This week we have been focusing on our television habits. On Monday we looked at developing self control. On Wednesday we developed strategies for physically placing our TV in places that could limit our viewing. Today we are going to look at changes in the services and devices we use that could help us be "more productive´ in our TV habits.
I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that we shouldn´t watch TV at all, though some people would. We just need to be smarter to make sure that we are using TV in a way that provides the entertainment, education and enjoyment that we want without letting it burn time that we could be using much more effectively in another way. Here are today´s tips:
1) Cancel your cable — If there are fewer channels to watch you will watch less. That only makes sense. If you cancel your cable subscription you´ll be limited to the stations that you can pick up with an antenna. That means you´ll still have something to watch, but you will have less to distract you and get caught up in watching. You´ll save some money, too.
2) Subscribe to fewer channels — For some of you that last suggestion may have caused a heart attack. I have to admit that I wouldn´t be too keen to ditch cable myself. What I have done, though, is cut my subscription right down to the lowest level. I still get more channels than I can watch, but there is less to watch, so I think I watch less.
3) Watch recorded shows — Commercials suck. They are annoying and they eat our time. By recording a show we want to watch on our VCR or through the magic of TiVo, we can skip over those commercials, so we can watch the same show in less time, and we can do it in a time that works better for our own schedule. Also, when we watch recorded shows we are far more likely to quit watching when the show ends.
4) Mute the commercials — When a commercial comes on, kill the sound. Use the time to do a quick task, to talk to someone, or to think about what you are going to do after you are done watching. Without the sound you can actually accomplish something with those few minutes. It´s not much, but it makes a big difference.
5) Ban a genre — With a very few exceptions I can´t stand sitcoms, so I don´t watch them. By limiting types of shows that you watch, and slowly tightening those restrictions, you can ct down on your watching time but not your enjoyment.