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.
Binge-watching is an excellent utility for any content creator, if planned and executed properly.
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
- 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
Strategic binging is a deliberate, scheduled chunk of days where you consume a BIG piece of content with the goal of getting creative afterward.
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.
In order to make good content, you need energy.
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 strategy 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.
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 afterward to reflect and capture.
You just might make something awesome.