Do you have a habit that makes you waste time?
One woman realized she was spending hours a day clicking through television shows, despite being too busy to accomplish all she wanted to. That's when Teal Burrell says she decided to give up TV for a year.
We've all read studies that suggest watching television excessively can decrease our mental and physical health (and may even impact intelligence). There is science to back why pediatricians advise limiting screen time for children — Too much screen time has been tied to obesity, behavioral problems and irregular sleep schedules, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But perhaps the biggest problem in today's busy, frantic world is that watching hours of shows per day or week is wasting our valuable time.
In a Washington Post article, Burrell outlines her high aspirations: defending her PhD thesis, launching a writing career as well as earning a qualifying marathon time for the Olympic trials, "but they seemed overwhelming, things I had been working at for years," Burrell said. "I needed more time to read, research, write, run and rest. What if I gave up TV...for an entire year?"
She didn't tell many people about her decision, and sometimes it was hard to keep at her goal when she just wanted time to relax and do nothing (like when she was sick). When her husband wanted to watch TV, she would face away from the screen while he wore headphones.
There were temptations, but Burrell did manage to avoid TV for a year. She defended her thesis, ran her fastest marathon ever — qualifying for the 2016 Olympic trials, started her writing career and even managed to break her own record for books read in a year, according to the Washington Post article.
Giving up television may seem like a simple thing to do, but would you? What if it meant achieving your goals faster because you had less distraction?
Television isn't the only culprit of thieving away our time. Think about unnecessary things you do every day. What about social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others can wheedle away our time. We spend hours scrolling or posting without realizing how much time has passed. Video games (whether through a console or on your phone) are equally destructive to our productivity. And just because you aren't literally watching TV, doesn't mean you're guiltless — Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Video are all big time wasters.
If you don't think you're wasting much time, try documenting what you do with every hour of your day for a month and see if you still feel the same. Could dropping certain activities boost your productivity? What goals could you achieve without the distractions? Could you improve your overall wellness by eliminating much of your screen time? Are there people (like your spouse and children and friends) who would like to spend more quality time with you?
If life feels frantic, busy and like you never seem to have time to get everything done you want or need to, it may be time to prioritize your life. Don't use your time for unimportant, mindless activities when there are achievements waiting to happen and people who need you. See what you can accomplish when you use your time productively.