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Weaning Yourself Off TV

Updated on March 13, 2013
Reality is here to be explored.
Reality is here to be explored. | Source

Too Much TV?

Now I'm not hear to say TV is all bad, but I do think some people spend too much time staring in front of a screen to the point where they miss out on being healthy and having a life (outside of their relationship with TV shows). Is this you? Maybe you want to change but think you can't give up your favorite shows? Let's examine this prevalence of TV in our lives and see if it's all that necessary.

Benefits of Watching TV

I betcha thought I was going to start off by listing all the reasons you should stop watching TV. No, and simply because TV is not all bad. There are good, entertaining programs on it and plenty of educational material to soak up. You can watch TV and be hip with all the cool shows, know all the cool news topics, connect with cool strangers, and generally be pop-culture savvy and cool. The problem comes when TV watching comes at the expense of other important activities; activities that would sum up to the completion of worthwhile goals you may hold (or may cross your mind every January 1st). If you're feeling a twinge of guilt right now, you know what I'm talking about...

Disadvantages of Watching TV

The truth is most of us have to work five days out of seven and most of us are thus short on time. We're so short on time we eat "TV dinners" and try to park close to the stores to have to walk less when we shop. While we live in a convenience culture that feeds this time-stolen lifestyle with quick-fixes and convenience store prices, the truth is most of us feel somewhat time-robbed. Watching TV decompresses us and feels like a stress relief. But TV also eats up our time and encourages us to purchase more than we'd maybe really want or need.


...Time that can be better spent accomplishing impressive and important noble efforts, like living on a budget (balancing our personal finances), getting adequate exercise, cooking natural and whole, healthy foods, visiting friends and family, and time that can be spent finding our real purpose in life.

My Example

I have lived without TV for over 8 years now. I don't miss it and while I enjoy movies, I found being away from TV has made me impatient with TV shows -- they just don't seem to end, and frankly the jokes are often stale. I get antsy when watching shows, get bored with exploitation reality shows, and I HATE commercials. Commercials I find manipulative, obnoxious, boring, and loud. Without TV and without commercials I live a very authentic life and do not buy needless items. I balance my budget every month (something that many people claim not to have time to do). Without TV I have found time for the following:

  • acting in plays and short films
  • crewing on short films
  • art and drawing
  • photography
  • taking classes on everything from getting a TESOL (Teach English to Students of Other Languages) certification to French
  • write on Hubpages
  • wrote a novel
  • part of a screenwriter's group
  • visits with nephews, family, and friends
  • run 5Ks
  • walk around my city
  • read books
  • volunteer for charities
  • travel (because I've saved up money with my nifty budget)

In short, I've been able to accomplish worthwhile goals that I've set for myself.

Tips to Quit TV

If you're ready to take that step to add more hours to your life and get your head out of the fog of TV life and back into the reality of REAL life, here are some tips to help you out:

  • Stop putting off things you've been meaning to do or try because you don't have the time. Want to learn guitar or another instrument? Want to take a class? Have you been meaning to spend more quality time with your children? Just turn off the flicker and get at it.
  • Make a list of all the fun things you'd do if you had more time.
  • Now make a list of all the necessary things you've been meaning to do when you have time (doing a monthly budget, cleaning, etc.)

If you would consider yourself very addicted to TV, it might help to record your very favorite shows for a while so you can pull yourself away from TV enough to savor the free hours you get by dropping TV. This way you can always go back to the shows if this "experiment" doesn't work. But you may find you're able to drop some shows and decide you want to keep other ones. Nothing wrong with that. It's your life and you get to create the quality of it. By ditching TV for a while you may just find you're able to improve the quality of your real life enough that you'll enjoy having those extra hours around.

Here's to happy living.


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    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      That's true, in addition to saving time, you also save money by not having cable. I never had cable either and always thought I wanted it. But now I'll do the same thing as you -- you can always buy the whole season and then you don't have commercials to wade through. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 4 years ago from Northern California

      Great! I never had cable when I was younger and felt left out when everyone would talk about MTV and Nick at Nite, lol. I had cable in college and afterward for a few years, but would really only watch the news and certain shows. Now I just read the news and buy the show seasons. And save money every month :)

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I love your Hub name. :) Yes, there was a time when I was hooked on TV too. I'm glad I've moved on to other things because I've realized I'd much rather be doing something pro-active rather than sitting and staring at so many commercials. Thank you for stopping by!

