I’m Going to Give Up Watching TV for One Month

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Hey guys,

I’m still reading Cal Newport’s ‘Deep Work’ and I’ve just had my mind blown again.

Mind-blowing = when I hear something so radical but something that makes so much sense to me I can’t help but pay attention and take action.

Time Sucking Television

In the section ‘Quit Social Media’ one of the things that Cal talks about is how nefarious television is in sucking away our time. 

It’s a way of rendering us almost comatose; existing in a dream-like ‘hallucinatory state’ (according to some further googling I did). The ‘upsides of it’ are net-negative when you look at what it gives you versus what it takes.

It’s funny thinking about this because it’s not the first time I’ve heard this statement.

Do you think Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and the like spend their time watching TV?

It’s been an incredible journey I’m on if you’ve been following my most recent blogs.

Running The Math

Anyway, I think as a rough estimate in my downtime I’ll pack in on average 2 episodes of ‘something’ per day.

Especially if you include the weekends where there’s more time available to us.

I counted it up.

2 hours per day x 365 days per year is 730 hours.

That’s insane. Think about that? 730 hours?!

What in the actual hell?

If you divide that by 24 you get almost 30.5 days…

😯😮😨.

What It Does To Your Brain

Then if you google the effects of watching television…

So then what the hell am I doing by watching TV for 2 hours per day?!

Again this is a huge revelation to me given I’m determined to become the best version of myself – that I spend copious amounts of time watching Television.

Just a quick google of it will tell you all about the negative sh*t it does to your brain waves, to your temporal lobe, to fueling addiction, dopamine overload, leading to stress and generally just making your less intelligent.

What I’ll Replace It With

As is evident here – I LOVE writing and creating – so why don’t I simply create more?

What will I give myself back if I even halved my television consumption?

Especially at the weekends when I use it ‘being the weekend’ to reframe what I do with my time?

It’s very interesting as I go on this journey of self-discovery to slowly audit each and every segment of my time and look at the large portions of nonsense I fill it with.

Currently, it’s watching ‘Jack Ryan’ on Amazon Prime. With my girlfriend, we’ll typically watch two episodes of ‘New Girl’ together during dinner as well – and I can often get through two episodes of Jack Ryan myself.

2 hours might be me underestimating my TV watching time in truth.

Either way, it’s evident I watch too much.

I vaguely sense I’m heading in the right direction because I’m writing more than I ever have, I’m waking up earlier than I ever have and I’m giving more control to my team than I ever have..

Now I’m beginning to look at my own time from a more macro perspective and I’m realising that I’m capable of doing so much more rewarding and engaging things with the ‘spare time’ I have.

More books, more language learning, more conversations…less passive stimulation

Copying The Successful

And again upon a quick ‘Google’ of the habits of successful people – you’ll find that none of them are watching television for more than an hour a day.

I’ve not really closely monitored and then mirrored what successful people actually do. I’ve got to mention Eric Watson here.

He’s a good friend of mine who said that ‘people constantly try and reinvent the wheel’ when actually you shouldn’t. Begin with looking VERY closely at what successful companies do and mirror them.

Copy them.

I know he would have said the same is for successful people as well – and I now take this to heart – not in respect of a marketing/growth mindset type of strategy – but more of a deeper analysis of how the successful literally spend their time.

What DO they do (learn, work, spend time with loved ones), and what DON’T they do (waste time on television and social media).

It’s very simple in essence but something I’ve totally flouted.

Taking Action

So a couple of things have just immediately happened upon having my world shaken by something seemingly as simple as ‘stop watching TV bro’.

  • I went into Popcorn time (the Mac desktop app I used to stream movies) and I’ve uninstalled it from my computer. 
  • I went over to Netflix and Amazon Prime on my mobile phone and uninstalled it. 
  • I’ve also went onto my laptop and logged out of Netflix and have blocked it permanently from my being able to access it 
  • I deleted my girlfriend’s Amazon Prime details from my laptop (because we watch it from her account but on my laptop – we’ll now switch).
  • I’m going to attempt to ONLY watch television if I’m watching it with Strawberry – alone I won’t watch it.

