5 Massive Benefits Of Not Having A Television

| February 19, 2007 | 49 Comments

Well it has been about 6 months now since I did the unthinkable and tossed my TV out of the living room.  I have been living without a TV for a while now and I can honestly say I don’t plan on getting one anytime soon.  While it was a pretty extreme measure the benefits are huge and I wish more people would do the same.

Older Television
“Don’t let this Box control your life”

I have decided to share some of my observation over the past 6 month by putting together a list of the top 5 benefits of not having a television.

1.  Having Too Much Time?

I know this may seem weird but when I first tossed out the TV there were times I didn’t know what to do with myself because I had so much more free time.  I remember looking at the clock and thinking “wow” it’s only 8:00 PM when it felt much later. At times I was actually pretty bored but slowly I found things (productive) to do like do like cooking, chores, reading, listening to audio books and going to the gym.

I will add one potential downside to having more free time is I started to do more online shopping.  This is good and bad but I started to buy all kinds of things.  I even ended up trying to eliminate my trips to Walmart by shopping at Drugstore.com using their $10 Drugstore.com coupons.

2.  The Energy Tank is Full

Now why would I have more energy from not having a TV in my living room.  Well, what ending up happening for me was I started to sleep earlier.  This is because what used to end up happening when I did have a TV was I used to watch a TV show and tell myself I’ll go to sleep after the show, but as soon as that show was over I ended up finding another show I wanted to watch and tell myself the same thing.  This would easily keep me up an extra hour or more.

So I get more sleep and feel much better in the mornings and throughout the day.  Really it is pretty simple if you get enough sleep you will be running at optimum levels physically and mentally.  So if you are the type of person that is always reaching for the cup of coffee mid-day you may benefit from this.  You will be surprised to know what kind of chain effect an extra hour of sleep will do to your mood, energy and stress levels.

3.  Holy Crap, I Lost Weight

One of the things that I did with all the free time that I had especially on the weekends was to get more active by going to the gym, playing sports or going to the beach for a swim.  I will say I probably didn’t need to loose a lot of weight though primarily because I am not overweight.  In fact most people would probably say I could gain a few pounds but it has made me live a more active lifestyle.

Another thing I noticed was that I ended up snacking a lot less.  These days I hardly even snack at all.  I think when I used to watched TV I also tended to reach for a bag of chips or cookies.   This was a bad habit and by not sitting on the couch in front of the boob tube I was able to crack that habit really quickly.

Now when I do buy snacks like chips it ends up getting stale because I don’t even finish it.  Snacking while watching TV I think  also causes you to overeat many times because your so focused on the TV show a lot of times that you may not know how much your actually eating.  Imagine how much less Doritos and OREOs would sell if everyone stopped watching TV.

4.  Living On My Time

For me this is probably one of the best benefits.  When I had a TV I used to schedule my time around a favorite show or tell myself I’ll do this or that after a TV show.  Now days I live on my time and am not shackled by the TV shows schedule.

You must be thinking doesn’t a Tivo or DVR do that.  Sorry, but I think Tivo works in theory but not in practice.  I had a DVR and guess what?  I ended up watching more TV not less.  For some people DVR may work but for the overwhelming majority I believe it means information overload.

5.  My Brain is on Fire

Over the past 6 months I have been able to read many enlightening books.  One of them I highly recommend is Getting Things Done by David Allen.  How I see the world 6 month ago has change dramatically because of all the learning and thinking I was able to do with my extra time and believe me this bozo needs all help he can get.

Cover of "Getting Things Done: The Art of...

Seriously though, if you ever wanted to learn a language or do a certain hobby then toss the TV and make those dreams a reality.  Think of all the thing you always wanted to do and replace the time your spend watching TV till you reach your goal.  Right now I am learning how to speak Japanese though audio lesson and Rosetta Stone software.  I always wanted to do it but now I am actually doing it.

Some things that I do miss about having a Television.

