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6 Alternatives to Paying for Cable

6 Alternatives to Paying for Cable

“Over 500 channels and nothing’s on.” How many times have you echoed that sentiment in the past couple years?

Realistically, most cable network packages come with at least 200 channels nowadays. But who really watches all of them? I’m pretty sure if someone snuck into my apartment and blocked 95% of the channels I get, the only way I would notice is if I couldn’t watch reruns of Seinfeld while I eat dinner.

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Regardless of the fact that most of us probably only really watch five to ten of the hundreds of channels at our disposal, we’re still charged the full amount for the package by the cable company. There has to be a better way, right? Well, there is. Maybe it’s time you cut the cord, and check out some of the following options.

1. YouTube

Okay, so you’re not going to get full-length movies or TV shows on YouTube. But the popular streaming site does have more than just ridiculous cat videos. There are documentaries, educational resources, and recreational activities for people of all interests. You might have to tweak your idea of what “watching TV” really means, but you can get just as much out of the free services YouTube provides as you would with cable.

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2. Sling TV

Like I said before, you probably pay for hundreds of channels, but only watch a handful of them. For $20 a month, you can use Sling TV to stream some of the most-watched channels around, while leaving the ones you don’t care about behind. ESPN, AMC, Cartoon Network, and TNT are just some of the channels included in the main package. You can also purchase additional packages (including sports and kids-based shows) for $5 extra per month. No more paying for Lifetime just because you have to!

3. Netflix

You probably don’t need me to tell you that Netflix is a pretty sweet alternative to cable TV. While it’s movie selection is usually fairly lacking (oddly enough, considering it’s what the service was initially built around in the first place), the collection of quality TV shows makes Netflix completely worth the $8 a month subscription. How else can you watch 12 episodes of a single show in one sitting without having to go through one commercial break?

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4. Hulu

Hulu is pretty similar to Netflix, but there are a few differences between the two. With Hulu, you’ll unfortunately be stuck watching the same commercials every ten to fifteen minutes – even if you pay for the premium service. However, unlike Netflix, Hulu offers much more recent episodes of popular shows almost immediately. Think of it like this: You can either wait months and months for a new season of a show to be released on Netflix, or you can sit through two minutes of commercials on Hulu. Pick your poison!

5. Libraries

I remember my old town library used to have a small section of outdated VHS tapes collecting dust in some backroom. But that was during the Blockbuster days of the 90s. Nowadays, many libraries have a pretty up-to-date selection of DVDs to choose from. And they’re usually pretty lax on due dates, so you won’t end up getting slammed by late fees if you can’t get around to watching a movie til the weekend.

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6. Live Streaming Sites

The Internet offers plenty of sites to watch free live tv on that don’t require payment or a subscription of any sort. Many of these sites offer regionally-based programming, whether by city, state, or even country. If you’ve moved across the country but want to follow your hometown sports team, there are sites that can help you out without having to pay the extraordinary price your cable company will charge for a single extra channel. The same goes for locally-based news and other programming. If you’re feeling homesick and you know some hometown TV will help out, there are many places you can go on the Internet to find what you need.

Featured photo credit: Watching TV 2 / Jinho Jung / Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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