Saturday, February 16, 2008

Six Weeks Without TV and Loving It

As of tonight, it's been 43 days since I quit TV. Even with all the loopholes, it has been hard, but it's been getting easier.

Why did I do it? Mainly, to get my Saturdays and Sundays back. It was very easy to get lulled into spending three to six hours watching trash or reruns on the couch. I wouldn't do the truly fun and fulfilling things you're supposed to do on a weekend, like go to movies or go shopping, because I'd have to catch up on chores and errands and cooking, or I would do somthing fun and get stressed about cramming my to-do list into a Sunday afternoon.

But as it turns out, quitting TV has made it possible to develop other good habits, things I've always wanted to do, but never though I had the time for. So these are all the reasons I'm motivated to keep going with this decision to quit TV, which I made on a whim the night of January 5.

Without TV, I wake up earlier: Two weeks after I quit TV, I returned from a business trip three hours east of me, and decided to keep waking up early. I'm now waking up around 5:15. Normally, I'd be tempted to stay up till 9:30 or 10 PM because of a show, but I no longer have "appointment TV" to keep me up (even with TiVo, I still wanted to watch shows the same day). When I wake up, I either go to work early and get a start on my day before I start getting distracted by email or phone calls or I exercise, which leads me to the point below.

Without TV, I exercise more: I would generally only exercise on the weekends. This is because I like to exercise in the morning, so I can wash and dry my hair and not have bed head, but if I wake up too late, I start feeling like I really ought to just go to work. Waking up early helps me to stick with a regular routine. So not watching TV not only frees up the time for exercise, but it also indirectly makes sure I do it early in the morning where it won't get interrupted.

Without TV, I'm neater: This is embarrassing, but I have not been particularly neat. I get distracted from one thing and move on to another without cleaning up what I was working on and TV only compounds the problem. This is particularly true around cooking and eating. Instead of cleaning while I was cooking, I was watching TV from the kitchen. Then I would usually eat in front of the TV, get sucked in, get tired, leave the dishes on the coffee table and go to bed. So pots and pans and dishes would stick around for three or four days. Yes, it's horrible and mortifying and unfortunately true. But without the TV, I actually have started to clean as I go when I'm in the kitchen and I'm more likely to bus my table immediately before I get tired. I have more time to unload the dishwasher, which means dishes don't get backed up. So not only did quitting TV free up time on the weekends to clean, it means there is less to clean on the weekends because I'm cleaning more during the week.

Without TV, I might invite people over more often: Because the house would get so messy during the week, it would always take a full day of cleaning before I could have anyone over. If I can keep the house neat, I may be able to have people over on the weekends, or if I'm really good, maybe even on a week night. I haven't done this yet, mostly because I'm recovering from the holidays and enjoying not having things to do on the weekends and have been busy at work, but I hope to.

Without TV, I can cultivate other hobbies: The main hobby I wanted to find time for was writing --with this blog, I'm certainly doing that. I am also reading more (got to have something to do in the evenings and while I'm eating). I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and now, inspired by my blog post on mangalitsa pork, I'm reading The Omnivore's Dilemma.

So I guess if you have also thought about quitting TV and have been worried about what you'll lose (how will I know who wins Project Runway 4? What happens to McSteamy and Meridith on Grey's Anatomy?), you might think about the things you will gain.

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