post written by: Marc Chernoff

40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week


A week away from TV

“What could you accomplish if you stopped watching TV?  What would you do with all the extra time?”  My wife asked me these questions two weeks ago.  After a short discussion, we decided to find out for ourselves.  We completely eliminated television from our lives last week.  It turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience.  We now have a plan to drastically reduce our future viewing habits.

Here are 40 positive effects from our week without television.

  1. Wrote 4 blog posts. – I usually only have time to write 2 articles a week.
  2. Made it to the gym 5 times. – I went Monday through Friday for about 45 minutes, hitting every major muscle group.
  3. Increased household communication. – TV kills the flow of household communication.  We both noticed that we had a lot more time to talk.
  4. Read a novel cover to cover. – I read the short novel “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse.  It’s a powerful story about the importance of life experiences as they relate to approaching an understanding of reality and attaining enlightenment.  I highly recommend it.
  5. Caught up on current events twice as fast. – I typically waste a good hour everyday watching CNN.  This week I grabbed my news off the web.  It took me significantly less time to scan CNN.com.
  6. Enhanced focus on everything. – TV is a huge distraction, even when you hear it from the other room.  It’s so much easier to concentrate when you don’t have a TV yapping at you.  I had no idea how much if affected my ability to concentrate until it was gone.
  7. Learned a few new skills. – I took my own advice and learned how to change the oil in my truck… pretty darn easy.
  8. Spent more time with friends and family. – We invited Angel’s sister and some friends over for a mid-week dinner party.
  9. Cleaned the house. – Something Angel and I habitually evade by watching TV instead.
  10. Learned new recipes and prepared 5 home cooked meals. – We cooked large portions so we could have leftovers for lunch every day.
  11. Spent more time enjoying simple pleasures. – Deep conversations, long walks, telling jokes, etc.
  12. Finally trimmed the hedges in our front yard. – I always put this off because I am tired after mowing the lawn.  This time, however, I did it on a totally separate evening.  It only took me 30 minutes.
  13. Cleaned out the garage and sold 2 old dehumidifiers on eBay. – We setup a 5-day eBay auction and got $65 for each one of them!
  14. Took 2 evening strolls around a local park. – We hadn’t been to this park in years… there’s only 1 reason why.
  15. Saved money on our electric bill. – Our power company’s website allows you to check your daily usage.  Sure enough, less TV equals less electricity usage.
  16. Burned more calories. – We were off the couch moving around.
  17. Backed-up critical files on both of our laptops. – Transferred them all over to our Iomega 500 GB external drive.
  18. I played my guitar. – …for the first time in a year.  I’m hooked again!
  19. Found 2 new bands I like. – I used online music comparison services to find 2 awesome bands with similar music styles to my favorite band, Counting Crows.
  20. Listened to more music. – In addition to finding new bands, I had more time to listen to my favorite music.
  21. We stargazed in our backyard. – …for the first time since Angel and I first started dating.  It was blissful.
  22. Caught up on times with an old friend. – I hadn’t spoken to my buddy Jon since my wedding a year and a half ago.  We had a pleasant 30 minute conversation on the phone.
  23. Handled basic household maintenance. – Replaced the AC filter, applied pest control spray, replaced fire alarm batteries, etc.
  24. Took Angel out on a romantic date. – I took her to one of our favorite Italian restaurants and then out to a local pub where we slow danced to a live music.
  25. Finished up a little DIY project. – I’ve been stalling on staining, sanding and hanging a certain wooden shelf for nearly 6 months.
  26. Updated the photo frames throughout the house. – Sometimes it’s nice to mix things up.  We spent some time sorting through our digital photos and replaced a few photos in various photo frames throughout the house.
  27. Played racquetball. – Great 2-person sport!
  28. Organized my monthly planner. – Entered all my known commitments into my planner and did a little time planning each night.
  29. Reviewed our long-term goals. – Angel and I had an open discussion last Tuesday night about our goals for the next 3 – 5 years.
  30. Setup recurring automatic payments for most of our bills. – Now our electricity, phone, insurance and cable bills are automatically withdrawn from our account each month.  This basically buys me 30 additional minutes of free time every month.
  31. Updated my resume. – It only took me 45 minutes.
  32. Quiet relaxation. – Instead of clicking on the TV, I spent some quiet time gathering my thoughts each day when I returned home from work.
  33. Intelligent conversations at suppertime. – Quite frequently we eat supper in front of the TV.  Since there was no TV watching this week, Angel and I had some really interesting conversations instead.
  34. Hit it off with our new neighbors.  – We spent more time outside and ended up running into our new neighbors.  They seem like pretty cool people.  There’s certainly the potential for friendship here.
  35. Exchanged back massages. – It sure beats canned laughter.
  36. There was more time for “quality time”. – You know… just me and her and some classical music in the background.
  37. More real life experiences. – Because we were off of the couch, actually doing something.
  38. Watched 1 quality movie. – Instead of watching whatever was on, we went to Blockbuster and selected 1 quality movie to rent.
  39. Ironed my clothes each weeknight before bedtime. – …since I had more free time in the evenings.  It made my mornings less stressful.
  40. We got more done. – Because we had so much more time to do it all.

I strongly recommend a week without television to everyone.  You’ll be amazed…

Photo by: Zyphichore

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118 Comments

  • Sorry no time to write as I’m watching TV ;-)
    Gordon

  • I must confess that I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I do like a handful of shows like 24, House and Family Guy. Having said that if it weren’t for having to watch my beloved St Louis Rams on football Sunday’s, I could definitely give it up. My wife on the other hand, well that’s a whole different story ;-)

    Er, I don’t mean I could give her up, I mean she loves her TV.

