A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I rarely watch TV. Sometimes they look at me as if I were some alien that didn’t quite know how things worked on this planet and even my own mother once proclaimed that it was just weird. No, I am not a Luddite and I do own a TV, I can see it out of the corner of my eye in my living room as I type this right now. I just don’t turn it on very often. This hasn’t necessarily been a conscious choice on my part. I never felt like I was devoting too many hours to sitting on my couch, staring at the screen in front of me. It has just happened over time as my side hustle expands and more of my hours are consumed with writing, the less time I have to spend watching TV. I can precisely remember the last series I binge watched (Daredevil over the Christmas holiday) and while my husband and I record plenty of shows, it takes me a very long time to get through almost any series (with the exception of Game of Thrones, too many spoilers to miss a single episode). I know I’m in the minority when it comes to hours of TV watched, but truth be told, I don’t miss it one bit because what I am doing with those hours is so much more exciting and personally rewarding.
I now use the hours in front of my TV as a kind of gauge of how my week is going. Sure enough, if I have a lot of projects I’m excited to do, I can become so focused that I may end up watching maybe an hour or two of TV that week, usually on the weekend when I have more downtime. I find that the more productive I am not just professionally but in achieving my personal goals, like training for an upcoming 5K, the less likely I am to want to give any of my precious hours to watching a show. It’s sort of like when you do a really good workout and the last thing you want to do after is eat a whole bunch of fast food and ‘ruin’ the work you just put in. It’s always when boredom kicks in that I really feel an urge to do some channel surfing. Interestingly, the same goes for the other screens in my life.
I am on my phone a lot to be sure but it’s primarily to do my job, researching articles, reading productivity tips or to share stuff I find interesting on here or on social media. I rarely find myself just randomly scrolling through my Facebook feed. While I do find a best dressed list hard to resist, once I am home, I seldom turn on my computer to do anything except for more writing and you all know already how I feel about emailing after hours. Again, I didn’t just wake up one day and decide that I was going to watch less TV, it has gradually happened as my writing took a much greater role in my life but now that I am living this way, I can’t see myself going back.
One thing I have made a conscious effort to do is to pick up a book instead of the remote control when I have some free moments. While you can read here and here why this has made such a huge difference in my life, it’s another thing that keeps me from mindlessly staring at a screen for hours on end. There is nothing wrong with watching TV, in fact, I had a jolly good time this morning watching dance and cheerleading competitions while drinking my coffee (it brought back a lot of fond memories of my teen years), but it is worthwhile to remind ourselves that like most things, it should be consumed in moderation. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and while you may not be an entrepreneur running a startup, have a side hustle (yet) or spend your days chasing after your kids, there are probably much more rewarding ways to spend your time. I’m all for a little escapism but it’s very easy to go on autopilot sometimes and since TV is just one of those things that is always there, it can make it that much easier to mentally check out. If you are living the kind of life that makes you proud than by all means indulge yourself, but if you feel like you are not quite where you want to be, choosing to spend your hard couch sitting hours in a different way might just be the key to a life truly worth living.