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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Tips from the Wiki for watching less TV

Watch less TV - 43FoldersWiki

There's a good, evolving page on the Wiki with tips for Watching Less TV. Some of the most immediately useful advice comes in the "Dealing with channel surfing" section:

It can be guaranteed that if you give up channel surfing, you will watch less TV. * Never just turn on the TV and watch whatever is on. * Only ever turn it on if you have first looked at the TV Guide and specifically decided to watch a particular program. * When that program is over, turn the TV off. If your TV has sleep timer, set it for the length of the program. * If you still want to watch TV, consult the Guide again and choose a specific program. * If nothing grabs you, go do something else.

I used to smugly think TiVo was my salvation, but I now realize how often I'm sitting through yet another C.S.I. or King of the Hill--shows I love, but that I have seen a half-dozen times and now just treat like a constantly-replenished bowl of video M&Ms.

Seems like the distinction in quality is subtle when any activity becomes rote; casual media consumption that's becomes automatic or compulsive could probably use a bit of reflection and possibly pruning.

Sean Graham's picture

I find that since buying...

I find that since buying a Tivo 4 or so years ago, I have a much lower tolerance for programming I've already seen... Before the Tivo, I didn't channel surf all that much, but I'd definitely sit through a program I had seen even several times before if it was one of the programs I followed.

Now, since I have a large catalog of programming sitting on my Tivo, I find myself completely ignoring reruns (assuming I haven't seen them), and even have several of my season passes set to "new episodes only". I find myself consiously deciding to watch television and when I do so I am always consuming new information (even if it is, on occasion, complete trash).

I also have found that the Tivo has been pretty liberating... Where as if I had been watching a show like Lost pre-Tivo, I would have scheduled every Wednesday around it, whereas now I sometimes don't watch it until the weekend or the following week. In fact, there are only a handful of shows I actually watch on the day they are broadcast, and I never watch live TV, as I have become completely allergic to commercials.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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