Every year I set a focus for what I want to accomplish during the year. I don’t much believe in setting other goals beyond that, as having too many increases the chances of any one of them failing.
I’ve noticed lately that I’ve also started to have a ‘secret goal’ of sorts. Something a few notches down on the priority list from my named focus, but that I think about in the back of my head. Sometimes it is something I want to monitor in case I decide to make it a true focus item in a future year. Sometimes it is a past focus item I’m still keeping an eye on.
This year I’m writing it down my secret goal so that I don’t forget it and to see if writing about it is a bad idea altogether.
The secret goal for 2018 is to create more than I consume, as measured by:
Books read + listened to + significant blog posts written >= movies watched + video games played + graphic novels read + TV show seasons watched
Essentially I believe the former are productive and the latter are more consumptive. I know they all vary in length to some degree, but for now I’m counting them as all as the same.
You might also recall that reading books and writing blog posts were both habit goals that I set for myself in previous years. Watching fewer movies and TV shows has nearly been my yearly habit goal a few times as well.
Sidebar: You might ask how I can consider reading books, to be consumptive. I believe, especially with regards to the books I select, reading is productive because it is a form of efficiently outsourcing your thinking to someone else. What might have taken me 100 or 500 hours of thinking to come up with can be consumed in 5 to 10 hours instead. Another way to phrase it would be that when I decide I need to become more knowledgeable about a certain topic, reading a book is often the highest leveraged solution. Watching movies and playing video games is most often the result of me wanting to enjoy the experience, even if I happen to learn something as I do so.
Last year my numbers were:
- Books read: 7
- Books listened to: 1
- Significant blog posts written: 7
Total Productive: 15
- Movies watched: 42
- Video Games Played: .25
- Graphic Novels Read: 2
- TV Show Seasons Watched: 3
Consumptive Total: 47.25
So I was at roughly a 1:3.15 ratio last year (much better than some years of my life where the total was probably closer to 1:20 or 1:50) and this year I want to drop it to 1:1 or even 1.15:1.
For those curious about how I track all of this, I use Goodreads for books, audiobooks & graphic novels, Letterboxd.com for movies and my blog’s backend makes it easy to see posts published. I don’t have a system for video games or TV shows so will just use an Evernote doc.