As part of my Buy Nothing New challenge, I cancelled my Netflix subscription. Even though I have only had it for a few months I knew it wasn’t having a positive effect on my life. Netflix is good at making you watch things episode after episode as soon as the current episode ends the next episode starts loading automatically, ready to start in 15 seconds.
And I am not alone in my preference for watching stuff, it is the number one pastime for Australians. On average Australians spend over 2.3 hours of the day consuming audio/visual media activities i.e. watching television. Over the pond, Americans are at a slightly higher number at 2.8 hours average a day. When you look at these numbers without any context it doesn’t seem like much but it adds up.
Remember those 2.3 hours that are spent watching TV per day? Well, it takes time out of other types of leisure such that people spend 1on average 13 minutes on their hobbies, 21 minutes on sport and outdoor activities, 23 minutes reading, and 10 minutes socialising per day. Plus, 2.3 hours a day over the period of a whole year it adds up 839.5 hours total, which equals to 104 working days! Imagine what you can do with all that time. This is where you can carve out the time to relax, to see your favourite people, or work on your art, anything that you have been meaning to get to. However, doing is not always as easy as saying.
“I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room & read a good book.” – Groucho Marx
I am no Groucho Marx, I like sitting down to watch a well-directed film, I love documentaries and I have a soft spot for BBC period dramas. I know from experience planning my viewings work out to be a much better experience. When I moved out of home two years ago, I decided to not get a TV for the new place. Often, watching a movie or a show was the default when I lived at my parent’s home. I would watch TV after school and work. The reason for that was because I had not planned any other fun or relaxing activities after the working day and TV was just what was there. Often what I watched then wasn’t even good, it just happened to be on - just noise to fill the void.
The trick with watching less TV and using the time from the efficiently seem to make sure you have replacement activities as well as planning in advance. In the two months without Netflix, I have been writing more, reading, going to the beach, and have started meal prepping in the evenings that have now been freed up. I am also planning to source a second hand Scrabble set, so I can have Scrabble nights.
How to Quit Netflix (plus some other screens) and Do Awesome Stuff
Step 1. Cancel your subscription to Netflix, your cable, and give or sell your TV.
Step 2. Now to fill the void with an activity that is good for you because sitting still in silence is hard, especially if you have avoided it all your life. These activities can include going for a walk, exercising, getting enough sleep, meditating, sewing, writing, learning a new language, practicing your music, making art, spending time with your loved ones, learning to make stuff (i.e. food, furniture), starting a business, or starting a revolution, your choice.
Step 3. Plan what you really want to watch. Now that you are only watching things because you want to and not because you are bored you can be really selective and make the most of it. Watch documentaries in the areas that you have always been interested in, or the films by your favourite director, or TED talks. One thing that I have been enjoying lately is watching my childhood favourite cartoon in French so I can improve my French and watch something I enjoy.
NOW TO YOU
How about you? Do you watch TV or have you stopped watching for a while? What would you like to do if you if you had just a little bit of free time? I would love to hear your thoughts!
With love and simplicity,