Follow Up: 30 Day Challenge – Can you do without TV?

It’s been 30 days since I put out the challenge to not watch TV for a month. Speak up and share your experience.

Here’s what I found over 7 years ago when I stopped watching TV…

  1. More time – This is pretty simple. The average American adult watches 5 hours of TV per day. Convert some of that into work or starting a business to increase or replace your income. Convert some of it into personal enjoyment.
  2. Lower discretionary spending – I am susceptible to materialism. When I allow my brain to be bombarded with advertising, it creates a desire to buy things, and I act on it. Advertising continues to happen because it works. The fact that it works means that the more advertisements I see, the more things I will buy. This increases the amount of work I’ll have to do in my lifetime to support my lifestyle and proportionately decreases the amount of time I’ll spend doing things I enjoy.
  3. More productive mode – Watching TV is a non-productive activity. It requires no thinking and no physical activity. Getting into this mode makes it hard to get out. No TV means better mental and physical health.
  4. More sleep – Watching TV at night makes me stay awake for longer. I used to tell myself the TV helped me go to sleep, but a basic comparison taught me otherwise. Without TV, I’m always caught up on sleep.
  5. Better sleep – Going to sleep without noise actually makes me require less sleep.
  6. Did I mention more time? I have a clear set of goals for myself. When I have to decide whether or not to do a certain activity, I ask myself Will this move me towards my goals, away from my goals, or neither? Taking an away activity and turning it into a towards activity has a very powerful effect on how quickly I accomplish my goals.

What else do I do with my time?

In a work week, I work more than 40 hours. Sometimes I work a bit on the weekend. This may sound undesirable, but I truly enjoy most of my work.

The trade off is that I have less work weeks – I enjoy my life… now. Instead of deferring having fun (“retirement”) for another 20 years, I do it all the time. I take a 1 to 2 week vacation every 2 to 3 months. I don’t work less than the average worker, but I also don’t work much more. I take 5 times as many vacations simply through converting wasteful activities into personal enjoyment.

Would you stop watching TV altogether if it meant taking an extra 3 – 5 vacations per year?

Reader Interactions


  1. 1. I agree; no brainer. Let’s assume that you watch 2 hours everyday; that equals 18.25 40hr work weeks every year. Many folks watch more than that.
    2. I agree. If ads do not influence your decisions then your mind is also strong enough to make you levitate.
    3. I agree. When you watch TV then you are informed of what show will be on later in the day or week thereby creating a desire to watch more TV, hence less productive time.
    4. I don’t know. I’ve never had a TV in my bedroom during my adult life. Primarily because research convinced my that a bedroom is for sleeping & just a couple of other things.
    5. same as #4
    6. If every hour spent watching TV was turned in to just time staring at the wall, then I believe your mental health would increase.

    It’s a hard habit to break. Cancel the cable subscription for starters.

  2. I’ve been cable free for most of the last 7 years. I also used to have a 57″ big screen TV and it took up so much space that I replaced it with a projector that sits in a closet when not in use for movies.

    I agree with your #6 response.

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