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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.

                Featured photo credit: Tracy Thomas via unsplash.com

                More by this author

                Anna Johansson

                Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant.

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                Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                When you train your brain, you will:

                • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
                • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

                So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

                1. Work your memory

                Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                For example, say you just met someone new:

                “Hi, my name is George”

                Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

                Got it? Good.

                2. Do something different repeatedly

                By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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                And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

                But how does this apply to your life right now?

                Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                3. Learn something new

                It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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                For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

                Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                4. Follow a brain training program

                The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                5. Work your body

                You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                6. Spend time with your loved ones

                If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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                If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

                I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                The bottom line

                Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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