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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 February 13, 2020

    What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

    What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

    Too much to read, too little time! Don’t you wish you could read faster without compromising your knowledge intake? This is where a valuable learning technique comes to the rescue: speed reading.

    Speed reading is the top skill to learn in 2020. Read on to find out all about this amazing technique!

    What Is Speed Reading?

    On average, an adult can read somewhere between 200 to 300 words per minute. With speed reading, you can read around 1500 words per minute.[1] Yes, that sounds impossible, but it is true.

    In order to understand how this skill works, you first need to know how the reading process works inside a human’s brain.

    The Reading Process

    The first step is for the eyes to look at a word. This “fixation” on every word takes around 0.25 seconds.

    Next, the eye moves on to the following word. It takes 0.1 seconds for the brain to move from one word to the next. This is called “saccade.”

    Usually, a person reads 4 to 5 words or a sentence at once. After all the fixations and saccades, the brain goes over the entire phrase again in order to process the meaning. This takes around half a second.

    All in all, this allows the average person to read 200 to 300 words in a minute.

    Speeding up the Process

    The concept of speed reading is to speed up this process at least 5 times. Since the saccade period cannot be shortened any further, speed reading emphasizes quicker fixations.

    To accomplish this, scientists recommend that the reader skips the subvocalization: when the readers actually say the word in their mind, even when reading silently.

    Basically, speed reading is the technique of only seeing the words instead of speaking them silently.

    Do not confuse this with skimming. When a reader skims through a text, they skip the parts that their brain considers to be unnecessary.

    You may skip important information in this process. Moreover, skimming does not allow the brain to retain what has been read.

    Why Speed Read?

    Speed reading is not just quick, but also effective. This skill saves a lot of of time without sacrificing information.

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    Also, it has been proven to improve memory. The brain’s performance improves during speed reading, which allows the reader to remember more information than before.

    Since speed reading stabilizes the brain, the information is processed faster and more efficiently.

    Believe it or not, this technique leads to improved focus, too. As the brain receives a lot of information during speed reading, there is far less chance of distraction. The brain focuses solely on the job at hand.

    Since the brain is, after all, a muscle, the process of speed reading acts as an exercise. Just like the rest of your muscles, your brain needs exercise to grow stronger, too.

    A focused brain means improved logical thinking. As your brain gets used to receiving and organizing so much information so quickly, your thinking process will become faster.

    As soon as a problem is thrown at you, your brain will quickly put two and two together. You will be able to retrieve stored information, figure out correlations, and come up with new solutions, all within seconds!

    Still not convinced? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Speed Reading

    Greater Benefits

    With a healthier brain, you can expect better things in other parts of your life, too. A boost in self-esteem is just one of them.

    As you begin to understand information at a faster pace, you will also begin to figure out more opportunities all around you.

    With the ability to deeply understand information in a shorter period of time, your confidence levels will quickly grow higher.

    Moreover, all the aforementioned benefits will relieve you of stress. You will manage your readings in lesser time, your brain will be healthier, and you will feel so much better about yourself.

    With all these advantages, your emotional well-being will be healthier than ever. You’ll feel less stress since your brain will learn to tackle problems efficiently. Speed reading will lead to a relaxed, tension-free lifestyle!

    How to Learn to Speed Read

    Speed reading is a superpower. Fortunately, unlike other superpowers, this one can be learned!

    There are different techniques that can be used to master this skill. Opt for the one that best suits your learning style.

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    1. The Pointer Method

    The person who is credited for popularizing speed reading, Evelyn Wood, came up with the pointer method. It is a simple technique in which the reader uses their index finger to slide across the text that they’re reading.

    As the finger moves, the brain coherently moves along with it. It is an effective technique to keep the eyes focused where the finger goes without causing any distraction.

    Readers have a tendency to back-skip. The pointer method prevents this from happening, thereby saving at least half the reading time.

    2. The Scanning Method

    In this technique, the reader’s eyes move along one part of the page only. This can be the left or right side of the text but is usually the center since that is the most convenient.

    Instead of pacing through the entire text from left to right, the vision shifts from top to bottom.

