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The One Thing

How to win the content game (without being consumed by it)

Published 27 days ago • 5 min read

We all know the feeling.

You open your phone to create a reel or post an update and, in a blink, it seems, an hour has passed mindlessly scrolling.

And what’s worse is you haven’t even done what you set out to do: create.

Sound familiar?

It certainly does to me.

Undoubtedly, social media can be the path to creative, time, and even financial freedom.

Owning the distribution for your art and your ideas and leveraging that distribution to earn a living for yourself and your family is a noble pursuit.

But all too often, the tools we depend on to earn that freedom are the very tools that destroy us (and our chances of building anything of meaning along the way).

Now this is a big, bold problem, and I certainly don’t have all the answers here, but I have successfully figured out a way to build a business online while still maintaining balance in my life, and I believe you can too.

So if you’re after something similar, here are three concrete takeaways I’ve discovered that changed my life for the better and helped me realize the freedom I sought for so long.

Just say no… sort of

The single most effective way I’ve been able to leverage social media so that it works for me instead of against me is to limit my exposure to it.

This may sound as simple as just turning it off, but in reality, it’s not… if you keep the apps on your phone.

Last May, our church went through a series entitled Digital Detox, where we did a sort of “digital fast” for 40 days.

The primary rules were: delete all non-necessary apps from your phone (keep stuff like weather, phone, calendar, camera, etc.) and use your devices only during work hours and for work purposes as needed.

Basically, turn your smartphone into a “dumb” phone.

I decided to jump into this head first to see what would happen (though, if I’m being honest, I held onto Instagram a bit longer than I did everything else—that one was tough for me to let go of), but I must admit I was afraid of how it might play out.

After all, my family’s income depends on a business built on the internet and social media.

Once the initial shock wore off and I began to adapt to the new habits I’d formed (yes, I had to completely realign my daily habits around not doom-scrolling), I began to experience this incredible sense of freedom and creativity I hadn’t felt in a long time.

I no longer felt anxious or rushed in all the ways I had for so long.

And though it took me a while to get my “creative feet” back under me, so to speak, once I did, I realized there wasn’t much I could do on my phone that I wasn’t able to do on my computer.

Not only did the transition from mobile to desktop enlighten me about some new tools I didn’t know about, but it further prevented me from getting lost in consumption mode at the drop of a hat.

So now my rule is this: if I can’t use it on my computer, I don’t use it at all.

Intention matters

I would say 99% of my social media consumption has started from a good place: exploring content from creators I love to get more ideas for my content.

We all have folks we look up to online, and to get a peek into their world through what they create can be inspiring and motivating… until it takes that inevitable turn toward scrolling from a place of compulsion rather than intention.

I do my best to keep to intention and avoid compulsion in two ways: setting time limits and taking notes.

By limiting my social media use to desktop only, I am already ahead of the game with respect to time spent—I can’t sit on the couch and watch videos while I’m watching TV at the same time.

But I also try to limit the amount of time I spend consuming content on my computer, and I always try to jump into that process with intention.

I am there to learn not to scroll.

The second thing I do is take notes.

I constantly keep content ideas in the Notes app on my phone, as well as in a pocket notebook I carry around with me everywhere.

Often, these ideas come from watching content from creators I admire, but not always.

Leaving space for my brain to actually think instead of defaulting to consuming whenever I have a free moment has given rise to a lot more “shower thoughts” throughout the day, and these almost always lead to creative gold for me.

Plus, I have a well of ideas to draw from when it’s time to create.

Everything, everywhere, all at once

If limiting my exposure to social media is my shield, and thoughtfully exploring while taking notes is my armor, then batching content is my secret weapon.

I believe the highest-leverage path anyone can take online is to hit publish. A lot.

Whether it’s music, writing, videos, or photos, posting daily or weekly is the fastest way to build an audience, establish a revenue stream, and earn your freedom via the internet.

But I get a lot of pushback on this whenever I talk about it, especially when it comes to music.

“Release a song every week, Tom? You’re crazy!”

And while I understand where this response is coming from, I believe most get up in arms over the idea simply because it feels impossible.

And the truth is, if you’re trying to film, edit, and post a video each day, all while writing, recording, and releasing music every Friday, then yeah, it’s pretty much impossible, especially if you have a career, family, etc.

But if you batch each step, the game changes.

This looks like filming all videos in the same sitting, editing all videos in another sitting, and scheduling everything at the same time in a final sitting.

With music, this could mean recording four songs first, editing them second, mixing & mastering them third, and then scheduling them all for release in the same sitting.

This is a counterintuitive cycle because the world is largely reactive these days, not proactive, but if you can get on top of it and get ahead of the curve, your life will change.

It takes some doing to start planning in advance, but if you can start thinking about what you’ll be releasing next week or next month, I believe you’ll find yourself in a much more fruitful position when it comes to consistently creating and publishing content or music online.

And, of course, the newfound time you have from not scrolling social media will help too.

Best of luck.

That’s it for this one.

Whenever you're ready, here are three ways I'd love to help you:

  1. Learn more about marketing for free by exploring our entire backlog of Articles here.
  2. Quickly and easily automate your growth on Spotify inside the DuPree X Academy here.
  3. Hire our team to market your music for you by applying to become a DuPree X Agency client here.

Have a fantastic week,

Tom

The One Thing

Tom DuPree III

One high-leverage idea to scale your audience (and your business). Delivered every Tuesday.

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