Television: The ultimate waster of time and happiness #MummyMondays

tv addiction

Do I have any guilty TV pleasures?

Game of Thrones, Desperate Housewives or Orange is the New Black perhaps?

No. In fact, I’m simply guilty of having a TV addiction and watching TV for the sake of watching TV.

After a busy day, once dinner is done and Elliott is in bed, it’s almost like the couch and I are magnetized. It drags me in, I can’t pull away because the force is too strong. I plonk myself on the couch, put my feet up and will pretty much watch whatever is on the screen. It’s relaxing, it de-stresses. It’s a REALLY bad habit.

No matter how many times I’ve told myself how bad it is and realising how much time I’m actually wasting, it’s just like any other habit, I keep going back.

I’ve thought about how productive I could be, how many books I could have read, how much more I could be on top of my blog if I used the time to write and how many of the other things I’ve always wanted to do I could have already achieved. And when I think about it, well, it’s a bit depressing.

Yet even though I know the benefits and what I’m missing out on, I continue to get sucked into ‘the box’.

It’s scary to total up the number of hours I watch television a month. Even scarier is this statistic from Gretchin Reynolds.

“Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.”

Geez Louise! I think that’s just about enough to stop me.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one that loves to escape to the lounge room. Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Scientific American explain it beautifully in that television is an easy provision of relaxation and escape, it’s beneficial in limited doses. Yet when the habit interferes with the ability to grow, to learn new things, to lead to an active life, then it does constitute a kind of dependence and should be taken seriously.

Right. Now I’m taking it seriously.

But how do we escape this habit, this TV addiction?

How to overcome TV addiction

Face the facts

Well firstly, just as I am doing, we need to face the facts and consider the fact that there is a problem. Just do the figures and then work out how much your life has been cut short and you’ll find that like me, you have a problem. Eeek.

Recognise the triggers

I’m going to admit that there are points throughout the day when I catch myself dreaming about curling up on the couch to watch TV. It’s these thoughts that need to be jumped on and turned around as a reminder not to go there.

Bit by bit

I’m not saying go cold turkey (if this is what you want to do, go for it),  but you might want to try cutting out TV a little bit at a time. Let’s say you normally watch TV from 7.30 pm to 10 pm. Why not start off with only watching TV from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm and then move to only watching TV on certain days and see how you go.

Keep thinking about the impact on your life

There’s no doubt in my mind that I will keep thinking about that statistic from Gretchin Reynolds and how many minutes of my life I could potentially lose by watching television. I’m going to remind myself of what I’m missing, how it’s affecting my health, my stress levels, my ability to be organised and on top of work and life in general. It’s simply just not worth it, it’s time you won’t get back.

Find alternatives

It’s going to be mighty hard if you don’t have anything else to fill the gap, but that’s easy, make something to do! As I mentioned earlier on in this piece, I know exactly what I’d do – I’d write, read or listen to podcasts. Why not start a hobby, start a blog, exercise, do some cleaning, sell unwanted items online…there are so many things you can do!

Another alternative, and this is spinning the perspective around a bit, is to start going to bed earlier to wake up earlier. There are many people that are more productive in the morning. I know I am!

Writing this article has really got me thinking.  It’s been a bit of a wake-up call and I thank Kirsty from My Home Truths for the prompt “Guilty TV Pleasures” for I Must Confess otherwise I would have never embarked on this topic.

I don’t want to be years down the track looking back on how much of my life was wasted watching television, television that hasn’t really improved my life in any way except for perhaps giving me a tiny bit of short-term relaxation and entertainment value.

How do you feel about TV? Do you feel you watch too much?  

Mummy Mondays

Welcome to February everyone and thanks for coming! Link up one of your fave posts from the past week and share the comment love!


Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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26 Comments

  1. February 1, 2016 / 6:57 am

    Unless we’re out, we plonk on the couch every night (tho we are out a lot!) but we have started having a game of banangrams together after dinner before switching the tv on….so that counts, doesn’t it?

  2. February 1, 2016 / 7:59 am

    I don’t have a TV prob. In fact, I wish I watched more of it. I don’t have any favourite shows or watch any current TV series besides Doctor Who when it’s in season. Instead, I buy DVD boxsets which I rarely get to watch because they’re not TV series for kids (ie Little Britain!)
    My kids are gamers (hubby too) so there’s usually no TV available for me. Sigh.
    Jody at Six Little Hearts recently posted…Babymel Grace Review – WIN A Stunning Nappy Bag Plus an Exclusive Discount Offer! #SLHFeaturedThursdaysMy Profile

  3. February 1, 2016 / 8:31 am

    I do actually prefer reading over watching TV. And we don’t have Netflix or any of that, so that limits you to what’s on free to air, which is basically all bats, balls, boring to me (not a sport fan-ahem). It is good to have at least one favourite show to look forward to, though. Great tips for overcoming addiction.
    Ness recently posted…I Like To WatchMy Profile

    • February 1, 2016 / 5:12 pm

      Haha…we only have free to air too (oh and Foxtel, but it’s the basic channels and the sport package) and I’ve been so sick of the sport! I really look forward to getting into some reading again, now to find some good books to add to my list!

