Why I Gave Up Television

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014

Published In: Process, Stories

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Television, along with my will to watch it, is dead. The reason being is that there just isn’t as much quality programming available to pique my interest anymore. Also I just don’t have the time or patience to sit for long periods of time doing nothing constructive. Lately I’ve been finding my urge to create things has greatly surpassed any will to do anything unproductive for an extended period of time. Which is also why I rarely, if ever spend time in theaters watching movies. Don’t get me wrong though. I still do enjoy watching some movies and documentaries and some shows on occasion such as Cosmos, Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and my local news, but that’s really all I can stand. Those shows are really the only things that are worth watching in my opinion. But even then, the news gets annoying sometimes so I limit the time I spend watching watching it to about half an hour in the morning and an hour at night.

But like I said, my attention span for watching television and movies has decreased dramatically over the past year or two. It’s strange to most people when I get asked if I watch a certain show and I say, “Nope.” every single time. Every major television series that has been popular for the past 8 years or so, I can confidently say I have never once seen an episode of. This includes Lost, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Dexter, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, True Detective, etc…

The list goes on. I’m sure that most of these programs are exceptionally made and I probably would really enjoy most of these. The fact is the reason why I avoid these shows is because I’m actually afraid to watch any of them. Not in the sense like they scare me. What I mean is that I’m afraid that if I start watching any of these shows that are still going on, or even the ones that have every season up on Amazon or Netflix, I will become addicted to them and binge watch them like most people do. And as a result, will become less productive. That’s one thought that bugs the hell out of me because at times it feels like I overwork myself. Which I don’t think I do, anymore at least. I have had my share of binge watching a few shows like the the first two seasons of Digi-Mon on Netflix and watching all 7 seasons of the original X-Men Animated Series in under 2 weeks. And more recently, as in earlier this week, I just finished watching the entire DragonBall GT series in about 2 weeks.

As you can see, I’m no stranger to this. The reason I’m now more aware of the time one can easily waste by watching TV for extended periods of time is because I’ve been there, done that. Sure, watching these shows one after the other is fun, but I can also tell you what’s not fun. Feeling guilty about watching just one more episode. Then you watch it, then you say to yourself, “Ok… maybe… just one more wouldn’t hurt… right?”

Then guess what? You spend your whole afternoon sitting on your ass not doing anything productive. Just wasting your day away. Too many times I’ve spent watching episode after episode when I knew I had stuff I wanted to get done, but then you run out of time. There’s just not enough time in the day. Which is why I now see television as the lowest priority of anything I can think of.

There are better things you can do with your time.

Really, all you have to do is think about it, then go out and pursue it. It’s really that simple. And if you say it’s not that simple, then you really aren’t trying hard enough. Believe me. I know this.

Whenever a friend or even a family member asks me if I want to go watch a movie at a theater or at their house, I cringe at the thought of being stuck not doing anything for a minimum of 3 or 4 hours. My response almost every time is, “Nah. I think I’ll pass. I’d rather spend my time making stuff instead. Thanks though!” I know that sounds kinda dick-ish but in all honesty, I’m telling the truth. I would rather much spend my time making things than watching things. But this is not always the case though. Lets back up a minute here. I do in fact watch movies and shows and stuff, but I’m VERY selective with what I say yes to. There are certain parameters that have to be right in order for me to willingly drop what I’m working on and have a little fun.

First thing, and probably the most important criteria must be I have to have made the decision before-hand that I want to watch this movie and am either waiting for someone else to want to go, or I just decide to go alone. Second thing is I have to not be in the middle of a project that is time-sensitive. Meaning, I’m not falling behind on my work if I decide to take a day or night off to do something else. Really, I know how stupid this all might sound to the majority of you but thats just who I am. I love what I do. I’m a creator at heart and need to always be either coming up with ideas or executing them. I think that the fact I’m an introvert also adds to this as well.

If you really feel stuck in terms of not being at the level you want to be and you allow yourself to have mindless distractions take up your time, then you need to make a change in how you use your time. Spend your time learning things to, first and foremost, impress yourself. Surpass your expectations and then you’ll see that giving up television is definitely worth it.