On average, American’s still watch over 5 hours of TV per night. Add in gaming, YouTube, and social media and you have enough for another full work week. Sure, the time we spend doing these activities is enjoyable. But how high is the opportunity costs? What could we accomplish if we spent that time doing something else? Something more meaningful.
It’s enough time to:
- Pursue a degree
- Learn a language
- Learn a skill like guitar or dancing
- Read several books a week
- Create deep relationships with your friends and significant other
- Start a business
- Write a book
- “Insert thing you’ve always want to do here”
The list is only limited by your imagination. That much time is actually enough to do several items on the list. TV, games, and social media may give instant gratification, but they won’t give the the long-term satisfaction that comes with accomplishing something that really matters.
Cutting the Cord
I cut out TV and games about one month ago. Since then, I have created this blog, started exercising, reading more books, started a garden, and learned to create a home server (this one is still a work in progress). I feel better physically and mentally. I feel like I am accomplishing more everyday. It was easier than I thought, and TV now seems more of a distraction.
Make it quick and painless
TV, games, and social media are designed to be addictive. Trying to go off them slowly is like saying, “I’ll just have a little crack today”.
Go cold turkey and cut them out altogether. It might be difficult for the first couple of days, but it gets surprisingly easy after that.
One of the biggest reasons we spend so much time with media is because of boredom. Plan ahead and create a list of things you want to do. Keeping your self busy will stop you from thinking about TV and games. Use this guide for setting goals.
Think About Your Future Self
Looking back, I spent hundreds of hours playing games and many more sitting in front of a TV. I enjoyed it all. But at the end of the day it didn’t make my life or anybody else’s any better. There was little value added.
It didn’t improve my job or help me build a business. What if I had used that time for something that mattered? It’s in the past, so it can’t be changed. But it can be learned from.
Instead, I look forward. What are the things I can accomplish in the future? What are the things I will have accomplished in one year? I will have developed this website, read dozens of books, learned new skills that make me more valuable to organizations, become better at my work, and spent more time with my family and friends.
Those are things that matter to me. I will miss out on discussing the newest shows and movies, but somehow, that just doesn’t seem so important.