I would not consider myself a television addict. I don’t even have incoming TV channels, just hundreds of DVDs of movies and seasons of favorite shows. If I were asked how many hours I spend in front of the TV on any given week I would say just a few, but lately I have realized that “just a few” is turning into “a whole lot of hours”.
Basically anytime I am home I have the TV on for background noise. The problem is that I end up sitting down and watching whatever DVD I put in, and that turns into several hours in front of the TV in just one day, and significantly fewer hours spent doing other stuff like exercising and cleaning the house. Sex and the City and Gilmore Girls are usually my drugs of choice, and they are great shows, but I have seen every episode countless times, and I don’t need to devote hours a day to watching them again and again.
So… I decided that for the month of September there would be no television for me.
Until I cut out television, I didn’t realize how much I rely on it to fill the empty space between dinner and bed. Without the distractions of my favorite shows I devoured books. I was loving all the extra time to read, but sitting on the couch reading a book for two hours is not much different than sitting on the couch watching TV, so it didn’t really help my whole wanting to exercise more.
By day 20 I was really starting to miss TV. I had a couple of new movies I wanted to watch and I didn’t know what to do with myself when I was too tired to read but not tired enough to sleep. It is times like that when a quick episode of 30 Rock would be perfect.
Not watching TV this month gave me a lot of time to think about how this little experiment was improving my life. And the answer was: not much. I didn’t fill the non-TV hours with things like organizing my closet or mastering the perfect push-up, I spent them sitting and relaxing, just like I would if the TV was on. So by day 24 I turned on the TV.
I didn’t make it the whole month, but I still feel like the experiment was a success. I realized that TV is not the impediment to my productivity, my laziness is the impediment to my productivity. I can work on that, with a little TV in the background.