  • Hi Marc&Angel

    Wondering if you’re doing any of them, or all of them. Seems that I need to have 1 month of free-TV to do that! LOL
    Agree with you that TV is very much a time-waster in our life.
    And wanna say thank you so much for stumbling my site.
    Great to know your site, looking forward to read more great articles.
    Cheers,
    Robert

  • My feelings on TV watching are well document from my past rants, but I enjoyed reading the things you made time for after unplugging the tube. I just love it when people tell me they don’t have time to learn a new skill, or read, or volunteer, but they can quote you the last five winners of American Idol, the runner ups, the songs they sang in the finale, etc.

  • I am a firm believer that t.v. is slowly sucking the life out of us. A few times this week we kept the tv off and got a ton of stuff done. Most of the time the t.v. is on for “background noise” which we don’t need because as you say, its distracting. I’m usually on my laptop while the t.v. is on because most of the programming is crappy anyhoo.
    my 2cents
    Zendad
    http://www.zendad.net

  • So, did you like your week enough to give up tv for a longer period of time?

    In response to Tim, my husband and I only have television during college football season. The rest of the year we have no cable and rarely even rent movies. By November we’re usually more than ready for 9 months of no television.

  • I can’t remember the last time I watched TV. That said, my wife and I do rent DVDs and watch TV series — Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is our current pick.

    I guess it’s a similar act, but it doesn’t have the same indulgence-inviting quality that TV has.

    The time we spend sitting and watching something per week is around 2 hours. 2-3 45 minute episodes. We consider it an important bonding time for us busy parents.

    But I don’t watch TV the way TVs are supposed to be watched.

    ari

  • great article…you know- I’ve actually considered seeing how long I could go without television. I hardly watch TV as it is now, but it really is true that you accomplish and learn so much more without it…I’ll see what I can come up with without a week of television :) Thanks again!

  • i havent had tv in my apartment for two years now. My husband and I have no desire to have one again.. we experience those things you mentioned with out even thinking about it. we are also very much in love prob because we spend quality time at home cooking, eating, listening to music, massaging. granted we have no kids i wonder how that would work out. I feel that TV is one big advertisement in my living room.. However, we do watch DVD’s on my computer and subscribe to NETFLIX so we do watch movies. But what we watch is hand picked for goodness.
    Good Luck i hope you both find living with out TV is as lovely as we do…

  • Whoever wrote this article, you seem like a very intense person it would be a pleasure to meet you

  • Great idea,
    I hope not watching TV brings you and your wife many great experiences, and you wife has a lovely name.

  • How did #38 fit into a TV free week? Was it an 8mm film you watched with a projector and screen?

  • Congrats! Keep up the great work!

    I haven’t owned a television set in almost 10 years and do not miss it one bit. What little tidbits I do watch, I hand-pick on line and go to the movies every now and then (mostly for the popcorn though, as that can somehow never be duplicated at home).

    However, I must admit that I have recently “come across” something even more “dastardly” and “insidious” than TV … and how I “came across” your wonderful site :)

    Cheers!
    Lyle
    Newly-minted “Stumble Upon-aholic”! :)

  • Great experiment. With the exception of a couple of months in 2000, I tossed my tv (subscriptions) 15 years ago and have never really regretted it.

    I still have a tv, although it’s only hooked to a dvd player, and I seldom use that any more. Now my biggest “couch potato” temptation is Netflix…and that’s bad enough.

    My reason for tossing tv was simply that I allowed it to suck too much time out of my life. I still don’t have enough time; I can’t imagine how bad it would be with television.

  • Sounds like you had a really refreshing, productive, and interactive week. Any plans to implement this longterm?

  • How about a life without a tv. Not a week, month, or just a year. I have been 100% TV free for five years now. Although I constantly get made fun of for being out of the pop culture loop I have rediscovered my own innate instincts that TV dulls and could have eventually killed. I know what matters in life. TV isn’t one of them.

  • Here’s an hour of TV:

    http://www.johnnygoodyear.com/Goodyear/The%20American%20Alphabet/MidnightWithAHandgun.htm

  • My husband and I never watch anything on the TV. We watch all of our favorites online…no commercials…more time for other things. I wouldn’t ban myself from watching dramas or comedies, those are stories that are meant to be enjoyed.

  • I suppose that for a high school student, television is more a necessity than just a box of mindless entertainment. I watch a variety of shows so that there will always be something to talk about with classmates that sit around me. It’s important to have a bond with these kids, even if it’s something as simple and small as a buddy to chat about the latest episode of Heroes with. Then, when the teacher assigns a group or partner project, there will be somebody to turn to that you can already communicate easily with.
    In a school were group work is emphasized and teachers are asked to be less involved, it’s really important to fit in socially with the other students. And television opens up a nice little path of communication.

  • So, if being TV-free was so wonderful, why did you go back to it?

    My DH and I have been TV-free for about a year now. Haven’t missed a THING! We’ll never go back.

    Why don’t you try it - then you WILL find out what all you really have time for.

  • Wow, that sure are lot of benefits that you found. One of the best one for me was getting great sound sleep.

  • What a Coincidence!!!

    I average 30min-1hr watching TV a day because it is in my schedule to watch only a certain program. On sunday night I scheduled and made plans that I’m not going to watch TV for a whole week and then review my progress.

    It was good to read this post giving me more confidence and motivation knowing someone else had the same plans :)

  • I watch some television, although right now there’s no show that I absolutely love and can’t miss. You just have to make sure that when you do watch television it’s because you’re enjoying it instead of just vegging out mindlessly watching some show you don’t care about or a repeat. That´s a good point about scanning the CNN website for news instead of watching CNN on TV, I think I’ll copy that from you.

