I am outdoing myself with media consumption, and in doing so, am accomplishing/retaining less than I had hoped. I need to rationalize what I am reading, watching, etc. "Do Less To Do More." This is my new motto. Along with "Be Here Now." See, it’s happening again – is one motto enough? Nope. Must have two. Yikes. A survey of what I having been taking in, of late:
On TV: The Tudors, various movies on the Sundance channel, The Winds Of War, 20/20’s series on faith (the piece on the nuns is pretty interesting), 60 Minutes, 24 (though I am boring of it quickly) and of course Grey’s Anatomy (McSeries!). And I am intrigued by Traveler. And I watch cooking shows. But I am a little tired of quick meal, dinner in a hurry, 15 minutes to being a dream wife shows. Can someone bring Julia back? Perhaps a show for those of us interested in really cooking? But I digress.
Now, books: My Life in France, Julia Child; Life is Meals; Founders At Work; Ghost Wars. I also started Dracula again. This is my third start with it. I like it each time and then get distracted. Third time a charm? Am also 150 pages into Nicholas and Alexandra. And of course, So You Think You’re Not Religious (thanks Dad).
This is not to mention various other things lying around: the NY Times, NY Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, two issues of Vanity Fair, more cooking magazines than I care to admit, a few interior design mags (check out Blueprint, BTW – a little frantic, but great ideas), and many many others.
And this is not to mention what I read for work (blogs, newspapers, newsletters, research whitepapers, etc etc etc).
Clearly I have a problem. Or I have MADD (Media Attention Deficit Disorder). I am reading so much that I am actually reading nothing. I am reading while watching TV. Unlike others, I will admit I am a mere mortal and am unable to do several things at once. While my bookshelf might suggest I am a fabulously in the know person who is up on all kinds of things, this could not be further from the truth. Crap. I am a fraud! I suspect that this fragmenting of my mind and attention is doing me a major disservice. I am all talk and no knowledge. I am comprehending little and retaining even less.
Do others have secrets on how they manage to get through it all and at cocktail parties spout off facts that show they actually read it? Where do you find the time! Or is the answer that you take the Martha Stewart Bill Clinton approach – you are not human, you only need 2 hours of sleep, you are trained to speed read (oh no, it comes NATURALLY to you) and therefore consume a book a day…minimum.
Well, not I. As much as I would like to be a speed reading, need no sleep, bring home the bacon and run a company all while doing power yoga woman, it’s just not me. This feels like a failing. But that would be silly, wouldn’t it? To allow not being a super human to make you feel like a failure? Who needs to to 55 things at once anyway? Perhaps the way to not feel bad about realizing I am not The Bionic Woman is to view the situation through a different lens – the stop and smell the roses lens. It’s OK to read one thing at once. It’s OK to just watch a TV show and not try to get through Proust at the same time.
So I vow to slow down. Do one thing at a time, and do it well. Not spread myself too thin. Focus. Do something to completion. Slow down. Breathe.