  4. February 1, 2016 / 8:49 am

    I’m more of an iPhone addict..always checking and looking at FB IG and twitter. My attention span does not seem to match tv viewing…LOL. However, I also know that I need to come ‘off screen’ more and often think about going outside and sometime I actually do!! Thanks for your link up, I have renewed my blog appearance and wanted to share this news around! Cheers, Denyse

  5. February 1, 2016 / 10:40 am

    Yep, I could totally use these tips and I try as much as possible to multi-task while watching tv and will usually have my laptop/ipad/iphone going at the same time but am not sure this is being effective either. I used to spend about the first 30 minutes or so after work just sitting on the couch and completely zoning out on some random tv show as a way of distressing and letting go of the stresses of the day. I really think it helped. Travelling also helped break some of my tv addictions! But I will confess to currently binge watching season 2 of OITNB!!! hehe…

  6. February 1, 2016 / 4:15 pm

    MInd you, you *are* pregnant, so you’re probably too exhausted to do much else in the evenings if you are anything like I was! My fave TV viewing at the moment doesn’t make me feel guilty at all – we’ve been watching The Tribe on Monday nights on SBS, and I’m a sucker for One Born Every Minute. But I’m also very glad the X Files have made a return, so that can be my trash fix!
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted…Fashionomics Report: JanuaryMy Profile

    • February 1, 2016 / 5:10 pm

      Yes, but I think chilling out and reading a good book or listening to a podcast would still be a better use of my time. I did have to watch the XFiles last night too…I’ve got to give myself a little bit of tv time. All about balance. 🙂

  7. February 1, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    I watch TV at night because it helps relax me. I usually comment on blogs and read while I have TV on in the background. A lot of the time I have it on simply for the background noise too.

    • February 3, 2016 / 3:23 pm

      Yes, I’ve heard of a lot of people doing it for background noise. I totally get the whole relaxation thing. 🙂

  8. February 1, 2016 / 7:47 pm

    I know I watch too much TV. What’s worse is I watch with my computer on my lap at night so I’m never really concentrating enough on anything. It is way too easy to do it, particularly when you’ve had a long day. Nathan and I have talked quite a few times about only turning the TV on certain nights and working or reading on the others. But as yet we haven’t followed through. I’m hoping your post can help me add that to my schedule!
    Kirsty @ My Home Truths recently posted…I must confess…my guilty TV pleasuresMy Profile

    • February 3, 2016 / 3:24 pm

      I must admit I’ve tried the whole multitasking with the computer or iPhone too and it just doesn’t seem to work. Yep, I’ve had that convo with hubby too but when one doesn’t pull through on the arrangement it all turns to s#$t. I’ve decided that I’ll just make the rule for myself now. 🙂

  9. February 1, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    It’s interesting that its meant to shorten your life because my psychologist actually told me I should watch an hour or more of tv each night before bed so that I would be more likely to sleep. She said being on the computer was really bad so I guess I’m stuffed because I’m usually watching Netflix on the computer haha. Oh well.
    Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted…Dreambaby home safety products review + giveawayMy Profile

  10. February 2, 2016 / 1:57 am

    I’m not really addicted to tv per se, just a couple of tv shows. I can’t live without certain ones because we’ve watched them since the beginning. I try really hard not to get sucked into new ones though. Thanks for hosting, have a great week!
    Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh recently posted…Peanut Butter Hot ChocolateMy Profile

    • February 3, 2016 / 3:21 pm

      Yes, it’s the new ones that are tough! I know with me I like the look of a new show and before long, it’s another one to add to my list!

  11. February 5, 2016 / 9:10 am

    I probably watch far too much t.v. when I am home. The fact that I work 4 evenings a week cuts my ability to have any shows I watch in particular. I’ve become a sucker for morning and lunch time t.v. though, mind you the midday thing is only if they are playing a show I want to watch. I often do multipul things at the same time like putting on washing, blogging, checking social media, chatting on the phone to family while watching the same show, cooking … that kind of thing. I have also been trying to use the exercise bike during morning telly. It does become a bit of a time waster though but much more appealing than house work.

  12. February 8, 2016 / 3:30 am

    I am constantly amazed at what people choose to view on their televisions. Sitcoms? Reality television featuring people with bad taste, poor judgement and few manners and sports. With cable or satellite, you can run science 24/7, learn about different cultures and explore history, all from the safety of home.

    The problem isn’t the television, What you watch or listen to makes it a waste of time and emotion. Before placing yourself in the “addiction” zone, and I truly believe that word has lost its value through overuse, try viewing or listening to informative and educational programs.

    Be kinder to yourself and your habits. They are often your shield against insanity.
    Valerie recently posted…5 Steps to Greater ResiliencyMy Profile