  • Your list is inspiring. I don’t watch much TV, but I imagine I could get a heck of a lot more done if had a computer-free week!

  • I think that I can live up to the challenge of a week without tv so long as I get to keep my music :-p

    I don’t doubt that I could increase my productivity throughout the day if I cut out my tv time (granted I don’t watch a lot of tv but it would help nonetheless).

  • Sorry for the delayed response all… yesterday was a busy day for me.

    @Tim Brownson: LOL. Angel had more trouble with our TV free week than I did. She admittedly missed watching her two favorite shows (which she only watches once a week). Football season would be tough for me as well. That why we are cutting back on our future TV viewing time, but not completely eliminating it.

    @Robert A. Henru: We did them all. With no TV, we had lots of free time. PS: loved your blog.

    @Frugal Dad: Agreed. Most people don’t realize how much time they waste. It’s sad.

    @Zendad: Agreed. Most TV programs are subpar entertainment.

    @Mary Frances: We have made a commitment to reduce our television viewing to 4 hours a week. We’re going to give this a try and see how it goes.

    @Ari: That’s our intention going forward. Reduce our viewing to only those programs we really want to watch.

    @Janelle: Try it. It’s an amazing experience.

    @adriane: Yeah, I don’t think watching a quality DVD or downloaded movie counts toward television viewing time. That’s why we rented one last week. Thanks for the comment.

    @Zachy: Thanks for the kind words. We are intense. ;-)

    @Leif: See my comment two comments up.

    @2 Niner: Thanks for the comment. The blogosphere can be equally addicting.

    @Julia: If you cancel Netflix you’ll be in the butter zone. ;-)

    @erica: We will be reducing our TV viewing time to 4 hours a week going forward.

    @Kristy: That is our goal going forward… but we are firm believers in taking one bite of the elephant at a time.

    @Kelly: I think that’s the key… watch only those shows you really like and eliminate the fluff.

    @Leamoney: At a young age I can see how television programs tie deeply into social conversation. However, if you and your buddies all got involved in something else together (sports, volunteering, etc.), it would reduce the impact of television as a source of conversational topics.

    @GHDarkness: Agreed. We are taking one step at a time.

    @Avani: Thanks for the insightful addition. I’m not sure how I missed that one. ;-)

    @Breian: Thanks for the kind words. Good luck on your TV free week.

    @Marelisa: Yeah, I was amazed at how much less time it took me to read my news online vs. watching it on TV.

    @Sara: LOL. Yeah… a computer free week would be impossible for me.

    @Ribeezie: Give it a try. You’ll have a lot more time to enjoy your music.

  • Better get that week in before the 8th when the Olympics start. I think they are going to have 10,000 hours of coverage or some huge figure like that!

  • I’m with lief, how does #38 work in a TV free week?

  • I stopped watching TV a long time ago, nothing interesting there that I can’t get better/more/easier elsewhere, but I think TV and PC can come fairly close in that regard. I’m pretty sure I’d be looking at a damned big list of things I did when not on the computer, although I’m equally sure I’d be reading lots of books instead!

  • I also suggest making a list of things to do…they don’t have to be chores, just things to do. I don’t watch much TV at all but I’m an internet potato, not a couch potato.

  • it’s me your tv. i can change. what did i do? was it something i said? ill use less power. i can be more informative and entertaining. just give me a chance….don’t you love me?

    p.s - using your computer more doesn’t really qualify as a positive effect of no tv. how much time did you spend sitting on your computer looking up recipes, blogging, reading the news. its an alternative to tv and not a better one exactly.

  • #38 is referring to mindless tv. They chose one movie for the entire week and spent 2 hours watching it. I have done a 3 month TV break and it’s great. I would much rather post a blog or read articles at the InternetRetailer.com than watch anything on TV. If I have a choice over learning or sitting and watching TV I will choose to learn every time.

    I also work out 4 times a week and play tennis 3x a week. When you sit ain front of a computer for a living you have to find a way to be more active.

  • @Warren:

    @adriane: Yeah, I don’t think watching a quality DVD or downloaded movie counts toward television viewing time. That’s why we rented one last week. Thanks for the comment.

    […]

    @Leif: See my comment two comments up.

  • Same thing happened to me when I was without internet for 3 days. I felt incredible and I got so much stuff done. I almost decided that I didn’t need internet at all(but I do).

  • I like TV better than life. If I gave up TV for a week I would need to replace it with high cost therapy which never would work half as good.

    A week without TV isn’t for everyone. The only thing it would help me with is the electric bill and even that is less than $30 a month. I usually have Sci-fi on all day, a DVD on in the early evening and prime time stuff at night. Multi-tasking is a good talent. I do everything I need to do (which includes making homemade meals every single night, listen to a couple of hours of music a day and reading 4 books a week) and watch a ton of TV at the same time. The distraction from real life is needed for a lot of people. The only people I can stand outside of my family are those whom I have met because of TV shows. And without TV I would have little to talk to my husband about. I have no care to hear about his job and he has no care to talk about it. Everyone I know can get daily stuff done and watch a lot of TV, even the bad multi-taskers. I mean, if it works for you, good for you, you found your thing. But realize it would not work well for a lot of people.

  • well, when you first move to a unfriendly city where people don’t welcome you or want to be your friend.
    The TV is a necessity !!! I don’t have friends to hang out with!

  • I stopped watching tv regularly about 4 years ago or more. My life didn’t completely change and I still don’t have enough time in a day. I didn’t really make a concious decision to do so. I just lost interest. Same thing happened with video games, especially RPG’s. Luckily, it happened before WOW and such because I could see my younger Sega Genesis playing self totally addicted to it. RPG’s like TV is just the same thing redone over and over again. Steal a car, deliver the goods, save money, buy super-pants with more drug storage compartments. Big brother, Survivor, American Idol…

    It’s amazing I don’t watch the stuff, but I can still name off the shows.