  • ESPN Sportscenter – I love watching sports, even though I am able to keep up with the scores and watch highlights over the Internet I don’t get the full coverage like Sportcenter.
  • Local News – While I do listen to the 5 o’clock and 10 o’clock local news again not being able to actually see certain stories do lose some of its effectiveness.
  • Pop Culture – When talking with friends or family I sometimes am left out of the loop because I have missed American Idol or 24 but really it is not a big deal.

I Challenge You!I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe even inspired or enlightened you on the potential benefits of tossing the TV.  I’m sure there are much more benefits especially if you have kids.  So if you decide to take the plunge let me know how it goes.  Good luck and here’s to never having to watch an infomercial for that dam Ron Popeil Rotisserie Oven again!

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Comments (49)

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  1. Yan says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I haven’t been watching TV programs for a couple of years, though I have not tossed it either. Kids still want cartoons, we use TV for our family photo album, and also watch a move every other weekend.

  2. Great, I’m not a parent but applaud parents that monitor what their kids watch and set a great example for them by not being a couch potato.

    I know for some people getting rid of the physical TV is difficult but maybe canceling your cable would also help. By limited the TV channels you receive you will probably watch a lot less TV and still be able to watch your favorite DVDs and family albums.

  3. [...] Raymond David Salas presents How to Solve All of Your Problems Jack Yoest presents Pick a Publicity Shot GP presents Ingredients of Victory Conan Stevens presents Unpopular Geeky Kid At School To Movie Star – Build Self Confidence Dean presents 5 Massive Benefits Of Not Having A Television [...]

  4. John Lampard says:

    Great article! I haven’t had a tv in years. The reception in an apartment I moved into a few years ago was really bad. The owner wouldn’t fix it, so I just gave my tv away. Years later, and I barely miss it, except as you say for news and things like that. OTO tv is great for kids – you can put them in front of some cartoons or something, and buy yourself a few minutes to get stuff done around the house!

  5. Mark says:

    I do have a TV but one that is not hooked up to cable, on the rare occasion I do use a TV is for watching my DVDs when I have time to wind down.

    But I do have to agree with you, there’s so much more time in the day and less snacking without a TV. In fact, I find myself now trying to find time in the day to cram in more things to do without my TV.

    I may have to throw out my computer as well. Just kidding. How else would I find the time to waste blogging my response on your blog? Keep it up.

  6. Yeah, my computer can be a time killer for myself as well.

  7. RJgator says:

    I too stopped watching tv since last Fall! I’m in college and I found that i just wasted too much time on the tv procrastinating instead of studying. But now, I spend too much time on my computer! *sigh*

    You inspire me though. i’ll try to start some of those activities too, especially the reading part.

  8. RJ, I must admit, not having a TV dramatically increases my time on the computer plus I already spend a lot of time on the computer because of my work.

    I think the trick is to make doing other activities a “must” not a “should” in other words schedule things around your activities or “me” time instead of the opposite.

    You make a great point though, why spend your college days watching TV and coup up in the dorm room on your computer? Go act a fool and fall on your face while your college days are still here. Live and Learn.

  9. Victor-Fam.com says:

    Towards Better Life Carnival Edition #6 (March 4, 2007)…

    Welcome to the March 4, 2007 edition of Towards Better Life blog carnival. There are altogether 63 submissions for this carnival. Enjoy reading!
    David Maister presents Managing Your Boss posted at Passion, People and Principles, saying, &#8220…

  10. » CultivateGreatness Success and Growth Blog Carnival #011, March 5th, 2007 ? Personal Development Blog, Podcast, and Portal | Business Success Blog | Cultivate Greatness | says:

    [...] presents 5 Massive Benefits Of Not Having A Television posted at Mr. Cheap Stuff, saying, “What easier way to improve your life then tossing out [...]

  11. Thanks for submitting this to The Writers’ Block Carnival!

    You can really feel the difference when you haven’t been exposed to television, even for a day. Great article.

  12. [...] watching the Pennsylvania an Texas A&M game.  Actually considering that I have gone on a TV diet, this would be the only way I could watch games at my place.  This is one of the few years I [...]

  13. Hosea Botnam says:

    I really appreciate all you’ve said. It’s been wonderful not being controlled by my favorite programs. Since I have been married ( which has been 29 years) we have been without TV 24 years. I missed so many TV shows during that period, but it doesn’t even bother me . I’m so glad that we did it. It is a time robber. Call me, TV free.

