Using YouTube To Quit Television

Sometimes I can’t believe the amount of television people watch. I used to watch a fair bit, back when I had cable, and I still can’t understand what you can spend so much time watching.

Now I don’t even have the time to watch TV. To be honest, I don’t actually have a television anymore and haven’t sat in front of one in as long as I can remember. When it’s not there it’s very easy to live without. Believe me.

But for those who enjoy staying current and watching some of their favorites: I suggest YouTube. Ever heard of it?

It’s the only thing I come close to watching that’s like television – probably because most of it comes from TV. But it’s occurred to me what a great nicotine patch YouTube is for anyone who is trying to ween themselves off television.

There are several reasons why watching your shows on YouTube – or any other internet video streaming site, even from DVD – works to your benefit.

  • 1. You have a clear goal. I want to watch this and then I’m done. If you want to watch more, there is an amount of effort required and you’re more likely to do something else.
  • 2. No breaks. Ad breaks get you comfortable doing nothing, sitting looking at non-stimulating images waiting for your show to come back on. This perpetuates the activity of doing nothing.
  • 3. You watch when you want. Because you aren’t tuning in to watch a show at a particular time, you are able to schedule your viewing when it suits you – instead of the other way around.
  • The other reason is that, in the case of any internet-television, you are already at your computer and have the immediate option of doing something more productive. Even Digg or checking Lifehack.org will seem like a better idea!

    You can watch five minutes of ‘television’ in between work. Or give yourself half an hour to look up interesting things on YouTube on your break. The flexibility is there and you should use it. Especially if you’re finding yourself rushing home to catch an episode of Sex & The City. What a waste of effort!

    The Plan

    Find your favorite television shows on DVD or on the internet. Search them on YouTube or some ‘illegal’ video streaming site. Try watching the shows this way instead of on your television for a few weeks.

    At worst, you can now schedule your television viewing when you want instead of working around it. Watching what you want, when you want.

    The best thing that might happen is you realize how much time it can take away from you with no gain. The average person watches 4.5 hours of television every day, quotes SavingAdvice.

    To put it into perspective, if you watch an average of 31.5 hours of TV each week (which the average person in the US does) and you value your time at minimum wage of $5.85 an hour, you are spending nearly $800 a month ($798.53) to watch TV. That comes to nearly $10,000 ($9582.30) a year. I would imagine that most people reading this value their time well above minimum wage, so the cost is likely several times that number. When you look at it from that perspective, watching TV is an extremely expensive and financial draining habit to have.

    How Dumping TV Allowed Me to Quit My Job, Create an Online Business and Fund My Retirement Account – [SavingAdvice]

    What could you do with that time and money?

    Steve Pavlina experienced an interesting side-effect after giving up television for a period of time:

    I’m not exactly sure why, but I felt a compulsion to expand socially, which seemed to grow stronger the longer I went without TV. I just wanted to spend more time with real people, especially face-to-face. I started talking on the phone more, going to more social outings, and accepting more dinner/lunch invitations. I also accepted a couple new speaking engagements that I was previously hesitant to accept.

    8 Changes I Experienced After Giving Up TV – [StevePavlina]

    I can attest to this. There is no longer that crutch to fall back on when you want to do something away from your computer. The funny thing is, talking to people is waaaay more interesting than anything that comes up in a television drama or comedy. And this brings me to my next point.

    5 Things To Do That Are Like TV, But Aren’t

  • See a friend. Everyone has a story and their own trials and tribulations. These almost always rival anything that can be scripted. Your friends will appreciate your time and input.
  • See a show. Go out and see a band, play, exhibition etc. You get the same audio/visual stimulation but with a nice social aspect. You get to meet people who enjoy the same things as you without tagging or stumbling upon anything. Even a movie.
  • Talk to randoms. Even more like TV is going to a pub, for instance, and talking with some randoms. People you don’t know will share their stories if you allow them to. It takes a little more effort than TV or seeing a show, but the experience is always much more rewarding.
  • Go for walks. Wherever you live, there are things to look at. Lakes, street lamps, diners; they all have their own charm and beauty. It’s a much more subtle pleasure, but one that could result in something unexpected.
  • Listen to music. We’re usually listening to music while doing something else like work or going to work. But how about setting some time to just listen to a record and take it all in. I’ve learned a lot more from a few albums than I have from watching television.
  • Do you need it? Do you really want it? In the end, I just ask: Does it really matter what happens to Carrie Bradshaw?

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