    “Throw away your Television” -Red Hot Chili Peppers

  • Ok… how much tv WERE you watching? Like 6 hours a day? I watch maybe an hour or two a day.. and couldn’t get that much done in a week by shutting off the TV.

  • […] This post got me thinking about the things that I could do if I didn’t have a tv in the house to distract me. (Or if I turned the tv off.) And it’s timely because I’ve been debating whether I should get cable when I move into my studio next month. As it is, I really don’t watch much tv during the week anyway, but it was interesting to consider what I could do instead. (Right now I just stay late at work, and that’s not exactly a healthy alternative.) […]

  • Now just imagine what ten years of no tv does for you!

    I smashed the damn thing to bits in 1998, and have never looked back. Sure, I’ll get my Firefly from Netflix and catch a little McHale’s Navy on Hulu, but no commercial television.

    Every time I see it in a restaurant, or the bank (!WTF!?) I’m offended to my core.

    All the good research shows that multitasking is a joke, more like multifailing. Having the tv on all day is like sucking on a pacifier, you’d just DIE without it.

    On tv, the NEXT BEST THING is always JUST AFTER THESE MESSAGES. The other shoe is PERPETUALLY about to drop, you the viewer are a UGLY FAILURE, but WE can CHANGE THAT for $19.95. Etc…

    It’s one-way communication, and that’s insane and ridiculous in 2008.

    Good for you for taking the break, and I can assure you the results will be even greater the longer you stick to it.

  • I stopped watching tv about 7 years ago, when I started college. There was only this bullsh*t on the tv. It was incredible. I just couldnt believe I watched all those programs. Now I sometimes watch interesting and somewhat educational programs on our public channels.
    Now I just read a bit, try to write a small novel in my back yard.

    What you should actually do, don’t watch TV for a week, and don’t touch the computer for a week, after work hours.

    (ps pls tell me what movie you rented, i’m a bit curious
    ps2. Im happy that you have had some real and better conversations with your wife/girlfriend)

    Btw, I agree with Coleman, it’s amazing about the names of the shows.It really is, it’s more thanks to your friends or co-workers you can name the shows. :D

  • I haven’t had a working television in the house for over four years. It’s been very wonderful.
    I feel more alive in general, I’ve developed skills like cooking and writing and have spent a lot more time talking to my family. I don’t miss it one tiny bit: if I do feel the need to watch something, I can always get it from a variety of places on the Net.
    I’ve also become a lot more aware of advertising and the effects it has on individual thinking. It’s not pretty at all….those perfect people on the TV do not exist, and sometimes it takes turning the TV off to realize that.
    Great post. ;)

  • OMG dont tell my teenage kid that. No TV for a week? he’d kill himself! I always say if he ever gets lost, just put a TV out front and leave it on, he’ll find us! LOL

    JT
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  • My girlfriend and I moved in together last September and we both agreed to only subscribe to cable internet foregoing the television option.

    It’s been almost a year and we love it. Television sucks! I used to spend hours flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch.

    Old media is dead. Long live content on-demand.

    During lunch we both watch shows on YouTube. When WE want. Not when the TV station decides to show it.

    Twice a month we rent a movie or go see one in theatres. Done deal.

  • Counting Crows? Seriously?

  • I totally disagree. I am watching TV everyday and have enough time for everything. I enjoy it and I think this idea to stop watching TV is absurd.
    Here is my personal opinion:
    First of all TV is a great source of information and not only: news, ideas, opinions, emotions, analytical information.
    Second: I can watch TV and doing something at the same time
    Third: This is a kind of relaxation for me… it could’ve made me crazy to spend time in silence.
    The last and the most important: I enjoy watching TV
    I would advise the author to organize his schedule more effectively instead of stopping watching TV.
    If to follow this idea, you can also stop reading newspapers, stop listening to music, browsing the Internet and so on.
    But actually it’s up to you. If you don’t like it then don’t watch it.

  • I don’t watch a lot of broadcast TV, and most of the shows I watch now are from torrents. This has been going on for about a year now, and there’s one other thing I’ve noticed that you missed on your list.
    With less exposure to commercials, there’s less desire to go out and buy products you really don’t need.
    From October to June this year, because our household spending went down so much due to lack of exposure to commercial advertising (household =2 adults and 3 children) we managed to pay back 7000 additional against our debts.
    That’s a huge argument to not watch commercials….

  • Do people really still rent their movies at blockbuster? So 90’s.

  • I don’t watch much TV, but you’ve inspired me to try this with the Internet. I’d certainly get a lot more done.

  • […] inspiration brought to you by Marc and Angel Hack Life - although I’m nowhere near giving up television for a full week.) Filed under Goals […]

  • Woah .. how much TV did you watch!? But in all seriousness, I completely agree, not having a TV around is great, despite it not being by choice in my case (living in student housing at the moment). It’s great to see someone highlight the reasons to NOT WATCH TV!

  • no one important
    July 30th, 2008 at 4:45 am

    That doesn’t really make any sense. You can only do perfectly normal, everyday things if you don’t watch T.V.? You don’t need to “give up” T.V., just watch in moderation.

  • I’ve been avoiding TV for the last 7 years or so and it was the best decission i took in my entire life :)

  • I dumped my tv about 3 years ago, mainly because of the low quality of UK tv, and also the ridiculous licence charges (£139.50/$280 per year).

