Starting this weekend I am going to give up watching traditional, long-form television shows for a whole year. I spend more time than I am eager to admit keeping up with the shows that I “like.” I want that time back. I am realizing that the entertainment I’m getting out of these shows is probably not worth the time I spend watching them.
I do not make this decision without remorse. New episodes of Eureka went up on Netflix recently. I still haven’t watched the fifth season finale of Doctor Who. I’ve been enjoying New Girl a ton (Schmidt is one of the best characters on TV right now). Glee is so sickly-sweet. Family Guy, South Park, and Bob’s Burgers are hilarious. Then there are older shows that have hundreds of episodes that I can watch at my leisure–so no Law & Order: SVU or Star Trek TNG for a year.
While I do enjoy these shows a lot, I just know that my time and attention could be better spent elsewhere. So, I am cancelling my Netflix account because I only use the streaming service for shows, almost never for movies. For the few movies I do watch, the Blockbuster down the block has $0.99 rentals. I would also like to somehow block Hulu, but I think I’ll just exercise some self-control.
Now, the exceptions and caveats.
I will still watch these shows if I’m with other people and that is what they want to do. As an example, when I’m up visiting Leah and she wants to catch up on Parks & Rec or The Office. Then her and I are spending time together, and I’ll usually spend that time anyway she wants.
I am not avoiding all video entertainment. I am turning to YouTube and new media where the trend is short-form. New premium channel endeavors like SourceFed by Philip DeFranco and Geek & Sundry by Felicia Day have brought some really high-quality, scheduled content to YouTube. Short-form video is less time-consuming but I usually find it more enjoyable.
With the time I gain by not watching so much TV, I hope to play more video games. That’s not as ironic as it sounds. As it is now, I spend maybe 30 minutes a week playing video games, averaged over a month. So that means I play an hour or so every couple of weeks. And there are some really great games I want to play. Now maybe I can.
I have a queue of books waiting to be read. I keep buying comic books and not reading them. I want to write more. More blog posts, more poems, more fiction should all result from devoting my time to more productive endeavors. Finally, I want to start a project I’ve been thinking about for over a year. I want to build a portfolio that demonstrates my problem solving, programming, and applied math skills. The first major part of this portfolio is going to be a series of solutions to Project Euler problems. I’ll write more about my plans for Project Euler in a later post.
So, yeah, a new beginning of sorts. What sort of ways do you spend your time? Do you feel bad if you spend time unproductively?
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