“I could have done that but I just didn’t have time…”
One of my earlier postings this year was focused on Time Management. Personally, I thought it was a fairly easy-to-understand read and included one very simple recommendation:
Turn Off The TV!!!
Apparently that message continues to elude people. They still complain about “others” who are making progress and getting ahead instead of them. They complain that they aren’t getting “the breaks” that other people are. They complain that “life just isn’t fair!”
While I will grant you that life commonly isn’t “fair”, get over it! You may have been laid off from your last job and can’t find work. You may be in what you call a “dead end job” and your boss is unreasonable. Accept that and move to the next topic: What are YOU going to do about it?
There is nothing that is holding you back but yourself. The critical step in changing your life is to DO something about it.
Whether you are looking for a job or performing one that you don’t like, you need to make some time for yourself. Too much to do to make time? Go back to the title of this posting…
Put the Remote Down and Step Away from the TV !!
How many hours do you spend in front of the TV?
“I only watch a little TV each day. Usually just from when I get home from work just until after the 11 o’clock News.”
Do the math: 6:30P to 11:30P = ~5 hours per day … 35 hours/week (that approaches the amount you spend at work as a full time employee!)
In 2007, according to A.J. Nielsen Company the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. By the end of 2011, TV watching time increased to more than 5 hours per day, without including any computer or smartphone time. (and those readers in the over 50 age categories shouldn’t be smug … most of those hours came from you!)
Dump the TV in the evenings.
Do something with yourself instead of being “entertained”. After work, grab a light dinner and then force yourself to take a 5 minute walk. Longer is OK, but 5 minutes (once around a small city block) should be adequate. Your walk will help break the pattern of behavior that has probably lost you several years.
When you get home, don’t turn the TV on. If someone else is there and already watching “Wheel of Fortune“, go into another room, pick up a book or a magazine. Now read for 30 minutes. Don’t just flip pages, but actually read a chapter or several magazine articles from start to finish.
Congratulations. You’ve just taken the first step into your next adventure!
Now get up and do something active around the house. This is where cleaning out your “sock drawer” or “washing windows” can be a positive activity. Your target is to perform another 30 minute activity that keeps you away from the TV. 30 minutes is not a long time, but you’ll be surprised at how much you get done in 30 minute segments when they are spread across a week or two.
It’s probably still early, so go back to your reading. This time, pick up something lighter, but it’s still important keep your focus.
If you are transitioning from years of evening TV, you’ll probably find it difficult to focus even for 30 minutes. The producers and advertisers have training you to focus for 8-10 minutes at a time, followed by a series of 1 minute commercials. You need to retrain yourself to focus your mind.
Alternate back and forth between half hour “activities” and readings until bedtime. I’d suggest that you plan on earlier bedtime, because, at least for the first 2 weeks, you will become tired earlier than usual.
Of course, your spouse or partner will probably think that you’ve lost your mind. Usually, their response will land somewhere between disbelief and harassment. Remember that this change is YOUR change, not necessarily anyone else’s. Your partner/spouse may choose to join your change, but that’s their decision and shouldn’t be linked to your success or failure.
Just say “Good-Bye” to that energy-sucking box, called a “TV”, and say “Hello” to your new life.
Pick your Direction
It won’t be long before you exhaust the casual reading materials and small chores around your home. Now it’s time to step up and look for your “new directions”.
Return to school? Get a degree in a new field? Join a gym? Fantastic directions, but too ambitious for most of us newly-ex-couch potatoes. Pick something smaller … something well defined … something affordable.
Need ideas? It’s time to brainstorm. The Internet is filled with great sites where you can look for something that might pique your interest:
Do you want to do something more? Look for volunteer opportunities in your area:
- http://www.idealist.org/ << worldwide
- search “volunteer clearinghouse” with your location
Looking for how-to independence?
Whatever you choose to do, just don’t sit there. Become ACTIVE.
The most difficult step is the first one. The next most difficult steps that you’ll take in making a change in your life are those that you’ll take during the following 3 weeks. It takes about 2-3 weeks before you really change your patterns and behaviors. Stick with it … you’ll be amazed at your results!