I am guilty. Guilty of watching TV for 4-5 hours every night! Guilty of wasting precious time every night either watching or endlessly searching for something to watch. But things have changed and I believe I have finally managed to overcome TV addiction and reclaimed my life!
A lot of people may be in this situation – spending countless hours watching TV (or any kind of passive media for that matter – Netflix, Youtube etc) and wasting away their life. For me, this started a couple of years ago when I started falling into a comfortable routine of getting into bed by 7 PM and then watching some TV before falling asleep. To start with, it was great since I was sleeping early and my productivity the next day went up.
But slowly things started to change. I was spending more time watching TV. Instead of the one hour or so watching an episode of Netflix series, I started watching two. Then as the months passed, I started looking for something else to watch after finishing the two episodes. I started looking at old series and got hooked on 3 different series. That’s 3 hours of watching.
Then as the TV addiction got hold of me, after the 3 episodes, I would search for a movie to watch. Or sometimes I would get on to Youtube and search for stuff to watch. If it is a movie, that would add another 2+ hours of watching for that night making a total of 4 hours. If it is Youtube then perhaps it would be an additional hour.
Spending 4-5 hours watching TV every night started taking a toll. I would wake up feeling groggy and tired. I started forming dark circles under my eyes and I felt tired throughout the morning.
I also started previous time – over 1200 hours which is equivalent to around 110 days or over 3 months each year!
When I realized this one day I was shocked. I thought about all the time that was wasted and what I could have done with it. This woke me up and one fine day I decided to overcome TV addiction.
Here are the things I did to overcome my addiction to TV and reclaim my life back.
Commit To Writing Every Weekday
I used to write prolifically. That slowly decreased and the in the last two years I have not written much. I attribute this to watching so much TV. This meant that my writing muscle atrophied and I found it harder and harder to write.
But I decided to change that and write every weekday. This would force me to write again and most importantly the only I could do that would be in the evenings when I would normally be watching TV.
I had the option to write on my personal blog (this one) or to write on the various business blogs that my businesses had. I chose to start writing on my personal blog first so that I can write about my life – almost like a journal – or about things that interested me in my private life – like Zen, photography, travel, books, productivity etc.
I started with a 30-day writing challenge which I would then increase to a 3-month sting and extend that to a 6-month sprint and finally to a year-long marathon. So far it is going great!
Commit To Reading Every Day
I used to read a lot of books. But slowly that too slowed down and in the past couple of years, I hardly read any books. I did hear the odd Audible book but I do not equate them.
This can be tough – to find books to read every day. I needed a structure and a regiment to help me do this and I found the perfect tool for this – LeaderBox! They send out two books every month with accompanying notes and summaries along with a plan to complete both books in 21 days by spending less than an hour per day.
That is going great too! I am back reading and I love it!
Commit To Doing An MBA
Back in 2008, I joined an MBA course with the prestigious Warwick University in England and paid a lot of money for that privilege. However, due to mounting pressures in business, I could not complete the course and in fact quit in the first 6 months. I always wanted to get back to it one day and complete my MBA.
I am doing that now. Every day I spend an hour studying for my MBA and I do this in the evenings – when I would normally be mindlessly browsing through Netflix or Youtube desperately searching for something to watch.
Commit To Spending Time With Family
Although I was watching TV with my wife (for the first two hours at least – she would fall asleep after that and I would continue the journey alone till midnight), I decided to spend more time with my wife and the kids NOT watching TV but rather in the kitchen or in the living room.
This last one needs more work as the timing is sometimes a little difficult to coordinate – now that I have taken up so many challenges. But we are working on it and hopefully, I will have a routine and structure to make the time meaningful.
What about you? Are you facing a similar situation with watching TV and wasting your time? Or perhaps it is social media in the evenings? Whatever the addiction may be – remember to not let it steal your precious time. If you are bored, spend time improving yourself – read, write, take online courses, paint, draw, play an instrument, or anything else other than watch TV. Don’t get me wrong, it is ok to watch TV, movies etc a few hours a week – ideally on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. But do not be addicted to spending 2,3,4 or 5 hours a day mindlessly watching TV.
If you are on a journey to overcome TV addiction, leave a comment below and let me know your progress and your experience. If you have any other tips on how to handle the addiction, please do ping me and I will update this article.