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How I Saved 1000 Hours A Year By Just Quitting TV

How I Saved 1000 Hours A Year By Just Quitting TV
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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 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)
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    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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