Is TV getting in the way of your decluttering success? Is it preventing you from achieving other goals as well?
Television Gets in the Way of Your Decluttering
I’m sure you’ve heard it before. You might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, TV is bad, I’ve heard it before, but I enjoy it and I’m not giving it up.”
That was me ten years ago. I watched all the usual evening TV sitcoms, dramas, and reality TV. I had no intention of giving it up.
Then something clicked. I started considering the value of my time. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. If you are making minimum wage, that is the value for one hour of your time. (Likely you may place a higher value on your free time, but we’ll work with this number for now.)
Assume you are watching TV for one hour. Would you pay $7.25 to watch that TV show? The average American watches 35 hours of TV per week. That’s five hours per day. Is the TV you’re watching worth $36.25 per day?
Choose Better Quality TV
I started to consider the quality of the programming I was spending time watching. For each show I watched I began to consider whether or not I would pay to watch that show. Sadly, most shows on television, didn’t rate as something I would pay for. Rather than giving up TV, I started being more selective in what I watched. I began to fill my normal TV time with movies, either on DVD or streamed through Netflix.
Most movies are significantly better than your average prime time TV series, and most of these I was willing to pay for. Switching to high quality programming, like movies and a select few TV shows (mostly premium channel shows on DVD or streamed through Netflix), allowed me to free up a little bit of time.
After a short time we decided to cancel our cable TV, and relied on the main network channels and Netflix.
Gradually Watch Less
Gradually, as I made my way through the good stuff on Netflix, I started running out of good stuff to watch. We started replacing TV time with other things. We took walks, rode our bikes, and played games together. When we decided to declutter our home we had gradually tapered off much of our TV watching. That left us free to declutter without worrying about missing something on TV.
Less Time in Front of TV = More Focus on the Task at Hand
Some of you might be thinking, “I like to declutter or take care of chores while I watch TV.” Be honest though, how well does that work? Would it work better if you could be more focused and give your full attention to the task at hand?
I’ve tried sitting down with a pile of papers to sort through while watching TV. Here’s what happened. I got sucked up in what was happening on TV and I’d spent 15 minutes watching. Then I’d realize I was supposed to be decluttering and I’d spend two minutes sorting through papers. Then I’d get sucked back into TV and in an hour of TV watching I’d get maybe 10 minutes of decluttering in.
This is incredibly inefficient.
Replace TV time with Something Beneficial
When we started watching less TV in our family we made room for things that were more important than TV. If I were to ask you – Is family time, decluttering, cleaning, taking care of your home, or setting an example for your kids more important than watching TV? – You would likely say “YES!”
The simple fact is, you can’t make any real progress on anything if you spend 40 hours per week working and 35 hours per week watching TV.
I’m not asking you to go cold turkey on TV, but cut back a little and start focusing on something more beneficial.
I suggest picking a day or two that don’t have any of your favorite shows or sports on TV, and declaring those days “NO TV DAYS”. Simply leave the TV off all day, and replace the TV watching time with something else. Cleaning and decluttering would be a great use of the time. Doing family activities would also be a good use.
You can do it, I know you can!