Last year one of my New Years Resolutions was to give up watching TV. This has been the habit that has most changed my life.
I have dreadful taste in TV. I could sit and spend an entire evening watching all the reality TV programmes and soaps. When I spent some time thinking about it, I realised it was not having a good effect on me. I’d get home from work and be really tired and wanting to relax. I’d think to myself, I’ll just chill out on the sofa for a while and watch a bit of TV, or I’ll just have it on in the background. In reality what happened was 3 hours later, it was time to start thinking about going to bed and I had achieved absolutely nothing, watched 3 hours of TV that I was not interested in and feeling frustrated that I had not been more productive.
I decided I was going to give up TV for 2 months, to see 1) whether I could do it and 2) what impact it would have. To this day, 13 months later, I haven’t turned my TV on to sit and watch it and it’s been the best thing I could possibly have done.
When I tell people, they look at me with shocked expressions and ask me how I fill my evenings. The answer is with many different activities, but one thing is for sure, I’m never sitting around without anything to do thinking if only I could watch TV!!
For me the issue was wasting time, watching programmes I had no desire to watch, flicking from channel to channel and feeling frustrated that I had wasted a precious evening. If there is a particular programme I want to see, I’ll watch it on iplayer and just watch that one programme then go onto do something else. Before you think that’s cheating and I have just changed from TV to iplayer, I watch a maximum of 2 programmes a week on I player and actually for the last 3 months I have watched nothing at all.
What has the impact of this change been?
1) Pursuing hobbies
I have started to find time to pursue other activities. I’ve started to learn Spanish, I’ve started writing a book, I’ve launched my blog, I’ve started reading a lot more and also cooking more. I find that every evening I can make a decision about how I want to fill my time with the things I enjoy doing.
2) Personal admin productivity
I have started being more productive at my personal admin. I used to stress out that there was no time to do this, without TV in my life I commit to completing one personal admin task a day and I feel much more positive about it as these things used to really hang over my head
3) Frustrations with wasting evenings eliminated
Before I gave up TV, I often felt frustrated that I had wasted my evenings achieving nothing. Since forming this habit of no TV, I am way more productive in the evenings and therefore experience less frustration on this topic
I constantly hear people saying they just can’t find the time to achieve something they want to do, yet most of them spend a fair amount of time each evening watching TV. If you want to find more time in your day, I’ve found that giving up TV is definitely one way to do it.