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

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.

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