I want to give this a go for a full calendar 30-days all the way until the 19th June – and only watch television if I’m watching it with someone.

I’m nervous (no TV? What do I do with my time? ‘Start answering hard questions’), but also excited.

Before I thought I had no time – now I realise I have more time in my life than I’ve ever had – and it’s always been staring me in the face.

_____________

Measure Everything

So – I added that line break because I’ve just come back from a run.

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Ordinarily, I used to add images so you could see items I made reference to – but I think I’m going to have my internal marketing executive Lydia add them when she can figure it out in post so I can focus on the core ‘deep work’ of writing.

You might remember I mentioned I bought a Wahoo Tickr Fit Armband to measure my HR. Used it today for the first time and synced it to Strava.

It’s awesome to be armed with data and to see I ran at a 7 minute 30 per mile pace today (I thought I was faster than that).

Data really is important.

‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure’ I used to wholly ignore. 

Now I’m a devotee of it.

___________

Running The Numbers

Which brings me back to this blog – because whilst I was out I continued listening to Deep Work and there was a study done of British 25-34-year-olds and their TV watching habits in 2013.

This age group (which includes me at 33) predicted they spent 15 hours watching television a week – and yet they actually spent 28 hours a week watching TV.

According to this blog I just found – 

The average Brit watched 19 hours and 17 minutes of TV in the week July 15th 2019.

That’s ridiculously high.

My stomach just turns upside down hearing those numbers.

Given that number, I’m going to conservatively (maybe naively) assume I watch 2.5 hours per day – so slightly less than the NATIONAL average

So now let’s add that up >>>

That’s 912.5 hours a year or rather a full 38-days of watching TV.

My Audible Numbers

I still find it mindblowing when you run the numbers on something like that.

How much time you can give yourself back.

I’m excited about all of the potential ramifications that come from reducing my time spent watching television.

It also gave me cause to look at my Audible listening for this month.

I’ve listened to around 8 hours in the month of May.

In Jan/Feb/Mar/April….0 🙁

So, of course, the idea here is I get my television down from 17.5 hours a week to 8-10 hours a week (assuming that’s how much time I spend with Strawberry in front of the television)..

And get my reading time up to a minimum of 15 hours a month.

Btw that might sound like a lot but it’s actually 30 minutes per day when broken down.

Not much at all

My Duolingo Streak

For the longest time I chose NOT to learn Italian because I felt I was too busy and it wasn’t a priority. I’ve just reinstalled Duolingo and am currently on a measly two-day streak.

But now I’m culling television for a month I’m going to try and get this up to a seven-day streak to begin with….

No excuses right.

The Quick Wins

This dive into changing everything about the way that I work is continuing further still.

I spoke to agency friend Ross Tavendale and he said he takes no calls, no meetings and no social media before 1pm.

That was a revelation as I had just moved all my meetings to 11am onwards.

I’ve now switched my calendar booking app to only allowing external appointments between 2 – 5.30pm everyday. 

I’ll no longer take calls outside of that with anyone who isn’t Pearl Lemon.

I’ve also just paid another Lead Generation expert who believes he can book calls for Pearl Lemon. 

This new time is making me recognise that I MUST focus on the activities that will help us scale.

Furthermore, I’m giving back my team responsibility to work on all of our internal projects and getting much less involved.

Looking back on it I created more problems than solutions from my involvement.

The affiliate sites (I own 4) I’ve done an equity share agreement with a friend in the space – I fund everything he runs it for 25% of the profits after costs.

I point out all of these things because I’m beginning to become more aware to what IS important and what isn’t.

Of all of the things within my sphere of influence as well I’m going to focus on the business ventures that stand to become 7-8 figure businesses

Final Thoughts

I’ve actually suspended my ‘ordinary’ working day whilst I go through this metamorphosis. Working inanely upon projects without the education of the more successful who have gone before me seems incredibly stupid.

And I’ve been working blindly, and ignorantly for too long

Had I actually have read just these two books Oct 2016 when I started my agency journey – who knows where I’d be today?

So let’s see where giving up a television outside of watching it with Strawberry takes me as I continue aggressively down this path of self-development.

I hope you’ll join me.

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