I have acquired many books I want to read, yet my mind constantly encourages me to visit more thrift stores, bookstores, and acquire – rather than read – more. Is it, then, easier to own than read? What if we adjust our thinking away from “acquiring” to “finishing” as the biggest obstacle in completing tasks? We can oversaturate our task-acquisition to anything we want making us spoiled by choice. What if we oversaturate our task-finishing time instead?
I think it’s dedicating time to projects.
Our primary example here is reading versus thrifting, but completing tasks comes into play here, too, because it’s far easier for me at least to get excited by a new project than dredging through the half-complete project to complete it. Even today, I have a backlog of nearly twenty essays I need to publish, and I’d rather be writing something new and fresh so I am by far the least immune from this sort of ‘passion over completion’ mindset.
Yet I wonder, how much time do I spend reading versus thrifting?
My mind is currently exploring any excuse it can to go thrifting, which means I would dedicate usually a half-hour minimum to seeing new things. That’s dedicated time I’m not spending doing other things. I used to frequently thrift for fun and only just started going back to thrift stores. What if I used that same near-addiction energy to dedicate time to reading? I could probably read a fair amount, but the question becomes, too, how long can I deceive myself before I want to return? That’s probably why schools have reading-based goals of reading a certain number of pages or books to receive rewards.
I’ll start scheduling time, and respecting that schedule, to read.
Throughout the workweek, that means carving out the time I would otherwise be spending on the computer to write, which will be directly after finishing this essay, and on my day off that means scheduling time to read in advance so I don’t forget and get distracted by other things. It’s not that reading is boring for me, it’s just that I like to think of it like monochrome entertainment versus technicolor entertainment on computers. As much as I like the technicolor experience, in the short-term, it’s distracting but unfulfilling.
Reading books might be less distracting but they’re more fulfilling.
I have no problem with buying a book, reading a little bit of it, and donating it after realizing I don’t like it much. I can’t do that if it sits on my shelf, unread. It’s irresponsible to buy more without reading more. The one-in-one-out mentality of downsizing is a good approach in that regard. How that translates to me is that if I can collect together boxes or bags of things to donate, then while I’m there, I’ll let myself browse the books.
I probably already have a lifetime’s worth of books to read.
Especially at my current reading pace, which is why even trying to dedicate a thirty-minute chunk to reading will be helpful, because that improves the amount of time I’ll read daily. I might have to start off with less formal time than that since currently, I read whenever I feel like it, so I don’t dedicate specific time like I might when I drop down at my computer after waking up and sit for a while, browsing through all my frequent website tabs. That usually distracts me enough until I’m nearly late for getting ready to write or prepare for work.
What if I change up that routine?
While I deal with the last bits of my post-headache health issues, now just light sensitivity, it could help to engage in more monochrome entertainment since with technicolor entertainment the temptation is to keep my eyes open throughout all of it. I wouldn’t want to miss anything! I can’t do much currently since I’m still wrapping up writing this essay, but I can do more to avoid wasting time on my computer before work or on my days off. I can start by deciding what sorts of media I actually want to consume. Videogames are fun, sometimes, but they tend to bore me unless I’m actively working toward an in-game achievement or finding something to write about, so I’ll relegate them to playing them more infrequently now, and when I do, it’s for the ones I actually care about.
I’ve been doing this with YouTube videos.
Whenever I check my subscription feed, I am inundated by new content. Hours of new content daily. There’re enough endless distractions there to fill my life and yet only some of it is fulfilling so I’ll add everything except the most exciting to my Watch Later list and it’s actually worked out well. I’m distancing myself from the most addicting aspect of technology: the 10-minute video about not much of anything. Since I started doing that about two months ago, I’ve noticed that while my Watch Later list count increases, I’m not feeling that fear of missing out on video content… when I’m not even a video content producer.
If anything, I should fear missing out on great writings.
Without that fear, I should be focused on learning more about the craft of writing, outside of even what I can learn from reading books. I’ve made some progress in that regards by being honest with myself about what entertainment I want to spend my time with, and by listing out the movies I want to watch, I can decide if even adding a new movie is worth that time versus watching any of those other movies, which has led me to cull three bags-worth of DVDs from my collection to sell or donate.
That’s my meandry through completing rather than acquiring entertainment.
I think it’s fine to buy new things but only as you’re completing old things, otherwise, you’re just pretending to interact with them through data entry.
As fun as data entry is, it doesn’t replace playing, watching, reading, or completing projects.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I wanted to write about something lighter than my headaches or health and ended up wondering about why we tend to be lazy with media. I appreciate the oversaturation of media but I’ve been seduced too much by showing off shelves or collections compared to actually exploring the items on my shelves, so this was an exploration into why, with the answer being that shelves and collections are all appearances. I can show this off and it’s like, wow, I own all these books, I must be so well-read. Not yet.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry, Downsizing Zeal, and Thrifting Adventure essays.|
|Photos: My books next up to read, from left to right: Hagakure, Flowers For Algernon, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Hunter S Thompson’s Shark, Bukowski poetry, Write Source 2000, Art Of War, Screenplay by Syd Field, and a novel by Balzac. No links since it’d take time away from reading.|
|Written On: 2020 February 25 [From 7:51pm to 8:34pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 February 25 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|