    I was amazed at how i never actually missed it. I do have a large projector screen, so just use that for watching movies.

    One thing i noticed, when at friends houses is; if 4 or 5 ppl are sitting in a room talking, and someone turns on the tv, all of a sudden the conversation dies as everyone watches the ‘little magic box’ in the corner. While i do agree, some t.v can be educational, most of it is drivel, UK soap operas being a case in point, and also the mindnumbing BigBrother TV series

  • After reading this article, I’ve decided to try it. I’m so annoyed with TV. Advertising on Canadian television is so intolerably obnoxious. The jingles make me want to rip out what little hair I have left. I now mute the set during commercials.

    Not sure if I want to give up the ball games though.

  • […] For example, if you want to know what kind of TV I watch, just ask! (I love Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and I’m a reality TV series junkie - did you see that an Extreme Home Makeover house is going into foreclosure?) Funny that I write about TV, just after Marc and Angel detailed the 40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week! […]

  • Awesome! I lived without a television for about a year and a half when I was in my mid-twenties. It was great. I still had a laptop, so I was able to keep up with news and blogs and music and everything. Like you said, I found myself with a lot more time to do productive things that actually make me feel good like calling friends or writing or organizing stuff. I’m trying to convince my husband to turn off the tv more often.

  • […] Here’s a great little comment on one of my favorite topics — the benefits of living without TV. […]

  • I actually don`t watch TV these days. My husband and kids do, but I`m too busy with other stuff. I was also raised without a television, so I think that helps.

  • I have really been working on limiting my television viewing (even though I don’t watch that much). I always find that I am more fulfilled from not watching.

    Now I’ve got to work on getting my kids to watch less. We just came back from a vacation, and one of the wonderful things was that we were at a remote location for several days - without tv, cell phones, computers, electronics of any sort - and it was refreshing to just spend time together. Laughing. Playing. Getting to know each other better.

    Wonderful article!

  • […] is Finished? @ iMindshift by Steve Chandler Don’t Be A Self Righteous Frugalist @ Frugal Dad 40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week @ Marc and Angel Hack Life Extra Income Guide @ Moolanomy Cashbaq $5 Signup Bonus @ My Dollar Plan […]

  • […] by Example    40 Positive Effects of a TV Free WeekThe 35 Greatest Speeches in […]

  • I know I’m not in the norm, but we don’t watch TV at all in our house. I love it. When I visit friends who have TV blaring in the background during a conversation, and they’re kids are glued to the screen, I remember why I don’t have TV. I absolutely HATE HATE HATE commercials! I do a lot of home cooking on an almost daily basis, post daily on my blog and craft so much that my kitchen table has paint stains, chip marks and little round circles from the hammer and tiny paper rivets I’m always using. It’s perfect, except when I spend hours at my computer surfing and not actually “doing” anything. The computer has become my TV.

  • […] 40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week.  I’m convinced our lives would be a little better if we unplugged from the television more often.  We scaled back from the 100+ channel digital cable, to expanded cable, to a basic cable package with ten channels.  We couldn’t be happier! […]

  • You could have done all that and still watched
    The Wright Place TV Show!

    (sorry, it was too easy, I couldnt resist)

    Dr. Wright
    http://www.wrightplacetv.com

  • My wife and I have cut out most television recently and have found our house runs more smoothly.

    My favorite effect of is that we spend Sunday evenings planning our meals for the week to come. We start with something simple: Monday - Beef. Tuesday - Chicken and then I dig through our cookbooks and decide on a new recipe for the main ingredient. I have recently made 30 minute mini-meatloaves, chicken masala, no bean all beef chili. For dessert I have been doing a tastes of summer ice cream bonanza. The Blueberry Cheesecake is a particular favorite.

    It has been amazing the amount of time we have recovered from such a simple change.

  • No TV for years - over 2 decades anyway. And look at all the $$ I save on cable :) Can only get one fuzzy channel on rabbit ears…sometimes….so why bother. Don’t miss it.
    Get the news I am interested in on the internet, with alerts for severe weather problems. Get the weather on the internet once a day also.

    What I really enjoy is when the grandkids are over, we talk, read, play games, cards, sew, garden, bake, and have time for quality sharing activities together! They love the personal one on one time we have together.
    Nice! Enjoyable! Time for quality pleasures!

  • Big Counting Crows fan myself. What are the two bands you came across?

  • Hello all:

    New here, but I love this topic and wanted to comment. Instead of a long post, please read what I have to say on my website. This link takes you directly to the page that is pertinent to the discussion.

    http://www.frugal-living-freedom.com/TV-addiction.html

    What once was a source of entertainment has now become an addiction, a friend to many, but a source of problems as well.

    My additions to the list of benefits of a TV free life are my favorites:

    - I don’t know what to be afraid of.
    - I now have opinions of my own.
    - I now have few needs instead of many wants.

    I haven’t watched TV for 10 years, and most people who are spellbound by TV often ask where my TV is when they walk into the house. You won’t find one anywhere on the main level. I have one in the basement, and it only serves as a place for movies.

    There is so much life to live. We should be doing it instead of watching others in a world of make-believe. It is all a choice, but sometimes some of us need to be reminded that we do have a choice.

    It is a shame that the people in America that are the highest paid, most popular, most often in the lime light, and most influential are those that do the same thing for a living - they pretend.

    Surround yourself with real people that you care for and care for you, and your quality of life will take a giant leap ahead because of the added value. No amount of television can do that.

    Good fortune to all.

    Clair

  • I went through a “no-TV” phase for several years, but after I discovered several new shows I liked (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the X-Files, ER, and Friends) I went to the other extreme. TV isn’t all bad. There are quality shows on but most of them are on network television and PBS. I have never bothered to have cable.

