When you make large changes in your life, like when you move to a new country or change jobs, you have the opportunity to start from scratch in some areas.
When I moved from Shanghai to New York, I knew that this was an opportunity to kill some of the bad habits I had.
One of the main habits I wanted to kill was my dependence on TV.
If you put me in front of a TV, I’m gone. I zone out. It doesn’t really matter what is on the TV – I am just engrossed.
I know this is a weakness (and one of the reasons I hate bars with TVs) and something I actively try to stop doing when out.
I also know that productivity is reduced when you have the option of TV. Give me 2 options: 1)Watching a crappy TV show and 2) Reading a book – and I will, unfortunately, choose the former.
I can resist everything but temptation – Oscar Wilde
So, when I moved to my apartment in the East Village in New York, I decided that I wouldn’t install a TV.
The hypothesis was that if I didn’t install a TV, I would do more. I would read more and I be more productive with my time.
For 3 months now I have had no television and here are the results:
I GO TO BED EARLIER
Without TV, hours don’t pass by very quickly.
Instead you notice that it’s 9.34pm… and you actually wish it was later. When television is available, time often flies by and you want to stay up later to finish that episode or see the end of that film.
Going to bed is great for health and stress reasons, and I have had better sleeps without the temptation of TV shows that drag on into the early hours of the night.
I READ MORE
I have always wanted to read more, but I have never done so because TV has always been too accessible.
Passive entertainment often wins the race when compared to reading that requires a certain amount of effort and concentration (especially after a long day of work).
Of course I know the benefits of reading and what happens when you get into a good book – but still…..TV..HBO, movies..it’s not a fair fight in my mind.
So, now that I’ve taken TV out of the equation, I do enjoy spending more time reading. I give myself more time to get into a book. It is my new form of entertainment, and I do enjoy it.
This is a big win for someone who reads a lot of articles, but not enough books.
I AM MORE ACTIVE
I am less desperate to go home, because I know there is no entertainment device, and thus I try to find things to do.
I look for events. I go for runs. I even go for walks in sub-zero temperatures.
Although, I do have to say that on nights when I’m drunk or simply tired, I definitely would love to come home to TV. I think overall though the positives outweigh the negatives.
While there are a lot of positives with taking television out of the equation there are some small side-effects.
I PROCRASTINATE ON THE INTERNET
When I am done with reading, and want to procrastinate a little, my phone tends to pop out.
I wouldn’t say I browse the internet a lot more than usual – but it does come out a good bit at home. It’s definitely a lot less than the amount of procrastination that comes with TV, so overall it’s still a win.
WHEN I DO SEE A TV, I AM MORE GLUED THAN EVER
The desire for television has not left me, and when a TV box does catch my eye I’m actually worse than ever.
Luckily I am not around TVs too much, but when I do see a HBO show or something of that quality, I’m completely focused on it. I don’t mind being glued to a TV when I get the rare chance – as I deserve a little bit of entertainment.
Remember: The goal is to improve my overall quality of life by taking TV out of my day-to-day, and a bit of TV now and again is not a problem, in my eyes.
I MISS OUT ON TV TALK
I have no idea what’s going on in Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley or any of those popular shows.
I do feel a little left out during those discussions but even though it is fun to talk passionately about these shows, it is a small sacrifice I am willing to make.
I can live without these series because I don’t have access to them. Only when you cut off some form of entertainment or a ‘nice to have’ like TV or Facebook, do you realize how easy it is to live without it.
THERE’S LESS ENTERTAINMENT FOR GUESTS
I have not had many guests to my new, and old-school, apartment, but I do know that not having a telly could be a bit of a pain. For example, when visiting friends want to chill after a day out checking the city’s sights, they’d probably love to sit down and relax in front of the box.
Having access to the internet may stave off some of that boredom, but I may also need to purchase more books, magazines and even a board-game or two. Or just send them to the movies 🙂
Summary of the Results
The experiment continues as, to this date, I have yet to purchase a TV, and nor do I intend to.
Overall, I don’t miss television. I find I have a lot more time, and I save a little bit of money, too :).
SO SHOULD YOU GET RID OF YOUR TV?
Honestly, if you have one now, it is very hard to get rid of it.
If you are making some changes, like moving apartment, then THAT is a great time to experiment. If, after a month, you really miss it – then go back to it. But try to live without it for a little while.
What have you got to lose? There’s definitely plenty to gain.
Image Source: http://1000funnypictures.com/funny-dogs-ii/lazy-dog-watching-television-funny-dogs/