Maybe it’s because of the time of year, where people reflect and take stock of their progress, but I’ve been reading a lot of articles about productivity lately.
One thing that crops up again and again is that the most productive people don’t do one thing the rest of us do: they don’t watch television.
Now, I watch a fair bit of TV. I’m probably somewhere in the mid-range, as I do a lot of other things too: reading, blogging, writing, working out. But most days I manage to watch an episode or two of something, even if it’s only on in the background while I’m doing something else.
While I’ll never give up television completely, I’d like to be a bit more mindful about what I’m watching.
No more endless repeats of mediocre shows that I’ve seen a dozen times or more. No more programmes that I used to love, but have lost their lustre. No more programmes that I feel I should watch, but don’t really enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching TV and I get a lot out of it. The right film or show can be a great inspiration for my writing, and I’ve learned a lot about how to structure a story that way.
Sometimes, when I’ve had a long day and my brain is tired, zoning out for an hour in front of the box can be the best way to relax. Unfortunately, TV also often means time spent eating, as I’ve gotten into the habit of snacking when I watch my favourite shows; it feels like more of an indulgence that way. Not very healthy.
I know deep down that I should watch less television. I always have a list of things that I’d like to achieve or be working on. And I’m always bemoaning how I don’t have enough time.
And that’s the easy answer, right there. Of all the things in my life, television is probably the one I could most easily cut back on. Without the urge to vegetate on the sofa, I’d have more time to read, write and even socialise.
I’m not planning to do anything dramatic, but I think it’s time to consciously switch off more often. Conveniently a lot of the shows I’ve watched for years are coming to an end, so instead of filling up my schedule with new things, I’ll be thinking about how else I can use my time.
And maybe then when I choose to watch TV, it will be a real treat, rather than a way to mindlessly kill a couple of hours each evening.