How to gain back 13.6 years of your life, in an instant

by | Apr 30, 2013 | Technology

Gain it back

Assuming you live to be 70 (which is almost near-certain considering today’s life expectancies), you’ll spend an impressive 34 hours a week watching TV, which will amount to 13.6 years throughout your life.

Relaxation is important, of course; we need relaxation to allow us to recover from the stress we put on our minds and bodies at other points in our lives. But I personally feel guilty laying on my couch, vegging out and watching an hour or two of television. It seems like a complete waste of time. It’s not an easy habit to break: there’s a ton of great and captivating stuff on TV, but at the end of the day, I don’t think TV serves a purpose in my life. As the overused and corny cliché goes, you only live once. The answer I’ve found was simply to cut the cord.

What to replace it with

A few years ago when I stopped watching TV, I was left with a giant TV-sized hole in my life, but as time went on and I weened myself off of the TV-teet (man, sorry about that analogy), I filled that hole with much better and more productive things. Now I have more time for..

  • Meditation. I wrote an article on the benefits of meditation last week. It helps me relax, defragment, focus, and even saves me time.
  • Writing. I probably wouldn’t be writing this post right now if I still watched TV. I don’t want to pretend like I was addicted to television, but TV presented an attractive enough alternative that I would have chosen it over writing any day of the week.
  • Listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I love audiobooks and podcasts, and carry a few of each around with me on my iPhone all of the time. (You can download both from the iTunes store; most podcasts are completely free, and audiobooks cost about the same as a physical book.) Often I’ll throw on a few chapters of a book and clean my apartment, top to bottom; my body cleans my apartment while my mind is absorbed in the book.
  • Reading. I don’t have a ton of time to read, but I would have none if I still watched TV. Last year, even though I had job and school commitments, and took the time to learn about Buddhism, meditate, write, exercise and get a good amount of sleep every night, I still read 21 books. I wouldn’t have read a single one if I had some precious TV to watch.

How much unnecessary TV do you watch a day? How many other unproductive time wasters soak up your time and energy and leave you from doing cooler things?

Time is a terrible thing to waste. It’s priceless, and it never grows back.

Broken TV image source.

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

Pin It on Pinterest