If you could have an extra 58 days this year, in which you don’t have to do any work, what would you do during those days? How would you spend your free time? Go on holiday? Visit your loved ones? Renovate your house? Learn a new hobby or skill? Well guess what?!
You can have 58 extra days this year, and every year, to do with as you please. How? You just have to do one very simple thing… Stop watching television! The average person in the UK spends 3 hours 52 minutes every day watching TV. That equates to 58.8 days each year. Watching television. For our friends over the pond this figure is much higher, at 5 hours 5 minutes every day!
As a child and teenager I am certain that I surpassed the national average. I was absolutely obsessed with the TV. We religiously ate dinner in front of The Simpsons. I would get annoyed if mum was a bit slow with dinner and I missed a snippet of my favourite show. When I was in college I would will the bus to hurry up and get home so I could sit in front of the TV and stare at it for hours on end. I had a strict routine which began with Neighbours, then Home and Away and finally Hollyoaks. Then I really wasn’t interested in anything else but if it was on I would stare at it nonetheless. Needless to say that I didn’t really have any hobbies. I was far too busy staring at the inane programmes on the telly.
My TV addiction was broken when I moved out and went to uni. I couldn’t afford a TV licence so I didn’t have one and besides there was no room for a TV in my pokey dorm room. I went cold turkey on the TV and I didn’t miss it one bit because I had lots of new and exciting things to do in my free time.
Then I moved in with a partner who was a total TV addict and insisted on having a huge TV plus lots of games consoles. He spent every spare minute of his time glued to whatever game he was playing, usually involving a lot of loud gunfire which was an absolute joy to hear. So relaxing. He barely noticed me unless I happened to walk between him and his precious box.
Since then however, it has been nine years since I have lived in a house with a television and I want to tell you a secret. I don’t miss it one bit.
Here are 10 reasons why life is so much better once you ditch the TV;
- You have more time. Your life and schedule are not ruled by when your favourite soap is on the box. You don’t have to rush home from anywhere or worry about spoilers. The average person in the UK spends a whopping 3 hours and 52 minutes per day watching the TV. That’s a whole lot of time that could be spent doing all the things you think you never have time to do.
- You choose to watch things that actually interest you or add value to your life. When I say I don’t have a TV I am not saying I do not watch shows, I’m not a saint. I have a laptop so I have access to YouTube and Netflix. I selectively choose to watch things that are interesting to me. Documentaries, films for movie night with my girlfriend and of course, the Handmaid’s Tale. I watch YouTube videos on topics such as going off grid, self sufficiency and tiny houses.
- Communication improves significantly. I remember back to when I was a total TV addict. If my favourite show was on and somebody spoke to me, I would snap at them. I remember the feeling of being totally invisible to my ex when the TV was on. TV free life is full of so many more meaningful conversations and interactions with your loved ones.
- You gain hobbies. Post-TV, my life is totally transformed. I found hobbies in running, crochet, crafts, cooking, baking… I very recently began soap making. You have many hours every evening / morning / daytime that used to be filled with junk TV for you to fill with as many new things as you want.
- You save money. TV’s cost money and so do TV licences, Sky subscriptions, electricity to run your TV or keep it on standby all day.
- Your outlook on life will improve. Now I don’t know about TV soaps in other countries, but the ones we have in the UK are (in my opinion) totally depressing. Every episode usually has somebody dying, cheating on their partner, having a drug/alcohol problem, having a hard time with money, finding out their child isn’t biologically theirs, a house fire / car crash….. You get the point. I find watching these negative TV shows will inherently make you have a negative view of the world.
- You will feel happier. Have you ever sat down to watch the 6 o’clock news and felt better afterwards? No? I haven’t watched the news for many years as it is so negative and personally, I want to stay indoors wrapped in cotton wool after watching the news. The news sensationalises events that rarely occur and make you feel anxious or fearful of the world. Since not watching the news I do not feel as though I have missed any big stories. People will talk about world events / post on Facebook and I can choose whether to pay attention. Since I have stopped watching the news I have come to my own conclusion through life experiences that people are inherently good and only want to help you to succeed in life.
- You want to buy less stuff. A lot of money is spent on TV advertising to make you feel like you just have to have that thing, and you have to have it now! If you don’t watch TV your urge to buy the next fad, the newest car or the shampoo that will make you look like the lady off the advert will subside. Also, a shocking amount of money is spent on TV advertising to children. Your wee ones see these adverts for toys, cereals, theme parks and the like and they nag and nag and nag at you for the thing.
- You can read more books! Instead of falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV, I choose to fall asleep in bed after reading a book. I know I will never have the time to read all of the books I want to in my lifetime, but it sure helps not having a TV sapping my attention and draining my energy.
- Your house / lounge will look much nicer. TV’s are ugly. Your house looks so much nicer without one!
It’s such a hard habit to break but I personally think my quality of life has improved significantly without a TV. I went cold turkey through circumstance (moving to uni). If this won’t work for you or you live with people that insist that television is a human right, or you get so much enjoyment out of your favourite show, then you could try just reducing the time you spend watching the TV or switching off after your show has been on. You will instantly find you have a little extra time everyday to spend how you wish.
Questions for you…
- Have you overcome a TV addiction? How did you do it?
- If you suddenly had an extra 3 hours and 52 minutes in your day today how would you spend that time?
- Do you feel you watch too much TV? Have any of these tips helped?
P.s. When this blog is posted on Wednesday I shall be at a wedding in Scotland so I may not be able to reply to comments right away. I will reply when I am back home!