The Healthy Mind is a platform that strives to share personal experiences and thoughts about self-development and positivity.
I felt that binge-watching has become a hindrance to my self-development. If you feel the same, please read these tips.
If you read the title and went; “well, that’s easy.” Then maybe you’re already all-around productive and don't really need shows and movies to function as a normal person.
But for someone who grew up with a TV as the main source of entertainment in our home, it became one of those habits that I carried out through adulthood. With the feeling of being transported to another world and being part of someone else’s story, it’s immensely difficult for me to keep away from my beloved shows.
Having recently quit my day job, I formulated a plan to improve my skills through online courses while working as a part-time freelancer. However, I easily slipped from this goal. Finding myself sitting on our couch, in my PJs, waiting for the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy to start.
For the first month, binge-watching consumed my schedule. The daily 6-8 hours didn’t feel anything like the time I spent working in the office. It’s effortless, relaxing, and somewhat rewarding.
In the second month, the voice in my head which convinces me to do more productive stuff has grown louder. I no longer found fulfillment in finishing one season after another. And although I’d stop watching for about a day or two, I would later go back to the same pattern.
I felt miserable as I’m no longer making any progress with my professional goals. Ultimately, I just got tired of doing the same thing and decided to unsubscribe from my dearest streaming service. If you’re someone like me who also wants to escape binge-watching, here are some tips:
You don’t have to watch everything
This applies to two points:
- First, you don’t have to watch something just because it’s popular or your friend recommends it. You shouldn’t have to fear missing out. The vast libraries of TV shows and movies are readily available online and won’t go away that easily.
- Second, not all scenes matter - being a completionist, I always dread that if I miss out on a scene or a dialogue I would no longer be able to understand the story. I discovered that this was not really the case. If you heard of “story fillers,” then you’ll know that not all that happens is an important part of the plot. So you can skip certain scenes, increase the playback rate or fast forward to save more time.
Take it Slow
Do you have a show in mind where one of the season enders was an exciting and intriguing cliffhanger? The rush of the last episode has you clicking the “Next” button even if it’s already 3 AM.
But then, at the beginning of the next episode, the excitement of the storyline dwindled down. Still, you’re curious to know how the story progresses after that awesome cliffhanger and you say to yourself; “I’ll just finish this episode.” Then, you look at the clock and notice that it’s already 5 AM because two more episodes slipped by you.
Since streaming platforms have made every episode available all at once, it’s really up to you when to stop. And when you can’t stop, the story becomes dull until you just use it as background music while doing something else on your phone.
Based on a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, people with a slowed rate of consumption have more pleasure in what they’re doing. This also applies to your favorite food or video games. With this, you should consider regulating the streaming time. For example, limit it to 2-3 hours a day. Or if you’re up for it, take one episode as a reward for doing something else more productive (e.g. exercise).
You can create a healthy schedule
You can always set a schedule but preferably not before bedtime. According to Sleep.org, the blue light emitted by our devices disrupts the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps us fall asleep. In addition, watching horror, violence, or suspense can leave you feeling anxious.
Disabling the autoplay feature on your streaming service will also give you more control.
Look for an alternative
To lessen the desire of just plopping your behind in front of the TV all day, pick up other interests that you could concentrate your energy on. Healthier alternatives can be; reading a book, listening to a podcast, or learning a new skill.
Further to these points above, I’m not saying to quit altogether or to unsubscribe like what I did. The key is to have the right balance between productivity and relaxation so you can stay on the right track towards a more fruitful future.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 thehealthymind04