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How I Saved 1000 Hours A Year By Just Quitting TV

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How I Saved 1000 Hours A Year By Just Quitting TV

Who doesn’t like to sit in front of the TV, curl up in a comfy blanket, and eat loads of junk food? (Okay, maybe not the junk food part.)

It used to be my favorite pastime, it didn’t matter what I was watching — re-runs of Disney movies, random snippets of Friends, or the latest episode of Jimmy Fallon — I could sit there and binge watch all day on Netflix or HBO. The sound from the TV would often be my lullaby and rocked me to sleep on the couch.

Let’s do some simple maths here. Simple But Shocking.

Before I move on, let me throw you some “impressive” stats. Imagine if you sat in front of the TV 6 hours per day, after a year, you would have spent 2190 hours, which is 3 WHOLE MONTHS! Just think about it. 25% of your whole year has gone to watching TV, at times you weren’t even paying attention to what you were watching.

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So How I Know I Have A Problem?

As much as I don’t want to say I was addicted to TV, watching it for 4 hours straight every day was not a big deal for me. I used to watch TV for entertainment, but it slowly became habitual. I would even watch bad reality shows or movies when I knew I didn’t like them. To me, television was my leisure, my only leisure.

    Taking baby steps to the road of “recovery”.

    You only start to cherish when you don’t have much time left. I could say this epiphany kickstarted my journey of “Say No to TV”.

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    When I was studying abroad, I didn’t have a lot of friends at first. To combat my loneliness and homesickness, television was my only friend. As I flipped through the calendar month after month, I realized I didn’t have much time left before I flew back home. I shouldn’t rely on television as my own source of entertainment, but instead, do things that I couldn’t do back at home. When I was given such once in a lifetime opportunity, why not make the most out of it?

    So what should I do now?

    The beginning of a change is always the hardest, and to have a motivation, you need a goal. Because time was limited for me, I had different things I wanted to accomplish before I left. I wrote a list of all the things that I wanted to do, set their priorities, and fitted them into my schedule.

    Okay, I’m done.

    It isn’t enough to write a list, taking action is more important. It might be difficult to follow what’s planned, but there are still ways to carry out what I had written down. I stuck post-it notes on screens to remind myself the promises I made, canceled my Netflix account, and even tried not to stay in my room too much. Also, it’s always better to have a buddy to keep you accountable, or at least you have someone to support and make the change with you.

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    The struggle is real, y’all.

    One of the best methods of decreasing your dependence on something is to stay away from any possible contact. But it’s not as easy as it seems. Often when I held the remote control, it took so much courage to not press the start button because there were even voices in my head telling me to splurge just a little, just one episode. I had to pick up hobbies that either required laser focus or going outdoors to completely say away from the evil TV.

    So it seems like I was doing pretty well. I mean Awesome.

    Sometimes, when we make changes, our plans fall through midway, and we revert back to our old lifestyle. To avoid making a temporary change, develop interests in your changes is very important. If I treated exercising as a routine, I would get bored eventually. If I wasn’t interested in hand lettering and photography, I would have given up after I failed time after time.

    TV doesn’t seem as important to me anymore so goodbye old friend!

    As I went out more often to the gym or hiking trails, my body became healthier, and the woozy feeling that I had after watching TV was gone. The more I practiced hand lettering, the more patience I had. It led me back into art and design, after many years of artistic hibernation. I also gained friends from working out together, taking photos for each other, and art jamming.

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    Keep your eyes on the prize, or at least look at my prize!

    Have you successfully quit TV? You might ask. Yes indeed. I don’t watch TV 4 hours a day anymore, or maybe even not 4 hours a week. With those hours saved from not quitting TV, I have developed great interests, improved my health, and rediscovered my passion.

    It might be frightening to give up television completely, but it’s okay to have movie nights or binge-watch sessions every now and then as a reward. Always remind yourself the benefits you get from leaving your couch and quitting TV, and hopefully, the significant changes that it brings could be your motivation to treat yourself better.

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    Frank Yung

    Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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