  • […] 40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week For me, the biggest change was simply going to bed when I got tired instead of lounging in front of the television in a sleepy stupor. It added a lot of energy to my days. (@ marc and angel hack life) Related Posts Slowing Down, or Starting on My DreamsA Quick Note About The Book Club Reading of What Color Is Your ParachuteThe Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Post-Super Bowl EditionThe Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Final Planning EditionThe Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Transfer Tuesday Edition Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at The Simple Dollar in your email inbox each morning by entering your email address below. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time. Report an unethical ad No comments yet. Be the first. Leave a reply […]

  • Wow, this is something that I never really considered doing. I don’t know if i can go a whole week, but I will try it out in smaller increments.

  • Congrats on your t.v. free week! My wife and I have not had a t.v. since we got married last July (2007) and we have found it to be very rewarding. We get all of the news and information that we need from the internet, including streamed video from the Olympics. I can’t even begin to imagine the time we have saved over the last year by not watching t.v. because you always tell yourself that you’ll only watch one show, but you end up watching three. I encourage you both to take the next step and sell your t.v. on ebay, it’ll change your life.

  • you did all that in one week??

    this is something i would like to try; i admit i’m hooked on turning on the TV from about 7 to 10 each night, even if there’s nothing good on. It’s my form of “relaxation,” but the thought of how many other more productive things i could be doing intrigues me. Maybe i’ll give it a shot before the new programming starts up this fall!

  • I have been watching less and less television lately, for many of the reasons you list above . Also, the content of most of the shows and commercials is disgusting to me. I don’t want my head filled with it.
    My husband, on the other hand, loves the TV. We have tried a tv-free period of time, but he really resists it. Nothing I do or say makes him want to give it up! I wouldn’t care otherwise, but since we have a small apartment, when he watches I have no choice but to watch or go be alone in the bedroom. Lame.
    Any tips for helping him see the life outside of TV?

  • OMG! I’m stunned. That result seems to be all the way on one end of the spectrum of possibilities.
    How much TV do you watch that you were able to do *all* these other things?! Was there a bit more organization in your lives that week as well?

    At any rate, I’m impressed. I don’t have any shows I watch right now, but come fall (or whenever) Dollhouse is on my list. Or on the web, Dr. Horrible. I vote for thoughtful TV choices, not mindless watching. I used to think that TV was great for relaxing, then realized it simply served as suspended animation: I didn’t have to think or perform for that set period of time. It tends to be more numbing than anything else. For myself, going for a run or walk, using my muscles is much more relaxing.

    Cheers.

  • My TV lives in the corner of the living-room, and is covered with a nice embroidered cloth that is very pleasant to look at. That way the cloth is more like an inspirational piece of art work, and it keeps the TV from calling out my name or calling me to it. I look at the art work instead of the TV.

  • I thought this was an interesting article relating to people who don’t watch tv. It seems like they enjoy more social activies than tv watchers.

  • […] 40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week […]

  • I did It. Two hours ago I called and cut off the Dish. I have always wanted to, but convinced myself I could just turn the TV off whenever I want. There is a powerful energy at work and despite always multitasking around it, The Noise!

    I discussed it with my husband who watches a lot more than me this morning. He said “whenever you want to cancel is fine with me” like I’m the one with the problem. Later, I told him I was going to call and he sheepishly said “Wait, I’m scared!”

    After he left for work I did it. Hopefully he can survive. I know life will improve a lot. I wonder how it will manifest?

  • Did your dreams improve? Mine did, without the nightly dose of soundbites and ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ news programs. I’ve been without the Tube for 3 years now. Don’t miss it a bit! G.

  • Good for you. I wish I could get my family to do this. I would much rather be doing something else.

  • Hear hear! No cable in our house. No TV during weekdays. Carefully limited viewing on weekends, with time limits. Summary: TV is crap.

  • Inspiring Post! I’m 23 and have never owned a TV. I grew up with a total viewing time of perhaps 40 hrs of television over a 20 year period. I recommend it for any new parents wondering how they should control their kids viewing habits. Life is much richer without the tube!

  • […] your resolve here.  There are numerous excuses for why you need the extra channels, but none of them hold water.  Call today and have the cable or satellite company cut off or at least significantly reduce […]

  • From an intellectual, and self-development, point of view TV is not inherently bad. Check out this article I wrote about the issue. It defends TV and discusses net neutrality

    http://philosophy-explained.com/?p=78

    In Defense of Television and Net Neutrality

  • I’m not a big fan of TV, I do not have cable, and I much prefer reading aloud as a family than watching most anything on TV. But what about PBS? I not only love the Bill Moyers Journal and NOW, I think they add something to my life. And what about the Olympics? I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and seeing symphonies, operas, exotic animals, and places far and near on the television was both educational and eye-opening. TV is not all bad! It’s about moderation, just like everything else.

  • Frank Martin DiMeglio
    January 3rd, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Television is far worse for us than we have been led to believe. The below newly published article clearly explains why television is both an extended form of dream vision and an hallucination. It is most concerning and highly original. It does an excellent job of explaining what television is.
    Also note that hallucinations involve different (and relatively unique) images. See
    http://radicalacademy.com/studentrefphilfmd11.htm
    We need legislative advocacy regarding television NOW.

  • There are a lot of suggestions by people here that television is an inherently bad entity which is simply not the case, an inanimate object cannot be good or bad, the way it is used by people is the problem which needs to be addressed instead. Otherwise using the same logic you can legitimise banning all entertainment mediums, especially the internet.

