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6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life

6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life

    A couple of months ago I wrote an article on 10 Reasons To Stop Watching TV. I was half expecting resistant replies, but was surprised to read many readers expressing the same sentiments. Some of them have removed TV from their lives since years ago, while some are on the way towards cutting TV out. Many of them expressed improved quality of life after they stopped / reduced TV viewing.

    You might be wondering: Why remove TV from our life? Truth is, I used to watch TV a fair bit when I was young. When I was a student, I made it a point to watch all prime time shows (The trailers had a way of making you feel you were missing out if you didn’t watch). If there was ever a blockbuster movie on air, I would catch it too. TV made life seem exciting.

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    Then slowly, I reduced my TV viewing. It was a natural progression, really, as I became busier and found priorities outside of TV. Today, I’ve not watched TV for about 4 years. I found my life satisfaction increased when I watched less TV. It has given more time for me to pursue my life goals. Compare 2 hours of TV watching to say, writing personal development articles for my blog or writing my 1st book, the latter activities are definitely a whole lot more meaningful. In retrospect, I felt the time I spent in front of the black box in the past was a waste of time.

    If you are ready to remove TV from your life and spend time on things that matter more, here are 6 steps on how to do so:

    1. Have replacement activities.

    For any successful habit change to take place, you have to replace the old habit with something new. Here are some suggestions:

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    • Start a business you like. Since you have more free time now, why not start up a new business? Do it part-time, with no strings attached, and see where it spins off. It’s a great way to cultivate your skills and earn money doing something you like at the same time.
    • Hang out with your friends. Are there any friends you have not met for a while? Maybe it’s time to catch-up with them. Go out and have fun. Hanging out indoors is good too – Just don’t end up watching TV!
    • Exercise. Go to the gym and get a great workout. Jogging, swimming, tennis, squash, aerobics are all great too.
    • Go out and meet new people. Are there any meet-up groups you can join? Any upcoming events you can attend? Meetup.com is a great place to start off.
    • Take up a class. Any courses you’ve been meaning to take up? Any hobbies you want to pursue further? Take up a weekly class/mini-course. I took up side classes on

    2. Remove your cable subscription.

    Being subscribed to the cable TV makes you feel compelled to keep watching, so as to maximize the value of your subscription. If you’re serious about removing TV from your life, unsubscribe immediately. Forget about the line-up of shows on cable – not only do you get a big chunk of your life back, you also save money in the process.

    3. Limit your TV viewing every day.

    If cutting TV out immediately is a big stretch, start off by limiting your TV viewing. If you’re a heavy TV viewer, limit to 2-hours a day first. Then go down to 1.5 hours, then slowly 1-hour, then 30 minutes. Soon it’ll be easy to just stop watching altogether. In fact by then, you’d have experienced the positive effects of not watching TV that you are ready to stop watching it altogether.

    4. Work on your goals.

    Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, you’ll be surprised at how much progress you’ll make in a short span. Back in 2007, I first started working on my personal goals at least 30 min/day, including my aspirations for my future. After a year, I was ready to quit my day job and pursue my passion. Today, I’m running my personal development business and doing what I love full-time. Start on your goals today, and very soon you’ll see results.

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    5. Don’t catch new shows.

    After I decided to stop watching TV, I stopped catching new shows. I continued to watch past shows that were still running, such as Prison Break (via DVD), but otherwise I stopped catching new shows, be it Ugly Betty or Gossip Girl. With the ending of the “old” shows, it also ended my TV viewing.

    6. Put away your TV.

    One of my readers got rid of her TV 5 years ago. Since then, her family (comprising of her, her husband and her son) spend a lot more quality time together, playing board games and writing their journals together every week. If throwing away your TV is too drastic, store it away. That’s what happened for another reader. When she was young, her parents didn’t want her to grow up around the negative influence of TV. However, they couldn’t bear to throw the TV away. In the end, they kept the TV in a closet. Subsequently, she grew up TV-free, and had the time to pursue other hobbies and activities.

    Share Your Thoughts

    How about you? Do you watch TV or have you stopped watching for a while? Do you have any tips to remove TV? Please share your thoughts in the comments area.

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    Celestine Chua

    Celestine is the Founder of Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to boost productivity and achieve excellence in life.

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    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.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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