By Brandon Eley

Turn Off the Television

By Brandon Eley

I have been incredibly busy lately, and yet I have still found time to watch an occasional television show or movie.

Granted, I still watch far less television than the average person, but the other day I thought about how I could better spend that 3-5 hours a week I typically spend watching TV.

Below is just a few ideas I came up with:


    Write an article or two for my blog (or the Tribune)
    Work on a website redesign I’ve been putting off for months
    Work on a presentation I’m giving next week
    Read a book

I could easily come up with dozens of things I could do rather than watching television: some work and some personal. Most would probably be better for me in the long run.

I’ve decided next time I think about turning on the television, I’m going to do one of the things above instead.

How many hours a week do you watch television?

What could you be doing instead to grow your business, become more healthy, or relax?

  • It would “work” the same if you substitute “watch television” with “read a book” or pretty much everything else. How many other things you can do if you stop doing one of the things you do.

    The point is not to stop watching tv, but to start watching only good tv… at that point it’s got the same value of a (good) book or whatever other kind of interesting thing you might be doing.

  • This is dumb-arse. If how you “relax” is switching your brain off and watching some tube 3-5 hours a week, replacing that relaxation time with work (real work or imaginary work) is only going to make you stressed. Working longer hours doesn’t automatically equal greater productivity. And watching TV in moderation gives you a sense of cultural context that you won’t get anywhere else.

    Of course, if 3-5 hours is actually 30-50 hours, then that’s something else entirely…

    • Anonymous

      TV isn’t the only thing I do to unwind or relax, and that 3-5 hours a week isn’t my only downtime every week. While I completely agree that simply working 5 more hours a week would not necessarily make me more productive, I would argue that watching TV doesn’t necessarily make me more relaxed either.

  • I would challenge you to go cold turkey and drop TV from your schedule altogether for a period of time. I did, and found that I no longer wanted to watch it at all. Now I don’t.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree. I watch almost no TV and when I do it is never alone, it is either with my wife or kids to spend time together and it is an interactive event where we talk about it as we watch it. YouTube and social network sites can be the same kind of time-suck. They are like a twilight zone where you go in one end and come out hours latter with nothing to show for it. Go out and live life! Build your business. Spend time with friends and family!

  • I don’t watch TV. Reddit effectively replaces it.

  • Anonymous

    Good points, DJ (and Francesco)

  • I agree. There are mass of opportunities: new language learning (French, Italian, German – will be used lately on vacation :), detective / ancient writers reading, meditation, playing musical instrument, writing novel, playing with kids, exercising fitness, at least walking… with your friends. TV is a killer of your precious time of living.

  • Anonymous

    I never thought of writing a blog post in my sleep — I’ll have to give that a try!

  • Ryan Mortier

    Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

  • In terms of what I prefer to do, that would be: reading tech books/manga, watching Japanese animation, playing video games, and exercising. TV is good for relaxing and there are educational channels such as history, science, and animal planet/national geographic. These shows can further educate you on the world you live in, so it really depends on “what” you’re watching and how often you do it. TV in itself is not bad, but abused it can be very much so.

    Though I always love to research technology and develop code for websites/web apps now. Other than that, I’m studying math on my own since I’m a CS student.

  • Anonymous

    What if I told you the TV is really an alien from outer space and you’re sitting there staring at it? You’d probably think I’m nuts and go on watching it.

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