I Didn’t Watch TV Last Month

We live in a golden age of television. It sounds cliché. But it’s the truth. We have a wide range of shows which is even easier to access than ever before. Any geek will tell you, the Worlds of Marvel and CW’s DC are awesome. Crime and Drama Shows are at their best, and we’re not far until the next Parks and Rec comes along. It’s all tempting, and it’s easy to fall into watching a little more than you should.

When I looked back on my 2015, I really wish I had done more. I wish I had achieved more. Sure, I got a lot done at my day job and I’m super proud of that, but in my spare time… not much else.

After studying for four years at University, I was in the habit of using my evenings and weekend productively. Be it for a part time job, freelancing, assignments and study… anything. In my 3rd year of University, I took a whole course load, was on 3 different payrolls and ran a 250 member student club… I was busy! The year after that was even busier!

So as I got my first “proper”, full time job in 2015, I really enjoyed the free evenings and weekends to just relax, unwind and watch some TV. This was great for a few months until I realised I didn’t have enough TV to watch… so I kept finding new shows to start or binge on until I was watching up to 20 hours of TV a week.

20 Hours. A week.

That was: Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Agent Carter, Daredevil, Agents of Shield, Last Week Tonight, Bones, Jessica Jones, Supergirl, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Undercover Boss, Scorpion, The Middle, American Dad, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Big Bang Theory and Hell’s Kitchen. Breathe.

It was all just getting out of hand.

So, as a typical person, I had a New Year’s Resolution to stop wasting time. Read more, run more, learn more. And, a typical person, that failed after about a week.

So in February, I tried again. Short month. I can do this.

No TV. 29 Days. Let’s do this.

Day one was tough. Not gonna lie. And that is so pathetic. Addicted to Television so bad, I was having withdrawal symptoms.

I did what I had to do. I realised I’d actually surrounded myself with pop culture. I had to mute celebrities on twitter and unfollow Facebook fan pages. I had to remove all these temptations for what I’ve discovered were essentially a waste of time.

My plan to wean myself of TV was simple — Replace them with something educational. Something that will further myself. I found YouTube a great source of educational content.

A few things I enjoy watching are:

I also enjoy reading more now too. I bought a Kindle a while back and currently I’m reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I hope it works 😏. I find reading so much better for getting to sleep, rather than staring at a bright screen before bed.

Another great thing I found time for was Podcasts. After the first week I started listening to Design Life — “A show about design and side projects for motivated creators.” I was rather inspired by the hosts’ hustle and general drive in their life.

So, because of this, I’ve dived back into my projects. I’ve rebirthed by blog, focussing on what I enjoy — Programming for iOS. I’ve started getting up earlier (…slowly) and doing more with my mornings. I’ve enjoyed reading more, running more, doing more improv with my friends. And I’ve been working on more projects I may share later #secretsquirrel.

Overall, with a lot less TV in my life. I feel so much happier, more productive and I hope to look back at the end of the year and feel better than I did a few months ago. I’m motivated to work on my side projects more, to be more of an entrepreneur and to educate myself more on life, business and programming.

Will I ever watch TV again? Probably. Entertainment has a valid place in our lives and society. But I’ll probably limit it to one or two episodes a week. Humans definitely need some down time — but one should consider spending it on something to further them as a person I believe. It doesn’t all have to be mindless noise. Do something with that time. Be better than your former self.

In the words of host, Femke, of Design Life;

Time is only going to feel like it’s getting faster and faster, and you’re never gonna get more energy the older you get. So the engergy you have now, thats you’re best advantage. You should try and do as much as you can do with the energy you have and the time you have right now because you’re gonna look back in five years and either be really, really proud of yourself and what you achieved and you’ll be able to live off and reap the benefits or be thinking “Man, I had so much time back then, I had so much energy! Why didn’t I do more? I should have started this ages ago!”

(Episode 7)

Thanks for reading. Let’s chat on twitter — I’m @samjarman.

Okay, I watched some Arrow. But seriously, it’s SOO good. And it makes me go to the gym more. So not all bad, right!?

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