‘I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book’ – Groucho Marx
It’s been 40 days since I last sat in front of a TV, to watch TV – and by TV, I mean Australian television. Don’t get me wrong, I have used the TV for games, but I haven’t watched television.
It started with the information diet, and elimination. The concept of eliminating everything in your life which wasted time and produced no productive output. Things you do which make you feel like crap afterwards. TV was the perfect example.
As for the information diet, no TV meant no news consumption. No headlines, no breaking news, no politics, no sports, nothing. How did it all go?
Here’s my thoughts on the whole experiment: TV SUCKS. NO REGRETS
It is by far the biggest and worst activity in our lives. Sitting in front of a box endlessly consuming information being thrown at us is not only a waste of time, it’s self-destructive.
Here is what I learnt in bullet points:
- TV is the biggest daily time waster. I’m pretty certain the majority of us are guilty to excessive TV. Add up the hours per week and I guarantee it’s at least 10 hours. That’s 10 hours of time that could’ve been spent on something else.
- Only 10% of TV is useful. I’m referring to die hard news addicts who must know what Joe Hockey’s comments were on the 7 O’clock report. Any information that can’t be used immediately to better your life is useless information. Too much input destroys the creative mind.*
*I know some people will argue that watching the news and being aware of current affairs is crucial in order to be an active individual. If you’re that person, I won’t argue with you, but what I’m trying to say, is that there are far superior and efficient methods of doing that as opposed to sitting in front of a TV.
Here’s my solution. Download the ABC news app on your mobile phone. Set aside 10-20 minutes per day reading the most important news for the day. This saves you 1-2 hours per day watching TV and also not to forget being exposed to unimportant, useless information through ‘news’ and commercials.
- TV makes you dumb. Yes, it’s true. What was a commercial you watched today? Can you remember it in detail? Unless you have photographic memory, you won’t remember what Uncle Tony was on about when he kept screaming ‘CHEAP AS CHIPS!’ to the camera. When you watch TV, the information is rendered as unimportant, so it gets shoved into the ‘junk’ department of your brain (ie short term memory) which then gets deleted shortly after. Do this for hours, days, weeks, years… and you will become accustomed to treating any information the same way, including school work – stuff you really need to know to ace that test. The result? Inability to stay focused and pay attention for extended periods of time.
- TV robs you of the peace of mind required for high creativity/productivity tasks.
As for my experiment, they say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I’ve happily left TV and don’t intend on going back. Why? Because the results I’ve experienced are awesome. Not to mention you feel like a total BAWSS being able to control your compulsions.
Give it a try: the 21-day no-TV experiment.