  14. Nice story Hosea, it really is “water under the bridge”.

  15. Cam says:

    Haha! You gotta see the TV in my room, it’s still in the box sitting on top the tv stand since we’ve moved into the house this past August. I agree, there are a lot of benefits to not watching TV. Let me know when you’re down for some bodyboarding.

  16. Yeah, less TV = More fun in the sun or time on my darn computer.

  17. [...] also offer tips on how to save power on your TV.  If you really want to save power why not throw out your TV.  Here are some other tips on how to slash your tech bills by [...]

  18. Jenny Bunns says:

    While I still enjoy watching DVDs at home, I hadn’t had cable since college, and don’t plan on getting it. I keep myself busy already, and if I had cable, I’d be too afraid I’d greatly lower my productivity level. And it’s a wonder to me when people can spend so much time not only watching TV, but talking about it as if it’s the only thing bonding one person to another. Small talk is great and all, but not having a TV has also gotten me to develop less superficial interactions with the people around me, as well. Thanks for this article!

  19. Kim says:

    I have a television but only play the same DVDs over and over again because I am too cheap to purchase a dish, antenna, etc. and I do not prefer most of what is offered on the tube. Over the past eight years without “normal” viewing at my home but at a friend’s, I became a t.v. junky. Now, it is when I visit someone’s home and their television is on and if we decide to watch some of what is being shown to the masses, it makes me very aware that it is really is a distraction and is one of my greatest downfalls to living life without wasting away all of my time. So, it really true that without television we can lose the pounds. Over the past 2 years, I went from the mindless couch-potato, 246 pounds, down to a nice 150-160 (not sure)and counting. I am enjoying life so much more now, that I have no desire to return to it. As far as the computer is concerned, I only use as needed but it, like the t.v., is no longer attached to my side.

  20. Diana says:

    I would chuck the TV in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the video game players in my home. They simply outrank me 7/1. =) That being said, the new TV is the internet. You can watch everything from your local news to your favorite TV shows to movies. You just need to know how to access the information that’s freely floating around.
    Check your local news stations website, you might be surprised to find that they offer video service of their latest news broadcast.

  21. Dean says:

    Great point on watching the news Diana, many news stations offer online condensed versions.

    As nerdy as this sounds I am researching how to watch TV at 1.5x or 2x speed. For some shows this does not work but for shows like news it is awesome. Sort of like listening to a podcast or audio books at 1.5x or 2x.

  22. [...] "I couldn’t agree with you more, I wrote about my experience of actually living without a TV.  Personally I don’t think there are a lot of good shows on television, maybe I’m [...]

  23. bjk says:

    We have not had cable for years and love it. We do enjoy to watch movies so we still have a tv in the house. But it is nice, we have to say to each other, hey want to watch ____ and say yes lets do it tomorrow. We play more games as a family and my kids will read for HOURS!!! I love it. We to, can not get into the talk about what happened on whatever show. But we did not normally watch the shows they all watched then so it did not bother us much.

  24. Dean says:

    Awesome, I can see made the unemotional decision of getting rid of your TV. I wish more people would be as bold and give it a try. Now if I can only spend less time on my computer :P

  25. Doc says:

    If I threw out my TV, I would have just enough time to think up and deploy a website describing the benefits of throwing it out. I’ll keep mine since the work has already been done. Thanks

  26. Mohammad says:

    I glad to read this article today. My wife and I canceled out Dishnetwork service yesterday and going to stop watching TV for at least 6 months or more. Yes my 50 inch wedding gift TV will be missing me, but who cares. I read Getting Things Done by David Allen and yes very helpful. Thank you for sharing.

  27. [...] Off the TV and Be Creative.  Turning off the TV could be one of the best things you do for yourself and your family.  The best things in life [...]

  28. MILLIE says:

    I have not thrown the tv out but I went back to only basic cable and no dvr. At first I was stressing about missing shows, not being able to record them and watch later.
    Now I get out of the house more, sometimes just sitting on the balcony to read or going for a walk. I am actually going to the library more. I have also found time to organize paperwork and receipts, hang pictures, send notes or cards to friends and try new healthy recipes.
    It’s great!

