Just like you,Time is a resource that is scarce, and I was always saying that I did not have time. A few years ago, I started an analysis of my time allocation and noticed that I spent many hours watching television.
I have a curious way of « watching » TV, in fact, most of the time I only listen to the TV. It is quite inconceivable to my mind to sit on my couch and watch TV « doing nothing ». So the TV was on, and I was doing other things; knitting, ironing, eating breakfast, doing my nails, surfing the internet, etc … If I want to see a real movie and nothing else, I go to the movies.
Considering TV programmes, I have been extremely selective for a long time. It is pointless telling me about variety shows or reality TV, for example. There is no way I would watch that kind of programme at all. For me, it is brain dead and nothing else. There are also some TV channels that could be closed down, they do not matter to me at all.
I was content with news at 8 pm when I was at home, in the morning with Télé Matin Show ( a French TV show including news, fashion, lifestyle and culture which is broadcasting early each morning), a few series and sometimes a cultural programme. That was still at least two hours per day on weekdays and also on weekends, where television was a kind of background noise and in front of which I stopped from time to time. That is my analysis of my consumption of TV.
But as I said earlier, I was always running out of time, I’ve decided to perform a brief analysis of my time. It’s the same when you have financial difficulties; you make an inventory of where money is spent to readjust the balance. So I did the same. I have listed the time available to me outside my
work and commuting time and also what I wanted to do or learn.
Time for what?
The first thing I wanted to do was set up a morning ritual to make time for me and also to arrive at work less stressed by hours spent in a traffic jam. So I decided to get up early (5:30 a.m. ) and do some physical exercises (flexibility, Tai Chi, Yoga …). Once I have done my exercises, I had my breakfast at 6:00 in front of News channels ( e.g. BBC World News)
Then at night, I wanted to enjoy my evenings more, especially to be able to take online courses, read, participate in some sport, take the time to follow the homework of one of my sons. And there, I quickly realized that my evening schedule was marked by the TV calling me. 8 pm: News, 8.45 – 9 pm movies or series, and at the end in my « old » use of time, things I wanted to do had to be fitted in between TV shows. I then asked, « what is really
important? This TV show or what you want to do in the evening? »
Stones and sand.
Everyone knows the story of stones and sand that we must fit into a jar. If we put the sand first, we can not fit in the stones. If the stones are put in first, the sand filters around the stones and everything fits in the jar. I was facing the same problem.
So I started by allocating time in the evening for what I wanted to do (the stones) and then I added the TV (sand). Thus, TV is no longer the master of my agenda; I am the one who’s in control. And if an interesting show happens one evening when I have something planned, well I look at catchup TV …. So, my time watching TV started to decline significantly. There only remained the News in the morning and evening, and a few series in the evening or at weekends. (I’m addicted to many TV series). And in the evening I could, read, exercise, follow online courses, work on my blog and my podcast and give myself a few moments of relaxation in front of the TV.
What about the News?
Was I relaxing? While I watched a lot of news, I was not relaxing.
I considered earlier this year that I could probably use the time spent watching on Bad News in a different way. And I decided not to turn on my TV in the morning during my breakfast. Or I spent the time listening to
inspiring podcasts (The Woman productive, Eclectic show, Ultra You,
This is your life, Daily Discipline, Beyond the todolist, The Productivity Show, Keeping You Organized, The productivityist, Tim Ferriss Show, Comme des Poissons, Art of Charm, The Portofilio Life, Ca vient de là, etc., etc.), or I had my breakfast quietly letting my mind wander. Well, I found that by removing the TV in the morning, I almost cut in half the duration of my breakfast. Even if I did something else while I was watching TV, I was wasting time anyway. And 10 minutes saved in the morning? That is significant.
So actually I’m not aware of all the disasters that are shown in breaking news, but I continue to follow the news via an app for news and my Twitter feed. Finally, it is enough. In our society, everything that was true yesterday is not necessarily true today, much less tomorrow. What’s good in cluttering my mind with political debates, sex scandals, petty squabbles in politics, so many stories are thrown to us, to prevent us from seeing the real issues. .. And what about humanitarian disasters: Humanity is rotten and greatly suffering and has inflicted atrocious things on us, and there is absolutely no need to be served a small dose daily.
There are horrific disasters. I know it is painful and unbearable. However did I need to see this picture of a little boy who died on a beach at six a.m., to sympathize with the pain of his poor parents or to rage against unscrupulous smugglers. I’m not in denial of the horror that surrounds us. But horrific images intruding on my time do not resolve the situation, and this will only undermine my morale, the news confronts me with the violence whose pictures I do not want see all day long. So I no longer look at the news. If necessary, I listen to them on the radio in my car.
And finally, another 30 minutes less TV in the evening, which used to occupy dinner time. Suddenly, the evening with the children, well, we talk at dinner …. OMG, it had been years that this has happened!
After years of reducing TV consumption, I do not watch live TV at all. I select some replays, for a specified period of 45-60 min, I watch it at my convenience and in 80% of cases while perched on my stepper machine.
I arranged a morning ritual that suits me, an evening ritual with sport, discussion with my children, online training, meditation and reading.
I get my « daily dose » of news via social networks, talks at lunchtime etc. … Certainly, I am often less involved with certain topics, but in most cases, is it really worth spending time on subjects that we have an extremely fragmented view and are filtered by the media? I personally do not think this is part of any useful element of my existence. These are just parasites who seek only to get me away from MY essence, to distract me from more serious subjects, dazzle me, brainwash me, want me to believe anything, take me in all directions and stop me from asking questions, lead me to consume more and more things I have no need. That’s what I’m thinking now; what should I do with my life? What contribution do I make to my surroundings? What are MY values, and not the « values » that are pushed on to us from the media. I do not wish to offend anyone, which today becomes so difficult, it is actually often easier to have no values at all!)? What are MY tastes, MY desires, MY dreams? Etc …
End of digression, for short, switching off TV allowed me to:
– SAVE time in mornings and evenings
– Invest in important ACTIVITIES for MY family and ME
– Learn to THINK and forge MY opinions for me.
– Improve my state of mind,
– FOCUS and ACHIEVE things that are important to ME.
– Significantly to improve my English (podcasts)!
– Exercise more
– Reclaim MY LIFE!
And best of all, I do not know any advertising jingle, you know, the inept little music that occurs at any time, accompanied by a slogan of that kind!
And you, when do you switch off?