Friday, 21 January 2011

Things to do when the TV isn’t on (or there’s nothing on it)

For me, living creatively is about feeling satisfied. When you step back from routine and take a closer look, it’s likely you’ll find that those comforting time-fillers aren't actually satisfying at all, they’re just, well, easier than thinking of something else to do.

One of my time-fillers is television. Right now the specific phase is a cross between The IT Crowd and Breaking Bad. The problem with this is that neither feature on the little adelaide TV channels, which means I watch them on DVD. Multiple shows at a time. Over my Christmas break I passed days filled only with Breaking Bad just because I could.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times that a bit of TV is just what I need, when I need to tune out by tuning in. But I consider my time valuable, and I need to make some changes to reflect that. I work five days a week, nine to five, and the time that’s left needs to be spent well.

I believe that the best way to make change is by adding the positive, rather than removing the negative. So, I’m not banning myself from TV, because (like chocolate) banning it just makes me want it more. I've written a list of alternative activities that I’d like to add more of in my life, so that next time I find myself on the idiot box just for the hell of it, I can make a better choice. I've broken my list into four areas: Connect, Achieve, Create and Stop. I figure these are the areas that I feel are most neglected at the end of a TV marathon.

1. Connect
  • Reply to my email and SMS inbox
  • Call my mum
  • Meet a friend for coffee
  • Phone a friend
  • Visit my wonderful little adelaide neighbours

2. Achieve
  • Clean the car
  • Weed the garden (even if it’s night time and dark outside)
  • Wash my woollens
  • Put that picture up on the wall
  • Patch up the hole in the wall behind the other picture
  • Clean the shower
  • Dig a hole (and plant something)

3. Create
  • Craft
  • Cook
  • Bake
  • Make
  • Write

4. Stop
  • Do nothing.
  • Do absolutely nothing
  • Light a candle, and do nothing
  • Make a cup of tea, and do nothing
  • Lye on the grass, and do nothing

A note on stopping: I promise you, if you stop for a minute or two to purposefully do absolutely nothing, you’ll find yourself calming down very quickly from the boredom and discover that 1) you are actually quite content to continue purposeful nothing, or 2) you are ready to phone a friend, weed the garden or make a piñata…

So…. What time-filler thieves your hours? And, what’s something you can do instead?

Kate xxx

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