Should You Improve Your Life or Watch Television?

September 18, 2007

If you’re happy with the way things are going in your life, you can stop reading and change the channel to some other site.  If on the other hand, there are things about your life that you’d like to change then stay tuned and turn up the volume : )

TV Schedule
I was listening to some co-workers talk yesterday about the upcoming fall TV schedule and couldn’t believe the conversation they were having.  As they planned out their evenings based around TV shows they reserved 3 hours of their life a night plus a few hours on weekends. Based on their schedule, they’ll spend 15-20 hours a week in front of the TV this fall.

Time is Money
I don’t know about you but I would LOVE to find an extra 15-20 hours throughout my week to do something productive.  For example, I’ve been neglecting my eBay business lately due to other projects and sales have fallen as a result.  If I spent 15-20 hours a week working on it, I could make hundreds of dollars more a month!  Check out this great article on the Opportunity Cost of Watching TV.

Improving Your Life
Of course using your time wisely can be about many things other than making money.  Think about some of the New Year’s Resolutions you’ve come up with over the years that you haven’t achieved.  If you’d have spent 15-20 hours a week working towards them don’t you think you probably would have been successful in reaching more of the goals? Take a look at some of the things people decide they want to do:

  • Lose Weight
  • Learn a New Skill
  • Get a New Job
  • Get Out of Debt
  • Travel the World
  • More Family Time
  • Get More Sleep

Don’t these all sound like better things to do than watching television?

The TV Trap
I’m horrible about walking through a room and getting sucked into a TV program but I do my best to fight off the tractor beam of the TV as it pulls me in. It is nice to spend 30 minutes zoning out in front of the television but it’s so easy for 30 minutes to turn into several hours.  One of my least favorite feelings is when I get up from the TV and I realize I’ve wasted the night away in front of the screen.

Break Free from TV
Just remember, most anytime you hear a radio report or read an article about someone reaching their goals despite the odds or accomplishing some great feat, that person likely didn’t do it by sitting in front of the television.  Keep that in mind next time you think you hear your entertainment center calling your name.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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10 Responses to Should You Improve Your Life or Watch Television?

  • jack


  • Ben

    Chris, maybe if you watch TV for enough consecutive hours you’ll break a world record and get a book deal : )

    Of course what you get out of watching hours of TV is really based on what you’re watching. Getting parenting tips from Super Nanny or learning how to re-tile your bathroom from a home show is much better than mushing your brain with Laguna Beach.

  • Chris @ Martial Development

    I, for one, would like to hear more about the benefits of watching TV for hours at a stretch!

  • SavingDiva

    I don’t have cable…but I would still say that I watch DVDs for about 10 hours a week…I know I should cut down…and workout…or study for the GRE….

    Great post!

  • Ben

    I’m not saying you should never watch TV, just in moderation. paidtwice, that’s a good idea, combine something productive with your TV watching so its not a dead hour.

  • paidtwice

    I can’t just cut the cord completely – I tried that once, I ended up completely reverting and watching hours a day lol.

    But I will say I don’t know any new shows, the shows I like keep getting cancelled, and my one “appointment” hour of TV a week I fold laundry during 🙂

  • David

    I don’t know, LOST is on soon. 😉 Great article!


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