“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.
- Wrote 4 blog posts. – I usually only have time to write 2 articles a week.
- Made it to the gym 5 times. – I went Monday through Friday for about 45 minutes, hitting every major muscle group.
- Increased household communication. – TV kills the flow of household communication. We both noticed that we had a lot more time to talk.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Learned a few new skills. – I took my own advice and learned how to change the oil in my truck… pretty darn easy.
- Spent more time with friends and family. – We invited Angel’s sister and some friends over for a mid-week dinner party.
- Cleaned the house. – Something Angel and I habitually evade by watching TV instead.
- Learned new recipes and prepared 5 home cooked meals. – We cooked large portions so we could have leftovers for lunch every day.
- Spent more time enjoying simple pleasures. – Deep conversations, long walks, telling jokes, etc.
- 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.
- 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!
- Took 2 evening strolls around a local park. – We hadn’t been to this park in years… there’s only 1 reason why.
- 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.
- Burned more calories. – We were off the couch moving around.
- Backed-up critical files on both of our laptops. – Transferred them all over to our Iomega 500 GB external drive.
- I played my guitar. – …for the first time in a year. I’m hooked again!
- 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.
- Listened to more music. – In addition to finding new bands, I had more time to listen to my favorite music.
- We stargazed in our backyard. – …for the first time since Angel and I first started dating. It was blissful.
- 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.
- Handled basic household maintenance. – Replaced the AC filter, applied pest control spray, replaced fire alarm batteries, etc.
- 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.
- Finished up a little DIY project. – I’ve been stalling on staining, sanding and hanging a certain wooden shelf for nearly 6 months.
- 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.
- Played racquetball. – Great 2-person sport!
- Organized my monthly planner. – Entered all my known commitments into my planner and did a little time planning each night.
- Reviewed our long-term goals. – Angel and I had an open discussion last Tuesday night about our goals for the next 3 – 5 years.
- 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.
- Updated my resume. – It only took me 45 minutes.
- Quiet relaxation. – Instead of clicking on the TV, I spent some quiet time gathering my thoughts each day when I returned home from work.
- 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.
- 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.
- Exchanged back massages. – It sure beats canned laughter.
- There was more time for “quality time”. – You know… just me and her and some classical music in the background.
- More real life experiences. – Because we were off of the couch, actually doing something.
- Watched 1 quality movie. – Instead of watching whatever was on, we went to Blockbuster and selected 1 quality movie to rent.
- Ironed my clothes each weeknight before bedtime. – …since I had more free time in the evenings. It made my mornings less stressful.
- 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
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! 😛
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.
Ernie Stasulis says
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
Ireti @ Centre for Personal Development says
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
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.
Dusty Coaster says
Thanks for this great article! It has been extremely insightful. I wish that you will continue sharing your knowledge with us.
Lindsey Vaill says
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.
Rachit Aggarwal says
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!!