentaries
  • 🎮 Games
  • 📖 Learn
  • 🎥 Movies
  • 📺 TV Shows
  • 🕹 Let’s Plays

When I am ready to start something new, I grab the item from its category list, and move it to a list I keep at the top called Currently. That way when I’m bored I can just open Things, and see what I’m currently working my way through.

I find that this workflow makes it feel like I have control over the stuff I consume.

I want to clarify and say that of course every single thing I watch doesn’t always go into my Do list first. I watch a lot of YouTube which is inherently impulsive, and sometimes my roommate and I will just pick something we feel like watching and just watch it. But there is something to be said for being a bit more intentional about the stuff that you consume.

How do you organize the media you love? How do you control your impulses and get yourself to spend time doing things you actually want to do? I want this newsletter to be an open dialog between you and I, so if you’re not shy, please send me a reply. I can’t wait to hear from you guys.

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Designer, writer, and illustrator from Vancouver. → garycolwell.net

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