    Television may continually produce banal and trite programming aimed at a barely literate and passive demographic but other products of a similar effect are in wide circulation, gossip magasines, tabliod newspapers, radio, internet content… etc. However television, as with other mediums, equally enables you to see live news coverage, live sports coverage, liscenced comedy and film and intelligent debate rather than the petty squabbling found on the internet.

    If someone turned to me and said “I waste too much time reading newspapers and writing pointless blog entries every day” The answer would be to maybe to skip irrelevant articles in the paper and only make blogs with some kind of point to them. The answer isn’t to just stop reading newspapers and stop blogging, it’s just to be more productive when addressing both.

    If you use television in the same way as you use any other resource then it can be highly beneficial; I frequently am able to watch good films for free without either having to stream or download a poor quality version online or pay to rent a movie. It’s also handy to have the news on in the background while i’m catching up with my emails.
    I also despise shows like Big Brother and the assortment of mind numbing content usually pumped out, but to use an analogy, i’m not going to throw away the whole box of chocolates just because there are only 2 good ones. I might give some of the others to freinds, or have some of the more bitter ones after a night of heavy drinking when they seem more appealing.

    To write off a medium completely simply because you routinely misuse it not only reflects badly on your ability to organise yourself but also a certain immaturity when in dealing with problems.

    Discuss.

  • This Tv-free week sounds awesome, and since you guys got time to do all of that stuff, I can imagine how much time Tv steals from me..
    I’m gonna try this Tv-free week next monday, and I can’t wait to see how much I get to finish!

  • I am reading through this and various other articles like this because I am planning to shut off my tv and internet connection from may 1 2009 to october 1 2009 for the first time ever. I’m a 36 yr old mom with a hubby and 2 kids ages 12 and 11. We live in atlantic Canada. We are all addicted to tv, internet, pc, console and handheld games. It’s affecting our health and happiness as a family. We have slunk into a technology induced haze of drugery and overeating, laziness and fatigue. My house is never clean and we never go anywheres or do anything. I cannot live like this any longer. For the first time in my life I am going to seize control of a bad situation and do something about it. The only thing I am thinking of allowing is downloading the camera onto the pc and the handheld games during long car rides. I am going to start a journal and write down our experiences during this time and I would like to publish them to a blog or something when I reconnect everything next october when the weather starts to turn again and we are forced back indoors. I feel excited about my plan :)

  • Growing up, my family hardly ever watched tv. Now that I’m 21, I really don’t care for it at all… the only thing that brought cable into my home was my ex boyfriend, and i’ve been without it again almost a year… I really don’t miss it at all. At the end of along day, I’ll sometimes put a good movie on, but not having cable makes the days seem so much more high quality. Thanks to whoever wrote this post :)

  • Speaking about TV…

    According to Entertainment Industry Market Statistics (2007), the average American spent 1,962 hours ( 81 day) watching TV in 2007.

    I grew up with various influences that shaped my behaviors. School, peers, teachers, parents, and society along with media left the crucial imprint on me. In the end, I seem to be the final product of all those influences combined together. This process is ongoing; it continuously keeps shaping me. I already knew how to live “that” life; therefore, I decided to make some changes. I started with TV.

    In 2001, I recycled my TV. Yes, folks. I have not being watching TV for 7 years. Occasionally, I do go to movie theater. I had a “TV withdrawal” for about 2 month. I could not discuss any TV shows with my co-workers since I stopped watching them. Most of the conversations were based on TV programs. I had to learn to talk about different subjects. That gradually changed my social circle as well.

  • T.V. is encroaching on our personal lives and making us slaves to marketing and needless products. Human relationships are being disrupted. The more time we spend before the idiot box the more frustrating life becomes.

    A thought provoking article. You deserve my heart felt appreciation.

  • Frank Martin DiMeglio
    May 15th, 2009 at 1:20 am

    TV is an unnatural extension of dream vision AS waking vision, and it is an hallucination. TV causes emotional detachment, disintegration, contraction, and loss. Autism involves a disintegration and contraction of being and experience (including consciousness). This is what TV does and is. I have proven (in detail and with specifics) that television is an extended form of the dream (in sight and sound). Television is an unnatural creation of generalized thought. See: Television is an Hallucination
    http://radicalacademy.com/studentrefphilfmd11.htm
    I have been on the radio three times recently talking about this.
    The overeating during TV is because of this experience of the dream while waking. Bodily feeling/sensation is reduced during TV (as is the case of the dream), so the feeling of fullness is reduced/lacking. Dr. Joyce Starr agrees with this as well.
    Frank Martin DiMeglio (author)
    My recently published article (above) is also listed first at the website called Arguments Against TV.
    Legislative advocacy is needed NOW.
    The article does an excellent job of explaining what TV is.
    Google hallucinations, and see what they are associated with. Autism is known to involve sensory processing disorders.
    I have taken the argument against TV to an entirely new level.

  • I really dislike these arguments against television on the basis that it is somehow a dumbed-down form of entertainment, causes anti-social effects, is generally a bad influence and so on. It’s been turned into a medium synonymous with lazy mindlessness.

    This has nothing to do with television at all and everything to do with the content. The medium of television is not in any way negative. Far from it, it is one of the greatest technical achievements of the 20th century. Television cameras have proven a very robust instrument and have been lowered to the bottom of the sea or sent into orbit to give humans views of things they would not be able to see with their own eyes.

    As for television as a media delivery system to the home, I personally can remember in my early childhood seeing the Berlin wall fall and viewing it with as much surprise as the anchor person, because it was a live broadcast. Few of us could forget the impact of 9/11 and while it was a horrible event I’m glad that I bared witness to that terrible day in history.

    Television has shown us men walking on the moon and allowed people to see the speeches of their president instead of just reading transcripts in the newspaper. Television has brought home the horrors of war from the front line and given us all a chance to sit in on historic events from our living rooms.

