Even if you know you need to watch less TV, breaking a TV habit can be difficult. Some people develop bad TV habits as a child, which can often continue into adulthood.
You don’t have to give up TV entirely, but watching less TV can free up time and actually be good for your health. Doing it may involve a little trickery on your part, so here’s a look at six sneaky ways to help you watch less TV.
1. Don’t watch shows you’ve already seen.
After primetime shows end for the night, many TV networks begin airing reruns. If you turn on the television after 10 p.m., you might find reruns of favorite shows like Friends, Full House, The King of Queens and more. Even if you’ve seen these episodes dozens of time, you might get sucked into a mini-marathon.
To watch less TV, make a pact with yourself: don’t watch any episodes or movies you’ve already seen. This approach decreases the number of viewing options in the evenings, which means you’ll watch less TV and have time for family, friends, a book, or any number of other things.
2. Don’t channel surf.
You’ll also watch less TV by resolving not to channel surf. In other words, unless you have something in mind to watch, don’t turn on the television. If you channel surf, you’re likely to find something that catches your attention, which could get you sucked into a two-hour movie or a one-hour drama when you could be doing something else with your time.
3. Downsize the number of TVs in your home.
This might seem a bit drastic, but if TV is robbing your time, getting rid of a few TVs in the home can help. Some people have a TV in their living room, their den, the bedrooms and even their kitchen. If you have this many TVs, it might be second nature to hit the power button every time you enter a room. And if a program catches your attention, there’s the risk of procrastinating and never completing anything on your to-do list. The less TVs around, the fewer opportunities to waste time.
4. Don’t bring snacks into the TV room.
Snacking in front of the TV is common, but this simple habit can lead to lounging on the couch and watching TV for hours. With a bag of chips, popcorn and drinks, you don’t have a reason to get up from your chair; and once you’re in a comfortable position, you could spend hours watching TV and never accomplish anything.
Keep snacks in the kitchen and dining room unless you’ve planned a movie night or binge-watching session.
5. Hide the remote.
If you’re watching too much television, solicit help from a family member or a friend. Ask this person to hide your remote, or have them keep the remote in their possession. With the remote gone, you’re forced to walk to the television every time you want to watch a program. This routine will get old quickly, and you’ll eventually find other ways to pass the time, resulting in fewer hours spent channel surfing.
6. Develop a new nightly routine.
Some people spend their evenings and nights watching television because they’re bored. Why not develop another nightly routine to occupy your time? Maybe you could head to the gym, sign up for a class, volunteer or explore a hobby. The less free time you have, the less time you’ll spend in front of the TV.
Breaking a TV habit isn’t easy, but it can be done with a little creativity. Once you’re able to give up TV, you may become more productive – something both you and your loved ones will be excited about.