Watch less TV

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It can be guaranteed that if you give up channel-surfing, you will watch less TV. It can be guaranteed that if you give up channel-surfing, you will watch less TV.
-*[[User:Mu5ti|Mu5ti]] reports that canceling one's cable TV subscription is particularly effective in freeing up one's time.+*[[User:Mu5ti|Mu5ti]] reports that canceling one's cable TV subscription is particularly effective in freeing up one's time. [[User:kaufmajm|kaufmajm]] agrees completely.
* If you're not willing to cancel your cable completely, start by subscribing to fewer channels, then use your remote's favorite channel (AKA skip channels) function to strike out channels that you don't watch very often. Gradually you will get down to a few favorite channels. Sometimes there will be nothing you want to watch on any of them. * If you're not willing to cancel your cable completely, start by subscribing to fewer channels, then use your remote's favorite channel (AKA skip channels) function to strike out channels that you don't watch very often. Gradually you will get down to a few favorite channels. Sometimes there will be nothing you want to watch on any of them.
*[[User:Sakurina|Sakurina]] reports that losing your remote is also effective. *[[User:Sakurina|Sakurina]] reports that losing your remote is also effective.

Revision as of 05:26, 24 May 2005

This is a page about making more time by watching less TV (or reading blogs less)

Here is the basic less-blogging-hack:

  1. First, give up reading comments on blogs.
  2. If that doesn't free up enough time, stop reading the blogs themselves as well (and the wikis ;-) ).
  3. If you still need more time, try this TV hack/habit:
  • Never just turn on the TV and watch whatever is on.
  • Only ever turn it on if you have first looked at the TV Guide and specifically decided to watch a particular program.
  • When that program is over, turn the TV off. If your TV has sleep timer, set it for the length of the program.
  • If you still want to watch TV, consult the Guide again and choose a specific program.
  • If nothing grabs you, go do something else.

Remember: Nobody ever lay on their deathbed thinking "gee, I wish I had spent more time watching TV/reading blogs/at the office"

Contents

Watching less TV

It can be guaranteed that if you give up channel-surfing, you will watch less TV.

  • Mu5ti reports that canceling one's cable TV subscription is particularly effective in freeing up one's time. kaufmajm agrees completely.
  • If you're not willing to cancel your cable completely, start by subscribing to fewer channels, then use your remote's favorite channel (AKA skip channels) function to strike out channels that you don't watch very often. Gradually you will get down to a few favorite channels. Sometimes there will be nothing you want to watch on any of them.
  • Sakurina reports that losing your remote is also effective.
  • Just smash it! It's Fun!

Another solution is, whenever you decide to watch TV, get out the ironing board and iron for that half-hour or hour. Then when the program is over, stop both watching and ironing.

Of course, an even more extreme solution is to get rid of your TV altogether. If this is too extreme for you, Tallus suggests you store it in a cupboard or someplace else where you have to go through the physical effort of getting it out and setting it up. That way it stops becoming the default, easy/lazy option.

Programming your shows using TiVO or BitTorrent can help optimise the time you do spend watching TV. However, as Jeni pointed out, this will also give you another queue that must be cleaned out. It's nice to be able to watch TV on your schedule, but it can also be frustrating to see shows stack up and feel like you have to watch them. The whole idea is to free up time to do other things, not schedule even more time for TV-watching. If you want to get more stuff done other than watch TV, then don't treat TV like a commitment you've made (eg by setting up a TiVo backlog).

Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (author of Flow) have argued that TV watching is actually addictive. (Television Addiction Is No Mere Metaphor, Scientific American, Feb 23,2002) They argue that TV stimulates a pre flight or fight reaction through the use of movement on screen by use of scene changes, jump cuts changes in camera angles etc (known as technical events). This put the mind into a passive state where it is wating to see if it needs to engage the flight of fight reaction. Since nothing ever does happen and this reaction is stimulated over and over again we become locked in this passive state, unable to break free. This can also explain the pull TV has even if we are not trying to watch it and engaged in other activities such as conversation. In can be an interesting exerciser to try and count the number and frequency of technical events. One thing that is immediately apparent is that the frequency jumps during adverts (it also tends to be less at the cinema).

