The “Make TV Watching Hard” Experiment

TV

You may remember that in 2015, some dictionary made headlines by declaring “binge-watch” to be their word of the year. Now, if you’re like me you probably take issue with a hyphenated word being given such a high honor in the first place, but let’s move past that… Binge-watching has become a part of our lexicon because the action has become ubiquitous (now THERE’s a word worth honoring) in our society. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, pick your poison, but they all make it super easy to get sucked into episode after episode of whatever shows you happen to be into.

We made the decision to “cut the cord” and not pay for a cable subscription a few years back mainly because the value proposition seemed terrible. You want me to pay dozens of my precious dollars every month for a whole bunch of channels I couldn’t care less about? No thanks. However, I was raised on a steady diet of TV. Huddling up on the couch after dinner to watch the latest prime time hits was standard-fare in the Aardvark household growing up. So, you’d best believe that a lack of cable has not stopped me and the wife from binge-ing through dozens of hits over the years on the various streaming services mentioned above.

That brings me to today and to this experiment. I certainly still love television and movies and don’t necessarily want them gone completely from my life. I think they’re a cornerstone of our culture and I love seeing the ones that are really on top of their game and discussing with friends and coworkers. What I don’t want, however, is the binge-watching in my life. I hate the feeling that I got sucked into watching more than I should have, especially when there are a lot of ways I’d prefer to spend my time. For example, writing to you fine folks here on the interwebs!

Phew, long introduction, let’s get down to brass tacks:

The “Make TV Watching Hard” Experiment Terms

Catchy name, I know. As it implies, I’m not going to go cold turkey with zero TV at all, despite that probably being way more badass. I’m simply going to make it hard to watch TV in an effort to only watch something after making a very conscious decision to spend my time in that manner. Here’s how this will look:

  • First, I’m moving the TV and associated devices- Roku (built in), Xbox, Steam Link- into the cold, scary basement. With it being Winter, I’m not going to be too interested in going down there. (Accomplished this last night)
  • Second, I’m going to try to avoid going down there in the first place by doing more productive things with my time like studying, writing, reading, etc. Meals will become a time for conversation and reading instead of passively absorbing programming.
  • Third, any TV watching will be for a single movie or a single show episode. No getting sucked in and watching them back-to-back!

This will kick off today, December 1st, and last through the whole month.

Give It a Try!

Got something in your life that’s sucking up your time with no real benefit? Whether it’s TV like me or maybe those incessant social media apps on your phone, maybe try a month or even just a week of making it harder on yourself to get sucked in. I’d love to hear how it goes!

Alternatively, if you think I’m a wimp for not just tossing out the TV altogether, that’s fair too…

 

Also, check out my last experiment here.

 

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2 Comments, RSS

  1. Arrgo December 4, 2017 @ 10:05 am

    Really great idea. I agree with you on TV. There is a time a place for it in moderation and sometimes its good to just be able to chill out and watch a show or movie after a long (productive) day. I cancelled my cable a few years ago as an “experiment” and haven’t gone back since. There is too much junk and reality TV anymore that just doesn’t interest me enough to pay for it every month. Plus I have so much other stuff I need to do that’s more important than supporting all the rich networks,executives, and advertisers. I’ve been using Redbox once in awhile plus the free trials on the streaming services. I also have a good HD ant. that gives me some large networks in HD for free. I don’t drink that much but went overboard a few times so I did exactly the same thing you did. I put the bottle downstairs on the far-side of my cluttered basement. Now its much more effort and inconvenient to just grab a quick drink and im better for it. I know people do similar things with credit cards etc. Giving up something or a least throttling it back a lot for a month is a good experiment to try. If you can make it through, you’ll probably realize you don’t need it as much as you thought you did.

    • aardvarkadvisor December 4, 2017 @ 10:17 am

      Thanks, Arrgo. Very interesting about keeping the bottle downstairs. It’s fascinating to me how sometimes something as simple as a small hurdle can be all we need to reevaluate our choices. It goes from being a default reaction/habit to a conscious choice and at that point I think it’s easier to look at the decision in the light of your longer term goals. Definitely agree about learning you didn’t need something the way you thought you did. Additionally, for some things I’ve cut back it actually becomes a better experience on the rare occasions of indulgence. For example, when I used to eat out for most of my meals, it was just routine. Now that most cooking is at home, a meal out at a restaurant feels more like a special occasion and I get more enjoyment out of the food and experience.

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