We recently cancelled our DirecTv package. It wasn't just about saving money - which is nice - but more about saving time. In a Berenstain Bear book we have, mother bear talks about the TV habit. That of passively watching television because it's something to do. With our cancelled package I'm finding out, it's harder than even just that.
Before we went ahead and cancelled we did some research and found that most of the things we did watch were available on Hulu. While we could have quit TV altogether it's not something we view as evil or menacing. We can continue to watch Modern Family and Shark Tank but not an uninterrupted stream of people selling houses, making cupcakes, or sorting through storage lockers. The most surprising thing is that breaking the TV habit has been difficult. When the kids go to bed it is easy, it is customary to turn the TV on. We're still doing that somewhat and just finding something but much less so.
Instead of this, I'm brainstorming things I can do instead of mindlessly turning it on. The reason we rid ourselves of the TV package was to rid ourselves of the TV habit, without some alternative to do though that habit will remain.
- Start winning more in ping pong. We bought a ping pong table and it's wonderful. Everyone should have one. The skills you need to be only adequate at it are minimal, the cost is minimal and you only need one other person to play. My wife and I make it competitive by keeping score of the games won - I'm down by 20 games this year.
- Have my Kindle ready. I've really gotten into reading more books on my kindle because of the convenience and portability of it but I also need to have materials on it. If you haven't yet, check out ifttt.com to take your Kindle experience to a whole new level.
- Rub my wife's feet.
- Clean the house. Instead of watching other people walk around other houses, wouldn't my time be better spent cleaning my house?
- Cook more. When trying to replace this habit - watching mindless TV from 9-11pm - cooking doesn't seem like the best substitute but having it as an option might inspire me to go out to the kitchen.
- Help people at the Wordpress forums.
- Plan a vacation. We're headed back to Disney soon and instead of having my wife shoulder all of the planning I've done some planning and it's really enjoyable. Taking time to talk to your spouse and brainstorm vacation ideas will help your relationship a lot more than each of you staring at a separate screen.
- Write more. I enjoy writing these posts and the reflection it allows.
- Plan a dinner party. We enjoy having people over as guests and I always enjoy going to themed parties. Some ideas, an un-birthday party, a make your own pizza party, a toy swapping party, a clean the yard party, a poker and Prada night party, a soup and smore's party, a spring party.
- Get involved in a community organization. It's always nice to do things in your own home but getting involved with something outside the home can also help break the TV habit.
I suspect that as the weather in Ohio turns for the better and our days fill more with time outside, this habit will become much easier to break.