Did you know the average North American watches four hours of television per day?
I always knew TV was a waste of time, but I didn’t realize just how much of a time suck it was until I did the math. Turns out, watching four hours of mindless entertainment each day means you’ll waste a total of thirteen years during your lifetime. Imagine how much more you could accomplish if you had thirteen more years to do the things that really mattered? I did, and that’s why I chose to stop watching TV for a week.
Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how it went down. Truth is, I got lazy and failed to pick a challenge until Monday morning. I only chose it because it was the simplest challenge on my list. But I’m SO happy I picked it over the others.
Because I’ve been wanting to do this for a very, very long time. My parents got rid of their TV when my sister was born, so I grew up reading books and exploring the countryside. It wasn’t until I turned thirteen that we finally got our first television.
I was immediately hooked.
I spent the next decade of my life collecting movies and series. My initial collection consisted mostly of VHSs, but I eventually upgraded to DVDs, before finally moving on to Blu-rays. I ultimately sold my collection, but not before watching multiple thousands of movies and tens of thousands of episodes from classic TV shows such as Seinfeld and Friends. I’ve since diminished my consumption, but I still find myself mindlessly plonking down in front of my 65” 4K TV at the end of a hard day’s work.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to understand why I so desperately needed this break from mindless entertainment.
Honestly, going five days without TV wasn’t that hard, but it made me realize how addicted to it I’d become. I didn’t watch it because I wanted to, but rather out of habit. I even postponed other, more enjoyable activities because watching Netflix was easier. But now that it was no longer an option, I found myself doing the things I kept telling myself I should do but always ended up putting off.
I read more in those five days that I had in the past month, which is embarrassing to admit for an author like myself. I also had more prolonged, meaningful conversations with my roommates. I listened to WAY more podcasts and consumed even more personal development material than I normally do. I even had time to be bored.
It was awesome!
I’m SO happy I did this challenge. Though I don’t plan on giving up TV anytime soon, I am going to limit the amount of mindless entertainment I consume. There’s WAY too much I want to accomplish to waste a quarter of my waking life watching fictional characters live their fake lives. How about you?