  29. Dean says:

    Awesome, I’m glad you unplugged. Sounds like your quality of life has improved greatly by doing something most people wouldn’t dare to do.

  30. Big Cheezz says:

    That was a fantastic job on the article. It is truely inspiring. I myself have left the old habit of watching T.V, now i have to tackle my time on the computer.

    I would get on the comp, having the intention to do some work, but I get carried away, thanks to all the opportunity the web has to offer.

    But i would really like to get on and do my work only and get off, so i can actually work out, raed, and enjoy what life has to offer.

  31. Charlize says:

    Hey Dean -

    It’s funny, I read this article like a day before my boyfriend broke out t.v. I had been telling him we shouldn’t watch so much because we are really letting it take over our lives, but that’s hard when it’s still around.

    Our internet modem was malfunctioning, my boyfriend lost his temper and threw the modem – which hit out our t.v. and cracked the screen. I was furious because the t.v. was still under a year old, we had bought a warranty for it, but that only covers “dusting nuts and bolts every two years”. Best Buy pretty much deemed our t.v. worthless and the $60 warranty was a scam – my boyfriend threw the t.v. in the store and shattered it everywhere. He told me about this and I could tell it must have been liberating. We are forever done with Best Buy!

    It’s only been a few days but I don’t think we will be ever be getting a t.v. again. We are so full of energy and we sleep so much better – late night shows always kept him up. Our friends have a t.v. so it’s not like we won’t ever watch t.v. shows again, but since it’s not in our home we can keep within moderation.

    I love your site! In trying times like now frugal is the name of the game.

  32. Dean says:

    Hi Charlize,

    I tell people to throw out their TV and start living life but I think your boyfriend took it to the next level. I totally agree with you Best Buy warranties are a scam. Good to hear you are freeing yourself from the “zombie box”. Thanks for the comment. Aloha, Dean

  33. Gregg says:

    I donated my 3 tvs about two years ago and probably will never go back. After not being exposed to the bombarding of negative news programming (why do you think they call it programming)I am feeling like I can live again. I exercise more, socialize more, read more books and feel so much better. I must say that it is one of the best things I have done in my life. I f I feel like watching a movie…I just go to the movies. There is so much natural beauty in the real world…much better than seeing it through a screen. You may want to try it for yourself!

  34. Lindsay says:

    I’m a bit cyclic personally—going a few weeks with no TV and a few weeks with, repeat, repeat. I have noticed, personally, that television can take an awful psychological toll!

    Most commercials are DESIGNED to make the consumer feel that something is wrong with them, that what they have is subpar, that they need more more more. (I really feel a sickness in the pit of my stomach when I think about that.)

    I have noticed that the less TV I watch, the better I feel about my physical appearance. I’m sure it affects a minority of males the same way.

    Feeling insecure? Low esteem? Toss that TV right out the window.

  35. Lance96816 says:

    I stopped watching tv when reality shows kicked in.
    None of the new shows held my interest, so I just quit.
    I used to be a TV Addict. TV was on just to prevent me from missing anything. Something would always catch my attention and I would end up watching it.
    Now I have news feed on my Cell phone and computer. And that is all I need.

  36. Jan says:

    We ditched our TV service a couple of months ago, in an attempt to shave $$$ from the budget. Cox raised the rate on Basic Cable Television $2.50, and we decided we weren’t going to pay more for something we didn’t watch anyway, so we called to cancel it. DH said the cust. serv. rep. tried to tell him that it wasn’t possible to drop TV and keep Internet service, but DH told him we have friends in KS who have done just that, plus the local rep. at the Cox store said we could. The guy on the phone said, “Well, we only recommend that for customers with high Internet usage….” and looking at our bandwidth usage on the account, sighed and continued, “…and that would be you.” DH replied, “Got it in one, Neal!”

    We have a DS who will be two next weekend, and we joke about what his reaction will be the first time he’s at a friend’s house watching TV–”Hey, what happened? A what? Commercial? What’s that? Where’s the show? I want to know how the story ends!”

