Do you want to know how to gain 20% more time in your life?* Do you want to know how to get ahead in your career, connect with more people, have more exciting times, and improve your relationships with loved ones?
Get rid of your TVs – all of them! Get rid of the TV in your living room, your bedroom, your home office, and anywhere else you have a TV. I don’t mean just turn them off. I mean physically get rid of them. I also don’t mean tote them down to the garage just to see what it is like without a TV while intending to bring the TVs back after this neat period of being without a TV. Give them away, throw them away, or pawn them away.
I lived for four years without a TV at home and found it to be one of the most liberating changes I could make. I have one TV now only because my wife loves baseball (Braves and Red Sox).
I used to love seeing the reaction when folks would find out I didn’t have a TV. The reactions ranged from abject horror to disbelief to sympathy. In fact, more than once I had offers of TVs from people I barely knew. I guess they assumed that if I didn’t have a TV then times must really be hard!
The next favorite thing I loved was when people would ask me the inevitable follow-up question, “well, what do you do?” My response was always the same (and truthful):
- I go running
- I go biking downtown
- I travel
- I go to the gym
- I go out to a bar
- I hang out with friends
- I go to events – art shows, concerts, etc.
- I go to dinner at friends’ houses
- I cook
- I sleep
- The list goes on….
The next response was just as predictable. People would tell me, “Oh, I only watch TV for [fill in the blank] show(s).” This was always a lie. I know, because my friends all gave me the same line. Of course, when I was at their house the TV would be on 24/7.
“What about college football games?”
Ah, you thought you had me on this one, right? But alas, you forgot that friends and bars have TVs if I really want to catch a game. Watching a game in these environments is more social and thus healthier for you.
I am in awe. TV is probably one of the most finely-tuned advertising vehicles to ever be created. Think about it for a moment. We have consciously decided to pay thousands of dollars to bring these boxes into the sanctity of our homes, plug them in and let uncontrolled advertising messages spew forth to interrupt our conversations with friends and family. To keep us from completely unplugging these obnoxious chunks of plastic and turn them into fish tanks, we are fed morsels of “entertainment” like the little green pellet logs coming out of the food dispenser for a guinea pig. Break free of the power of the blinky box!
Perhaps I am just too ADHD to handle TV. If a TV is on then I have a hard time focusing on anything else. Other folks seem to be well adapted at tuning out TV programs. Unfortunately, I am drawn to the blinky box like a moth to a flame. Thus, like an alcoholic who can’t just have one, I live best when there is no TV around. Come join me in TV rehab – the world becomes a lot more interesting when you are living it rather than watching it.
* On November 24, 2008 Nielsen Media Research said the average American watches 142 hours of TV in a month. That is 1,704 hours of 8,766 hours in a year (19.4%). A 40-hour week job takes 2,000 hours a year assuming a two-week vacation during which you can watch even more TV.