    • angryelf profile image

      angryelf 4 years ago from Tennessee

      I'm not hooked on TV any more. Used to watch it all the time, but now I rarely even watch newly released movies. The internet has a greater grasp on me; butttttt I'm doing something a bit better than staring at the TV. Usually writing! Like the rest of the community :)

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks bluebird, I appreciate your comment.

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 4 years ago

      The farther a person gets from TV, the closer they come to have a renewed and clearer mind not filled with all the wrong attitudes of today. I especially hate the way it influences people to laugh at the bad, and look down on the good.

      Good hub!

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I think there are a lot of good programs out there also but also a lot of stupid stuff most people will want to skip. At least your saving money and you've increased your free time. :) Thanks for the votes up.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      My family decided to give up Cable about year ago. It was a touch decision, but now I'm glad we did. We were wasting too much time watching the "idiot box". I'm happy now that I don't have to pay that money out to watch trash.

      Voted UP, etc.

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks chinared! I appreciate your stopping by to let me know I'm not alone. Hope you're enjoying your work and travels in China.

    • chinared profile image

      Just call me, Rick 4 years ago from Asia, and all over

      Good article, Carozy! Another way to rid this addictive habit is to stop cold turkey. Disconnect it!! I haven't watched TV for about 5 years. Any news I need is online. I completely agree with your example above: "... get bored with exploitation reality shows, and I HATE commercials. Commercials I find manipulative, obnoxious, boring, and loud." Well said. Gave thumbs up and interesting!!

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I think that would be true, although I wanted to concentrate this article on TV watching since it's relatively passive and the internet is more self-directed (except for changing TV station channels). Also, I find it easier to ignore ads on the internet than on TV. Thanks for commenting.

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 4 years ago from Philippines

      Have you done any research on the amount of time spent watching TV compare to internet surfing and social networking? Both waste time and resources, although I believe more people are addicted to the later. Your tips to quit TV is just as applicable to the internet.

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the vote up :) I have the same problem with books. Sometimes the best prescription is to take it with me on a walk to the park and (hopefully it's sunny enough) read it there. It's interesting how many people could do without TV. I think you get used to the extra time and your standards for what you like enough to sit through go up after a while. Thanks for commenting.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 years ago

      Don’t watch TV – Good for you! Give me a good book any day. I love the silence of sitting with a good book, petting the cat, and drinking a good glass of iced tea, but unfortunately, our racket box goes 18 hours a day, thanks to a man who can’t stand silence. I have about five shows that I like to watch, and we both enjoy the History and Science channels, as long as they aren’t chronicling ignorance, which they seem to do a lot of lately. We also wait for the new movies to come out on video and watch them on TV instead of blowing a bundle at the movies. Commercials don’t really influence us much since we both had careers in broadcasting and advertising. As for being addicted to reality shows, I have enough problems in life without playing voyeurism to other peoples’ fiascos. Now, my real problem is, can I just put that book down and go for a much-needed walk on such a beautiful day? Voted you up++

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks torrilyn! That's great you can recognize it. Hope this article helps.

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      What happened for me was I started doing plays and didn't have the time to watch my favorite shows with all the rehearsals and memorizing I was doing. But I didn't miss TV because I was having a blast! Now I find TV, particularly commercials, jarring and a huge time-suck. Glad to know I'm not alone. Thanks for stopping by.

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      peachpurple, I am the same way. There was a time I spent too much time flipping through the channels. But now I'm used to the TV being off and I don't miss it. Thanks for stopping by, good to know I'm not alone!

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago


      I agree that the best things are to take a step aside from t.v.

      I've been watching too much t.v. lately which has been making me

      extremely lazy. thanks for the tips

      Voted up.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      A year or so ago, I was a total couch potato. Then I moved and couldn't get cable. It amazes me how little I miss it, and you are right about finding the time to do more things. I won't miss The Walking Dead, but I can live without having the tv constantly on now.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      luckily i don't watch much tv. I go for evening walks, do household chores in the morning and log on to HP in the afternoon. I hardly watch any TV. No program to grab my attention.