    Without television films of all kinds would not be accessible, as you would need to own a projector and actually get the film reals to view them. Thus without television, the cultural heritage of humanity that has been captured on film - everything from the Hindenburg exploding to the Zapruder film to Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind would be left alone in the film vaults with no way of delivering them to the public except theaters.

    Don’t say “it could be seen on the internet” because multimedia and indeed the very way we interact with computers via video displays are a direct descendant of television. The cathode ray tube, the videtron and later the CCD formed the basis for raster graphic generation that lead to the digital camera, digital video and eventually to multimedia in general.

    Even our communication systems, from satellite transmission to microwave relay have largely been due to the bandwidth requirements of television and the development of television modulation methods.

    Without television there could be no information age as we know it and interaction with computers would be limited to teleprinters.

  • Ha, ha :)
    I haven’t been watching TV for almost 5 years now..
    Too bad i have a job taking so much time away, so I don’t get to do all those stuff you’ve listed.

  • Go one week without technology, I guarantee your list will have more positive effects but I can’t really say that TV doesn’t have positive effects. I know people say how mindless some shows are but some are great. It mirrors life, no matter how people perceive television, it comes from the experiences of real people, made up by writers, but none the less. I watch TV regularly and it serves as my past time, it energizes me when I need to be inspired, it relaxes me when I am stressed.

  • Wow, excellent post…It is so easy to just turn on the television.

    I am slowly weening the addiction for mindless TV at night after the stress of running our company.

    I am down to 1 hour per night. I am addicted to Two and a Half men.

  • Wow. Good for you. I cannot be without the tv. It’s on from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. Even if I’m not watching it, cause I’m on the computer, I’m still listening to it =)

  • If you think a week is good. You should try a whole summer. The family and I agreed to a grand experiment. No cable for the whole summer. So far, so good — and I agree there’s been so much more time for so many more things…

  • I think you’ve also got to focus on the “Positive effects of a computer free week.”

  • It does seem like you accomplished a lot during your elimination of TV for just a single week but it seems like you actually spent more money doing all these things rather than simply watching TV. Good job though! :P

  • I have finally unhooked the tv needle from my arm… lol. I watch very little tv and most of the time I dvr it, this way I can fast forward thru the commercials to save time watching.

  • I consider television to be a left-over relic from the 1980’s . I don’t even have a TV at my apartment, and the only times I watched TV in the past few years was at the gym.

    There simply isn’t anything worth watching on TV.
    We also have much better alternatives on the Internet.

    Seriously, I don’t even understand why they keep producing new shows - because after decades of TV, we have clearly exhausted its potential for storytelling. When was the last time you saw anything really NEW on a TV show?

  • Try going without it completely. When the digital switch occurred, we elected to not make the switch. We have been TV free ever since and I mean FREE. Nothing negative about being without TV. More time to do everything you want and need to do without all the negativity being pumped into our home. Highly recommend it! Everyone always asks about the news. If you WANT to check up on the news you can do it on the internet or your phone. Most news on TV isn’t really news anyway. If something happens that I really need to know about, I’m sure I will hear it.

  • Today, while I was eating lunch, I watched 30 minutes of “news” on CNN. I used a stop watch to time the content vs. commercials. The result? 18 minutes of content, 12 minutes of commercials (40% commercials!) That was it for me. Took the box back to the cable company today and cancelled the service.

  • Such an interesting blog entry, Marc.
    Somehow it inspires me. :)
    Well, I don’t watch Tv, because I haven’t got one, hehe.
    But still don’t have time for lots of stuff.
    Maybe because I live on my own from age 16
    so I need to experience conversations trough PC a lot. So it’s hard to cut off Pc.
    Oh, i forgot what I wanted to say…anyway I’m thankfull for your blog - it really helps to live.

  • Thanks for sharing this article. Well done and good luck with your very great work. I wish you have a luxury time to consider using benefits articles can offer. good blogging. Regards

  • Wow, can’t believe this. The result is amazing. This is really an eye opener. This report tells me that i have to cut down the numbers of hours i spent watching Tv. I will channel those hours into developing myself personally.

    Great post. Thanks once again

  • So yeah,..
    No Tv for me since the super bowl January and I must say, the world outside of the internet( my weakness ) seems so new. I got a bunch of stuff done but my cheating factors are watching Hulu about 3 hours a week. Other than that, my tv can go with my playstation. There’s no way I can be productive in life by orthodox social programming, drama and comedy so that advertisers can spend their quarterly marketing budget and get their kid’s tuition in place. Helps make the world go ’round I suppose.

  • Thanks for this great article! It has been extremely insightful. I wish that you will continue sharing your knowledge with us.

  • Occasionally you don’t have any concept what you are currently looking for then pow, the solution is right in front of you. It’s alleviated my needs for the present time and i am away and off to a great nights sleep.

  • I just wrote a blog post on eliminating TV from meal times. http://goo.gl/Wg9o7 I didn’t hammer through any novels cover-to-cover like you guys, but it still made a HUGE difference in my day. Mostly by not getting trapped into it for a couple hours afterwards and helping me relax.

  • I love that your list is SO long! I found your blog by Googling life without TV. I am hoping to go a spend some significant time without it! Too many books are waiting to be read and too many goals are waiting to be conquered.

  • I did this, and it was great!!!

  • I go weeks at a time without watching tv. I find that it really helps me to get more done and lead a more fulfilling life.

  • This friday thought came to my mind to spent the week without watching TV to avoid stress and also, i am successful till now (days).

    I never knew there are people who are already doing this.

    Glad to read your experience.

    Greetings from India!!

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