Monday, July 23, 2007

On doing more with your free time.

Let's say you don't turn on your TV ever again.

Maybe you can pitch it, or give it away, or recycling it - whatever.

If you're the average American, you would gain back about four hours a night. That's almost 30 hours of your life per week. Turn off the TV, and it all comes back to you.

But what to do with that free time?

We've already discussed what TV has done to the average American citizen. It's horrible. We went from the largest participatory democracy after World War II to a nation of lazy couch potatoes who can't find an hour or two a week to give back to our country (take that, JFK).

Not to mention TVs are big energy hogs.

Well, someone has found out what to do with all that unplugged free time. He started an Internet business, and quit his real job after the thing took off.

As he says, most folks don't realize how much time they actually spend in front of the TV. With him, it was less (about three hours).

With me, it's far less. If I watch any TV, it's usually during football season, or watching CNN while I eat breakfast. And I have one sit-com ("The Office," natch) that I just can't miss.

But then I think about how much time I spend farting around on the Internet, and it doesn't take much thinking to figure out where my time-suck is. You're reading it.

I don't watch TV because I'm usually busy doing something else. Either I'm working on a project for one of the two groups I belong to, or spending time with friends, or hanging out with grandma, or running, or meditating, or selling stuff on eBay, or planning giant trips, or...

You get the idea. The point is, there's far too much to do in life. And television can take that all away.

The I-gave-up-TV-to-earn-money guy gives and takes, and knows that there are a few TV shows he doesn't want to miss each week. So sometimes he limits his weekly viewage time.

I cringed at the thought of using my freetime to work even more (I think a third of our life is plenty, thank you). But you can make it into "passive income": take a walk and roll in the dough. Not a bad idea.

After not watching TV for so many years - even in college I was out doing things, not in front of our big screen - I've found I rarely miss it. My coworkers love to talk about "American Idol" and "Survivor" or whatever the latest crime-drama is, but my glaze over as soon as the conversation begins. I'm not a snob. I just don't care for TV all that much.

If anything, I'd rather be reading.

Anything, in the end, can become a time sinker. Shucks, if your nose is in a book all day you can't get much done either. But there's something to be said for responsible, mature time management.

There are far too many wonderful things to experience in life. I'd rather do them than watch them.

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