In order to counteract this it might be useful to devise strategies that rely on an external source to remind you to stop watching, such as setting an alarm, rather than trying to do it yourself, internally. The overstimulation of the pre flight or fight reaction makes decison making, and active thinking, very difficult. (I finally gave up TV all together after learning this. It makes for a plausible explanation for the times I sat down intending to watch only one program stil to find myself locked hours later) --Tallus 19:32, 24 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Cultivating other interests can help squeeze TV out of your day as well. What do you want more time for? Just start doing that more often, on a schedule if necessary. (I've never been able to "quit" anything. I'm a starter.) --Ookpik 14:43, 27 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. It's a good book about the evils of TV. Although it can be a bit pedantic at times, it convinced me to pay attention the hours of my life that I was losing with very little reward or benefit. Now, I watch about 2 hours of TV a week and spend much more time reading and doing volunteer work. --Knavedave 13:18, 29 Apr 2005 (EDT)

TV Placement

Televisions can often dominate a room, and transform a casual step into the living-room into a massive time-suck (if you live with others).

  • get the smallest TV you can comfortably watch. This works best if you a) aren't a sports fan or film geek, and b) can afford a projector--when its time to sit down and watch a movie or a game, dim the lights, turn on the projector and enjoy it--make it an event. There's no reason the nightly news needs to be huge.
  • always set the TV as close to the floor as possible. If it's on a high perch, it tends to dominate the room; if it's lower and closer to the ground, it has less of a presence.

Spending less time on blogs

Blogs are another technology that people end up spending time on because they feel like they have made a commitment to a so-called community. Often, time spent reading or posting to blogs starts to eat into time that could be spent with friends or family, time where work commitments should be met, or other things that you could be doing. If you are not ready to give up reading blogs completely, consider the following approaches to reducing your blogging time:

  • Stay away from comment threads with more than about 20-30 comments. The rest just won't be worth your time. After all, is it really fun to watch other blog readers pile onto the same sad troll?
  • Identify the blogs you spend the most time on, and pare them down to a select few.
  • If you have trouble restricting the range of blogs you read, try writing down a one-sentence explanation of why that blog is useful to you. If you can't think of one, stop reading that blog.
  • Don't check blogs multiple times a day if you know the author only updates once a day at most.
  • Schedule times that you will read blogs -- lunch hour or at home, for example, not at work. Ideally, only do this a few days a week, not every day.
  • Don't post comments on other people's blogs. They might make you feel invited to do so, but you have other commitments you have to meet first. --Elisha-B 08:43, 20 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Cut down on the time spent reading the ones you do read by using an RSS reader. Most commonly-used blogging software generates an RSS feed, as do many traditional news sites. This will help you catch up on new entries without being distracted by older entries and comments, and without spending time browsing each individual site. -- Kenn Christ 15:59, 20 Apr 2005 (EDT)
    • And then be sure to set your reader/aggregator to only check at a reasonable interval, say 1 hour or 4 hours or even once a day. Nothing the program gathers is likely to require your attention that often.
  • Use an aggregator to print the blog entries you want to read. When the time you've set aside to read blogs arrives (lunch, the end of the day on the train home, etc.), print each new entry. This prevents you from following links that aren't critical and wandering around the web aimlessly.

Related to this is avoiding forum threads. I've found that MacRumors, Slashdot and Ars Techinca's MacAchaia the worst. This was a huge time saver for me. --Tyler 20:11, 5 May 2005 (EDT)


Spending less time in Wikis

  • Don't read anything longer than a screen
  • Don't follow the links to other articles
  • Just read what you came in for the first place


Important note: Define what the time is for. There's nothing wrong with watching TV or reading blogs, as long as it doesn't become your obsession. If you set aside planned time for watching television or reading blogs, or you just need a break for an hour, that's perfectly fine. The important thing is to come back after that hour, don't just keep sitting there on the couch!

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