Balance Opportunity Costs by Upcycling Your Life
Creating quality content is hard. It’s even more difficult when it seems like the universe is conspiring against your creative process.
There’s writer’s block. There’s finding motivation to create something when you actually have time to create. There’s the pull of all the fun and less taxing things you could be doing other than creating content. The struggle is real, just ask Kanye.
But here’s the thing: it is possible to live your life and maximize your creative output. Hear me out.
In the content marketing world, there’s this tactic called “upcycling” where you transform components of an original piece of content to create something new you can share on other platforms. You aren’t solely reusing content, you’re creating content that could live on its own, even if the original piece didn’t exist.
My team uses this technique all the time because it extends the shelf-life of what we’ve already produced and it helps us tailor our message to a given content channel. We’re working smarter not harder, if you will.
The cool thing about this tactic is that it can be applied to “real life” as well.
Inspiration Can Come from Anywhere
A few months ago I attended a webinar presented by Jay Acunzo, the self-proclaimed “world’s most craft-driven marketer.” The webinar focused on how the best content creators start and scale their creative output and focused on how creative inspiration can come from anywhere.
The part of the presentation that struck a chord with me was when Jay discussed “extraction” – taking a successful formula used by a content creator and adding your own flavor to it to tell your own stories.
To put extraction in action, try this out:
– Listen to 2-3 episodes of your favorite podcast
– Jot down notes about the framework of the podcast, not the actual content itself
– Analyze the framework and brainstorm ways you could expand and or alter those ideas for your audience
Labor of Love
Extraction is effective, but some days you’re going to be too exhausted to take a deep dive into the content you consume. That’s fine. You can still take stories at face value and share your enjoyment with others through creative mediums.
For example, this year I’ve read more books and listened to more podcasts than any other time in my life. A big part of this shift in content consumption is because I changed my mindset about personal development. I used to think that if I dedicated hours a week to developing my skills that I would 1) miss out on leisure time and 2) drastically reduce my creative output. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
By thinking about the framework of all the content I enjoy, I can evolve my own schtick at the same time. And by practicing active reading (and listening), sharing my thoughts and insights about a piece of content has never been easier.
I published this blog about the most puzzling things in the movie Bloodsport after I listened to the How Did This Get Made? crew do a podcast about it. I put together this “video companion” for my favorite author’s latest book. Heck, this blog you’re reading is me upcycling my webinar and reading notes from the last month or so.
An opportunity cost is the cost of spending your time, money, and energy on one thing, instead of another thing. Since there are so many things that you want and need to do, get the most bang for your buck by finding ways to upcycle everything you do.