Burn that Backlog!

Inspired by this Mashable article.

As consumers, we all have a problem. It’s one I’ve addressed in the past from a few angles more than once. However, in a media-saturated world, how can you cull that backlog?

Note: Since I know the reason people accumulate backlogs of unconsumed content is because they have a lot of interests – gaming, anime, manga/comics/graphic novels, books, randomly surfing the web… – that’s why, even though I am an anime/manga blogger, I also tried to incorporate ways to tackle neglected games, books and other forms of media into this post.

Does it spark joy?

There’s a reason Marie Kondo became so big not so long ago – her advice did help a bunch of people, as you can tell by the fact she has a manga with her tips on keeping a home that sparks joy. Well, you don’t just have to apply that advice to your wardrobe or even your physical to be watched/read pile – like people with Steamdoku noted, you can apply some of the tips to digital lists as well, like your Goodreads list or your anime/manga list of choice. (Come to think of it, I even used the “stack things from smallest to largest, left to right” tip at the charity store and it worked a charm.)

Personally, I go through my planning lists on AniList every so often on a whim and just pull entries from it if I forgot why I thought they were interesting, if I lost access to legal streaming options for them and so on, so forth. I can always add them again if I need to.

For instance, if someone you know recommended you this anime years ago, but it’s not in your wheelhouse, then it’s unlikely they’ll remember they recommended it to you, but you wrote down the recommendation so you remembered. You can set the recommendation down until it does actually tickle your fancy to watch it. If things don’t exist anymore, such as dead download links, that’s more time and effort for you to dedicate elsewhere in your backlog or doing other things.

Give/sell, don’t scrap

If you throw your physical entertainment backlog straight into the rubbish, they might end up in landfill…and that might help you with your space issues, but it won’t help anyone else or the environment. You can give your unwanted items – if they’re still giftable (you’re unlikely to escape your paid digital library this way!) – to a family member who shares your interests if you have one, sell the items online or donate them to a charity store.

Top tip from a former charity store volunteer: ask yourself “would I sell this item if I had a store of my own?” People donate clothing with holes, stains and other issues all the time and all a volunteer can do with items like those are get them sent off to be reused elsewhere.

Sidebar: The day I started writing this post was the day I cut my losses with the store I was affiliated with. I was one of the volunteers keeping the place open on certain days, so I think I dealt them a crushing blow, if not the final one.

Get crafty

You can also find instructions for crafts online to breathe new life into old items you don’t think anyone will want donated, sold or kept. My sibling’s friend had a wedding with a bouquet of flowers made from pages of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter books, for instance.

Just do it!

A wise Shia once said this and, for anything you need/want to do, this is the best advice for it. If you don’t have a to be read/watched/whatever list, then it would be ideal to go around your house, emails and files and find anything you bought/found but never consumed, then consume it all when you’re in the mood to. Preventing yourself from consuming items not on the list might be helpful if you work better that way, but you don’t necessarily have to – remember, the point of the list is to have fun, not make yourself stressed again. Likewise, you can put dates on items if you have, say, a season 1 you need to watch before a season 2, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your every goal. Life happens sometimes, especially if you’re juggling various commitments.

If you find spare moments in your day to tackle your backlog, then get to it! A blogger tip I remember from a while back was to use commutes to read others’ blog posts and give comments, but you can also spend those commutes with a book or a portable gaming console.

Heck, the reason I’m struggling to use my commutes wisely right now is because I have uni classes with readings I’m expected to have done, but now I also do my daily Wordle and Queerdle on my commutes, as well as using spare time at home to save a bunch of web articles/past readings I didn’t 100% take in which I download (I use Save as PDF from the Print function of Google Chrome, rather than the reading list, because I’m more used to that function) and then delete once I’m done – it saves me from having to maintain a list, because I only read one article at a time. (I read the non-weekly reading articles when I don’t have classes, if that’s not clear.) I used to prioritise reading Reddit and Quora, which have “nested” interfaces not suitable to PDF saving, over other saveable articles…before I started banning myself from reading them outright for productivity reasons, haha. If I really liked an article, I will save it to my hard drive for keeping on my USB.

Alternatively, if you’re committed to finishing all the backlog (and you won’t find it a chore to do so), block out a set time each day/week to tackle it and only focus on the item you’ve allocated yourself until it’s done. For something comprised of smaller units which can look daunting if written on to a checklist as a whole unit, such as an anime series made of several seasons, just finish an episode or two before moving on to something else – you can return to the next episode as a reward.

Surprisingly, this post doesn’t overlap a lot with the previous posts. I also like to experiment with new productivity options every so often, as well – as of the time of writing this post, I’m trialling the previously-mentioned reading list, as well as a checklist website called ClickUp (I have an extension which changes my New Tab to ClickUp, so I either have to beat the page loading somehow or stare at my tasks).

So does anyone else have tips for tackling their ever-increasing backlog of entertainment?

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