    This method involves fixation on keywords such as names, figures, or other specific terms. By doing so, the saccade time is minimized.

    3. Perceptual Expansion

    Generally, a reader focuses on one word at a time. This technique, on the other hand, encourages the brain to read a chunk of words together. In doing so, this method increases the reader’s peripheral vision.

    Here’s the thing: even though the fixation time remains the same with perceptual expansion, the number of words that the eyes fixate on increases.

    So basically, the brain receives 5 times more information within the same amount of time.

    This technique is the hardest to master and takes the most time to learn. You’ll need help from speed reading tools in order to practice the perceptual expansion method.

    However, once you master it, this technique will offer you the fastest reading pace with the maximum knowledge intake.

    The Best Speed Reading Apps

    The easiest tool to aid any process in any part of life these days is your smartphone.

    You can use mobile applications to learn speed reading on the go. It has been proven that regularly practicing speed reading is the fastest way to learn this skill. [2]

    Here are a few great options to look into:

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    1. Reedy

    If you own an Android smartphone, you can download Reedy to your mobile. Otherwise, get the chrome extension on your laptop to enjoy speed reading with Reedy.

    This app trains readers to read faster by displaying words one by one on the screen. Instead of having to go through lines or long texts, Reedy prepares the user to focus on one word at a time.

    Although this isn’t an effective method to learn speed reading long texts, it is a great way to start.

    Once your brain gets used to the idea, you can shift to another app to train speed reading sentences or longer texts.

    2. ReadMe!

    Whether you’re an android or iOS user, you can take advantage of the ReadMe! application. This app even comes with some e-book options to practice speed reading on.

    Start by choosing your desired font size, color, layout, etc. Other than that, there are different reading modes for the user to choose from.

    If you want to practice reading sentence by sentence or in short paragraphs, you can choose the focused reading mode.

    The beeline reader mode changes the color of the text to guide the eye to read from the beginning to the end at a certain pace.

    Lastly, there is the spritz mode in which the app focuses on chunks of words at once. This controls the reader’s peripheral vision. However, this mode is not fully available in the free version of the app.

    3. Spreeder

    Spreeder is available on both iOS and Android. However, users may also gain benefits from Spreeder’s website. This application lets the reader paste in any text that they would like to speed read.

    Starting off at a rather low speed, the app flashes words one by one. Gradually, as the user becomes more comfortable, the speed increases.

    Slowly, the user is trained to speed read without having to skip any words.

    This app is different from the rest because it tracks the user’s reading improvements, recording the overall reading time and speed.

    The progress and improvement are tracked in order to motivate the user to perform even better.

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    Adjustable settings, such as the speed of the text, background color, etc. are in the control of the user.

    The Controversy Surrounding Speed Reading

    Truthfully, speed reading does sound too good to be true. It’s hard to believe that it is humanly possible to attain such a fast pace in reading without compromising the quality of information you receive.

    Perhaps as a result, there are people who do not trust the process of speed reading. They believe that when you read through a text at such a high speed, you cannot comprehend the information successfully.

    According to these people, your brain is unable to process information at the speed that you’re reading, and so, they regard speed reading as problematic.

    It is true that speed reading will be of no use if you do not understand the text you’re reading, no matter how quickly you did it.

    Similarly, if you were to read slowly and still not retain or understand the information you read, that would be useless, too.

    However, there a few factors to consider here. When reading at a normal pace, there is enough time in between every step of the process for the brain to get distracted.

    Conversely, speed reading leaves behind no time for the brain to focus on something else. It is unlike skimming. No part of the text is skipped, which means that the brain receives every single bit of information.

    Conclusion

    Keeping all of this in mind, speed reading cannot be labeled a hoax or a failure. Science has backed up this technique, and numerous readers have been using this skill to improve their learning ability.

    At the end of the day, it is your decision whether or not you want to trust this process.

    However, if you decide to take advantage of the opportunities speed reading provides, you will find a world of possibilities opening up to you.

    We live in a fast-paced world. Consuming information faster will help you keep up with that pace and find further success.

    Speed Read Like a Pro!

    Featured photo credit: Blaz Photo via unsplash.com

    Reference

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