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January 08, 2011

I'm Shutting Off TV for a Week

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Bigstock_TV_7528196 It's a brand new year and I'm ready for some brand new challenges.

For me, one of those challenges is time management, and that's why starting right this minute January 8th at 8 AM, I'm turning my TV off for a full week.

Now you might be asking, Hey Megan, you love TV.  You write about TV for God sakes!  Why would you go cold turkey for a week?

Well here's my answer:

Personally and professionally, last year was an exhausting one, and one way I coped was with mindless television.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of mindless television.  Sometimes it's better than Valium for soothing shattered nerves or simply getting out of your own head.  Old shows like "Green Acres" and "The Love Boat" pioneered the concept of mindless television.  More recently, shows like "Bridezillas," "UFO Hunters" and pretty much anything on Lifetime did the trick.

But lately I've been using old episodes of "America's Next Top Model" like a drunk uses Jack Daniels.

Add to that the time I spend watching quality shows for fun like "The Good Wife," "Dexter," "True Blood," and "Mad Men,"  or like during the holidays, a notoriously bad time for quality TV pickings, when I happily indulged in a three season DVD marathon of the excellent British spy series, "MI-5," and you can see that the time I've been spending in front of my TV lately is getting a little out of hand.

Why this week, you say?  Well that's easy.  It has to be this week because the Australian Open starts on the 17th and no way am I missing out on watching Rafael Nadal run around on a tennis court on my beautiful flat screen HDTV.

I'll still use my DVR, recording some shows to watch in two weeks, but I'll only record the essentials.

Here are the other rules I've set for myself:

  • No TV viewing
  • No DVD viewing
  • No YouTube, Hulu or other online video viewing.
  • No video viewing on my Droid X
  • Going out to the movies is fine but only once during the week. 

And because, when it comes to time sucking behavior, the only thing more menacing than television is the video game, I'm allowing myself no computer games of any kind.  No Farmville, Cityville, Frontierville, or Cafe World.  No Solitaire or Jewellust on the Droid X.

Of course this isn't a new idea.  Individuals and even whole towns have been trying this out for years for a variety of sociological, moral and rebellious reasons.  But I'm not a member of the "anti-TV" movement.  This is not a moral statement on how low television has sunk.  No I'm not directing this at you Kate Gosselin--I'll save my blog posts for those rants.

I'm simply trying to become more a member of the "productive time use" movement.  Then in seven days, I'll get back to enjoying my TV and my games, hopefully a bit less willing to allow them to keep me from doing other things I'd like to get accomplished.  For example:

  • Doing research/interviews for a couple of article ideas, and sending out queries.
  • Reading a couple of non-school related books.
  • Cleaning that dark corner of my house that's been neglected for the last six months.
  • Reorganizing a closet or two.
  • Letting my mind breath.

I'm sure there may be a TV publicist or two of mine out there screaming:  "Nooooooooooo!"  Never fear, I'm not giving up TV for good, merely trying to break some time-suck habits and jump start a fresh new year.

To follow along with my little experiment, check in daily.  I'll tell you what I've been doing with my time and what kind of withdrawal symptoms I may or may not be having.

I'll post each morning on the previous day's progress and let's see where I'm at in a week.

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/dont-turn-off-the-tv-week/

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