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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.

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Results How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

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    1 3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively 2 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 3 How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life 4 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 5 11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Results

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

    This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

    Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

    When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

    This is why setting priorities is so important.

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    3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

    There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

    1. Eat a Frog

    There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

    Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

    When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

    2. Move Big Rocks

    Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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    You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

    If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

    For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

    To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

    In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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    3. Covey Quadrants

    If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

    Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

    1. Important and Urgent
    2. Important and Not Urgent
    3. Not Important but Urgent
    4. Not Important and Not Urgent

      The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

      Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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      You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

      Getting to Know You

      Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

      In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

      These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

      More Tips for Effective Prioritization

      Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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