While many people spend significant amounts of time today watching television, it’s been about 4 or 5 years since I stopped watching TV. I first decided to stop watching the news because it seemed as though there was always something bad going on and it was simply depressing. Later on, I noticed that many productive people all shared the same habit of not watching TV. Eventually, I did decide to buy a TV after I moved to my new flat 14 months ago, a really big one, but opted not to have the cable service hooked up to it, so I could only mirror the screen of my Mac or iPhone through apple TV to watch online courses, movies or some entertainment shows just to relax for an hour or two per day. I suppose that it could be argued that I still watch TV, but the difference is actually that now I am choosing to watch only what I want.
The question is really one of addiction over entertainment. There is certainly nothing wrong with taking a break during the day to get away from work and simply relax. Everyone needs to take a break. Not having cable service has allowed me to choose whatever I want to watch, from YouTube or from my own computer to mirror whatever it is that I want to watch. Now, I can just watch directly whatever interests me, with no commercials and less cost.
In addition, I never have to wait for something to come on that I want to watch. I never waste time flipping through channels while trying to find something that I want. Once you reach that point, it really has become an addiction. That is what most people end up doing and it can be extremely addicting.
Furthermore, it eventually kills your productivity and creativity. You think less for yourself and grow less and less happy. Some people will often say, “Well, I only watch something educational like Discovery Channel.” That’s not really the point. Television is designed to get you in the habit of watching many things that you have not intended to watch or benefit from or even enjoy and over time, it becomes addictive.
For me, it has been tremendously advantageous to simply stop watching. I am more productive and happier. I have also found that watching less TV also makes you more social because it gives you more time to communicate with family and friends. One of the other benefits of living a TV free lifestyle is that you have more time to exercise. You even eat less when you watch less TV. When you spend significant amounts of time watching TV, it encourages you to continue putting something in your mouth. After all, that is precisely what commercials are designed to do, make you want things.
In the end, I have found that a TV free lifestyle makes you far more efficient and actually helps you to lead a higher quality life.