    We use the Internet to download our entertainment, sometimes storing them on shiny round things for portability to the car or Grammy & Grampy’s house. And I love WINamp for my iPod; no more iTunes taking 3 hrs. to scan the HD, or running the risk of viruses coming through it!

    DH told me that the cable companies are wising up to the number of customers they are losing when they try to keep TV and Internet tied, and in this economy, are more inclined to keep some money coming in than to lose an account altogether. And since DH spent 17+ years in broadcast, he also sees this as being a bad thing for network television, and local stations in particular.

  37. Josie says:

    I want to get rid of all the 3 tvs in my home, I am sooo ready for this, the only thing that is keeping me from doing so is my husband and my 12 y.old son, how do I convince them? I think I will pretend there is no tv and go do stuff my self, they will get curious and join me, then, i’ll disable the tvs…:)

  38. Dean says:

    I’ll admit it is hard to convince people to give up their TV. But you could do a 21 day challege and make a reward if they complete the challenge. After the 21 days they could see how it is without TV and make the decision for themselves.

  39. Keldorn says:

    I only watch TV when I want to enjoy a movie (Like A DVD with no commercials). Other then that I haven’t watched actual “TV” probably since 6 years ago. What really drove me away was the amount of commercials, then they started sticking commercials in the bottom of the screen while your watching the show! I just decided at some point in 2005 to stop watching it.

  40. Dean says:

    Awesome story. I know what you mean about commercials. I’m glad you made the life changing switch.

  41. Lauren says:

    I haven’t watched a program on TV regularly in quite a few years! Occasionally, I’ll watch a cable program, usually National Geographic or a documentary at a friend’s house, and when I do get to watch a program, it’s a real treat. We’ve never had cable TV at my house because I was always concerned about my kids watching something I didn’t approve of when I wasn’t there. None of my kids are in the TV habit. We have plenty of things to fill our time. We do rent movies sometimes but I can choose the content. None of us misses TV to tell you the truth. We never got a digital TV converter box or bought a new TV when broadcasters started broadcasting in digital instead of analog; we really didn’t care. Amazing the things you accomplish when your time isn’t sucked up by passive TV viewing!

  42. Tony says:

    I thought I’d do a search on going without TV. Pretty interesting. I’ve thought about it for some time, but haven’t. Kids grades are down some this 9wks also, but my wake up call, last night my daughter asked me to help her with a play practice script & I put her off because I was watching a game & today I feel bad about it as I should. The tv is going out tonight..

  43. Dean says:

    Awesome Tony. Nice to hear other people spending more quality time with their family.

  44. [...] Learn more about the benefits of not having a TV. [...]

  45. Ann says:

    I haven’t had a TV since 1999. It wasn’t the result of a decision really. I sold my TV before moving and then never got around to buying another. Of course, I only watched a few programs anyhow. I have always read more than I have watched TV and my learning style does not favor listening to radio. Plus I never used TV to learn what was happening my my community. Being a print journalist I have witnessed so much astoundingly stupid broadcast coverage that I never trust RV or radio news.

    Recently my microwave died and I am not replacing it either.

  46. Dean says:

    Whoa, no microwave that is hardcore. TV is not a bad thing but most people don’t have the self control and therefore it can be very damaging. Plus, I agree with you that if you are not careful TV can have a negative influence on how you think.

  47. [...] (go ahead — do the math) and $75/month in cable TV savings. What I could do with that money…” The second thing is, “Gee, you must get so much [...]

  48. Jen says:

    I do not own a TV. I go to bed at 8pm every day. The real life is full of drama anyways, I feel like I don’t want to watch any more in the evening.

    My parents think it’s not good for me to be totally TV-free. I am 39-years old.

  49. Niqee says:

    Thanks for posting this. We have not had cable since our kids were born and my kids seem to be the only ones who actually use their imaginations. My big problem is the internet. It sucks you in and 2 hours later you are wondering why you haven’t gotten any real work done. I take online classes so I cannot eliminate my computer (even though I would love to).

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