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Turn Off The TV And Do These 6 Productive Things

Turn Off The TV And Do These 6 Productive Things

According to a recent report, the average adult American spends more than five hours watching television every single day. That equates to roughly 35 hours per week. In other words, you’re probably spending almost as much time watching TV as you are working.

What if you were able to cut back on your TV habits and instead do something productive with this time? Well, give the following hacks a try and you’ll see just how much more productive you can be on a daily basis.

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1. Read a Book

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    (Photo by Moyan Brenn)

    Reading is something most of us enjoy, yet we never seem to get around to picking a book up off the shelf. Well, imagine how many books you could read if you spent a couple hours reading each night. You could probably go through three or four books a month. Not only is reading better for your mind, but it also provides you with valuable information and insights into different topics, which makes you a more interesting and well-rounded person.

    2. Cook a Healthy Meal

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      (Photo by Moyan Brenn)

      TV watching and unhealthy eating go hand-in-hand. When people are camped out on the couch, they don’t have time to cook. Therefore, they rely on frozen dinners and fast food. In fact, you could argue that the entire concept of pre-packaged foods – once called TV dinners – is designed around nighttime television watching. By cutting out the TV, you can spend more time cooking healthy meals. Not only will this allow you to learn new cooking skills, but it will also lead to a healthier life. If you have a partner or children, you can enlist them to help you in the kitchen, creating a good teaching and bonding opportunity that you would have otherwise missed.

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      3. Get Some Exercise

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        (Photo by markeybo<./a>)

        Now that you’ve got healthy eating down, you can adopt an exercise regimen to lose those excess pounds and get in shape. Take a run after work, lift weights at the gym, or take a yoga class. In the same amount of time it would take you to watch an episode of Law and Order, you can finish an excellent calorie-burning workout. Not bad, eh?

        4. Take an Online Course

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          (Photo by Jinho Jung)

          With an extra 30-35 hours in your weekly schedule, you could sign up for an online course and learn a new skill, obtain a new certification, or potentially earn a new degree. There are thousands of online learning opportunities and your time will be much better spent in front of the computer than the TV.

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          5. Get a Head Start on Work

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            (Photo from Pexels)

            Are you stressed when you show up to work in the morning? Do you find it difficult to head home at a decent hour? Well, you can make the following day much easier by getting a head start the night before. Knock out menial tasks while at home and you’ll find that you’re able to accomplish important things when you’re in the office.

            6. Get a New Hobby

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              (Photo by Jenn)

              Finally, why not get a new hobby? Whether it’s writing, drawing, gardening, playing guitar, flying planes, or anything in between, a few extra hours a week should be plenty of time to try something new. You might even make some new friends in the process!

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              What are you waiting for?

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                (Photo by Dennis Skley)

                Nobody is saying that TV is evil. We all have our favorite shows and channels and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, the simple fact of the matter is that the average American adult is spending way too much time watching TV.

                By reducing the amount of time you spend mindlessly watching shows and using this time to do productive things, your life can become much happier and healthier.

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                Featured photo credit: Tracy Thomas via unsplash.com

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                Anna Johansson

                Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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                Last Updated on July 21, 2021

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                More on Building Habits

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                Reference

                [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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