Should content creators binge-watch? HECK YES. Here’s why…

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Every­one with an inter­net con­nec­tion is famil­iar with binge-watch­ing. How­ev­er, it’s usu­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with inef­fi­cien­cy and lazi­ness. But what if binge-watch­ing was a cre­ative pro­duc­tiv­i­ty tool?

As some­one always look­ing to improve my cre­ative out­put, I search for ways to DO bet­ter work. I think binge-watch­ing is an excel­lent “util­i­ty” for any writer, pod­cast­er, or video per­son­al­i­ty, if planned and exe­cut­ed prop­er­ly.

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]Binge-watching is an excel­lent util­i­ty for any con­tent cre­ator, if planned and exe­cut­ed prop­er­ly. [/shareable]

In The E‑Myth Revist­ed, I learned that using tem­plates and batch pro­cess­ing can speed up your flow when you need to release things con­sis­tent­ly. I’ve used this. It works!

So why not “batch” your con­tent con­sump­tion over a sched­uled weekend—or peri­od of days?

My binge story

I binged all of Break­ing Bad while I had the flu around Christ­mas of 2013. It was my first expe­ri­ence bing­ing any­thing. It was won­der­ful. It wasn’t planned. And hon­est­ly, I wasn’t pre­pared. But it was awe­some. (I talk about this on episode 11 of my pod­cast All About Con­tent, lis­ten here.)

Since then, I’ve also binged

  • Ser­i­al (pod­cast)
  • S Town (pod­cast)
  • House of Cards
  • Stranger Things
  • Mad Men
  • Grey’s Anato­my
  • Prison Break
  • Trav­el­ers
  • Walk­ing Dead
  • And a few oth­ers

While all of these were not entire­ly on pur­pose, some of them were actu­al­ly planned: like the week­end I watched Stranger Things when my wife went to West Vir­ginia to vis­it fam­i­ly.

Bing­ing con­tent can REWARD a cre­ative indi­vid­ual with ideas and inspi­ra­tion to cre­ate more and bet­ter work, pro­vid­ing that the bing­ing is STRATEGIC.

What is “strategic” binging?

Strate­gic bing­ing is a delib­er­ate, sched­uled chunk of days where you con­sume a BIG piece of con­tent with the goal of get­ting cre­ative after­wards.

Chang­ing clothes and show­er­ing is option­al. You only sleep when you can’t keep your eyes open any­more. When you wake up, you pick up where you left off. You don’t leave your house.

Attire: sweat­pants, under­wear, or what­ev­er is com­fort­able

Food: piz­za, take­out, chips, pop­corn

Loca­tion: Your bed, couch, bath, or etc

Goal: Become ful­ly immersed in the enter­tain­ment so you can be cre­ative after­wards

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]Strategic bing­ing is a delib­er­ate, sched­uled chunk of days where you con­sume a BIG piece of con­tent with the goal of get­ting cre­ative afterwards.[/shareable]

Binge to keep your “well” filled

Every con­tent cre­ator has a “well”—a reser­voir of inspi­ra­tion, ideas, and moti­va­tion. When that well is emp­ty, you get off track and feel “writ­ers block.” Your job is to keep this well FILLED so you always have stuff to talk and write about when it’s time to do your work.

Bing­ing allows you to fill the well and poten­tial­ly over­flow it.

Binge to get IMMERSED

Immers­ing your­self in a binge-wor­thy sto­ry is like going on a vaca­tion or tak­ing a trip to anoth­er world. Only cheap­er.

When you cre­ate stuff, it’s your job to take your read­ers and lis­ten­ers on a jour­ney. By watch­ing an excel­lent show, you can FEEL what it’s like to be tru­ly trans­port­ed, which pro­vides a ref­er­ence for you do the same in your own work.

Use binging to get ideas

The ideas you get while bing­ing some­thing might have NOTHING to do with the sub­ject mat­ter you’re watch­ing. It might be an feel­ing, a sen­tence, a song, or some­thing else that launch­es you into cre­at­ing some­thing.

For instance, while binge-watch­ing Bet­ter Call Saul sea­son 1, I was intrigued by the click­ing pen Jim­my hands the Kettleman’s as they almost sign the “Let­ter of Intent” to work with Jim­my as their lawyer. I love pens—and this inspired me to write more about pens, as I have done on this blog.

Accidental binging is BAD for the content creator

In order to make good con­tent, you need ener­gy. In order to have ener­gy, you need to eat the right foods, and get enough sleep. Some­times binge-watch­ing requires stay­ing up a lit­tle lat­er than you nor­mal­ly would, and hav­ing a good snack in the process.

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]In order to make good con­tent, you need energy.[/shareable]

This is not what you want to do dur­ing your nor­mal work­week. This is why sched­ul­ing a time to binge-watch is impor­tant. Life dur­ing binge-watch­ing is not nor­mal. So don’t waste your ener­gy bing­ing when you should be rest­ing up for the next day of work.

Don’t binge impulsively

If you choose a spe­cif­ic week­end or chunk of days, you can LAUNCH your­self into a few days of cre­ative work inspired by a show you’ve watched.

If you impul­sive­ly binge, you may not reap all the rewards a strate­gic ses­sion could offer.

THE TRICK: You MUST write down your goal!

Accord­ing to research con­duct­ed by Dr. Gail Matthews at Domini­can Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, writ­ing down your goals increas­es the like­li­hood of them being achieved.

This is why it’s impor­tant to write down WHY you are going to binge, and exact­ly when you are going to do it. You should also sched­ule a peri­od of time after your binge-ses­sion to cap­ture ideas you had while watch­ing, and begin pro­duc­ing con­tent you came up with while watch­ing the show.

For instance, you may sched­ule a strate­gic binge over the week­end, but if you have meet­ings on Mon­day and Tues­day, you may for­get poten­tial ideas you had dur­ing your strate­gic ses­sion.

Allow your­self time to reflect after con­sum­ing. Find a chunk of time after your binge ses­sion where you can cap­i­tal­ize on cap­tur­ing thoughts you had.

Conclusion

Strate­gic binge-watch­ing might launch you into cre­at­ing the best con­tent you’ve ever cre­at­ed. Rather than acci­den­tal­ly watch­ing all five sea­sons of Break­ing Bad, do it on pur­pose. Sched­ule it. And sched­ule time after­wards to reflect and cap­ture.

You just might make some­thing awe­some.

[reminder]What shows have you binged? Any recommendations?[/reminder]

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