American adults watch 4.5 hours of TV on average every single day. That is 1,642 hours or about 70 days of your life each year. Sadly, we watch more TV in a day than we spend making love or exercising—two activities that have positive health benefits. That is absolutely crazy. TV has no redeeming health benefits (unless you’re doing exercise programs) and contributes to more negative health issues, especially among children.
Now don’t get me wrong, I share your addictive TV watching habit. I spend time watching TV that I should be using to study my Bible, cultivate my business, (re)connect with friends, or just resting my mind. But thanks to my Launch Yourself Boot Camp with Rosetta Thurman (Happy BlackWoman.Com) experience I have been inspired to loosen the grip TV has on my productive time and reclaim my life from my TV! Take a look below at six things you can do to take back your TV controlled life!
- Don’t sit down. When I sit down, that’s when I’ve lost the battle. Like that first potato chip or that first spoon of ice cream, sitting down reels me all the way in and I can easily lose track of time. When I sit down to watch TV I almost always watch longer than I planned and I’m usually eating something that I wouldn’t normally eat.
- Use the DVR. this way you can make sure you watch only what you want to watch and you can cut down the time by fast forwarding through the commercials
- Watch only first run programming. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-watched the same thing over and over. I am a sucker for a good chick flick and movies like It’s Complicated, Steel Magnolias and Beaches get me every time. But how useful is it to watch the same stuff over and over? Not very! And watching re-runs robs me of productive time. The exceptions to this rule will be annual airings of Ten Commandments, It’s A Wonderful Life and The Sound of Music (the real one) you can’t make me stop.
- Get rid of the channels you really don’t watch. Channel surfing is like window shopping, the longer you do it the more likely you are to buy something. And it is just not as satisfying until you make a purchase. So stop ransoming away something even more valuable than your money—your time!
- Limit your TV time. When my son was little we had rules about how much TV he could watch. For example, I gave him 5 poker chips; each was good for 30 minutes of weekday TV (or video game) time. He could choose to use them all up in 1 night, but if he did that meant no more TV for the rest of the week. Once he got the hang of it (and boy was it a battle) he learned to ration those chips and make the most of the time. I think we as adults can do the same—my chips will be good for 45 minutes which will probably equate to five 1-hour programs.
- Get the TV out of your bedroom. There are all kinds of studies that say having a TV in your bedroom is not good. I actually use the timer on mine to shut off after a certain amount of time.
- Don’t give TV your most productive time of the day. I am totally wired for sound first thing in the morning. Most days after a shower and breakfast I feel like I could conquer the world! I am my most productive before I break for lunch—which I guess is why sometimes lunch doesn’t happen until 2 or 3. I want to squeeze as much time out of my morning productive time as possible. But that means I can’t watch all 3 hours of the Today show! I have determined that I have to ration my morning TV time and make it purposeful. The purpose? To get the weather forecast for the day, catch up the latest overnight news, and listen to the traffic report. That’s it.
This set of strategies will be very hard, especially the watching programs via DVR—a girl simply MUST watch Scandal LIVE on Thursday nights—but what I will gain by reclaiming productive hours of my life will be well worth it.
Share some of your strategies for cutting back TV time or your experience trying the ones I suggested in the comments below!