Take a few minutes to think about this. How much time are you spending reading other people’s content?

Now how much time are you spending on creating your own?

It’s amazingly easy to fall into the trap of reading, reading, reading, and not working enough on your own websites. After all, you’re trying to keep up with your niche, right?

This is something I got to thinking about after reading Lynn Terry’s Finding Balance Between Consuming Content …and Creating Content article recently.

I’m generally satisfied with the way I manage my balance, which is by doing most my consuming of content when I know or suspect the kids won’t give me enough quiet time to really get into creating content. Kids are a great distraction, but so much fun!

It’s something you really should think about for yourself. Do you have a good balance too, or is it content diet time?

The simple truth is that both matter. You need to keep up with your niche and you need to keep working on your own sites. When do you do each?

Consuming Content

The best time to consume content is when you aren’t likely to be as productive in creating content. This can be when you’re distracted. When you are short of ideas. At the times of day that you know from experience you just don’t create as well as you would like.

The challenge is keeping these from flowing into the times when you should be creating. Sometimes you want to read one more blog post, follow one more link, visit just one more forum, read a few more Tweets aaaand then your time to work is gone!

If you’re finding that you tend to overdo the consumption of content, it’s time for a diet. Cold turkey isn’t too bad a way to go in most niches.

Take a week off, or even a month. Unless your niche is very fast moving, you can afford to take a break. Use the time to focus on your own content.

This includes shutting down whatever Twitter application you may prefer, and closing that window into Facebook. They’re both wonderful for networking and for promoting your own content in their own ways, but a break can be a very good thing.

Don’t worry about getting behind on your feed reader. I hit the “Mark all as read” button on my Google Reader quite often. It works great for not feeling as though I’m running behind on reading. It means I’ve made the conscious decision to not read the unread stuff.

Pick Times to Create Content

What are your most productive times for writing? Early morning? When the kids are at school? In the evenings when they’re in bed?

These are the times you need to focus as exclusively as possible on content creation. Shut off the distractions and get to work.

Now Lynn suggested in her article linked above that you try a Time Log. Track the time you spend on everything, not just the internet. This is a great idea, especially if you’re having trouble finding time to write at all. You might just discover where you’re wasting time you could put to better use.

Remember that your success isn’t going to come from reading what other people are doing. It’s going to come from what you are doing. It’s time to stop being passive, reading other people’s content and get active creating your own content. Just think of it as diet and exercise for your blog.