A Netflix binge is all fun and games until you realize that several hours have passed and a funky smell is radiating from your shirt.
If you regularly binge-watch Netflix or another streaming video service like Amazon or Hulu, you are no alone. Over 61% of Americans admit to binge watching shows regularly, and most don’t see a problem with it.
The Main Problem with Binge-Watching
There are a few problems with binge watching shows regularly, including a laundry list of health problems. Binge-watching strains your eyes, increases depression, and can even lead to premature death according to one study.
However, while people will list all the health issues that can happen from binge-watching, I never hear people talking about the loss of productivity. Every time you binge-watch, you are putting your dreams on the back burner.
Most people say they do not have time to pursue a hobby they are passionate about or to start a side business. However, when you look at the TV viewing habits of America, you will find that a majority of viewers watch up to 30 hours of TV a week. That’s a part-time job!
Imagine if you took only five hours each week and devoted it to your hobby or your side business. You could get a lot done. For example, if it takes 30 hours to write a book, you would be able to finish writing a book in six weeks.
If I only had five hours to freelance write a week, I would still make $750 each week.
What if you wanted to learn a new language, learn a new musical instrument, or find more time to scrapbook or cook or run? All of these activities could easily be done if you had five hours a week to devote to them.
Don’t underestimate the time you have. Instead, look for the holes in your life where time is leaking out unnoticed. Plug them up and take back your productivity.
My Secret to End Binge-Watching
Confession time: I can easily get addicted to a show. One thing I do to stop a binge-watching session is to look up spoilers. This is more helpful for shows that have several seasons available for streaming. It takes about 10 minutes to read through a season’s spoilers, but it saves you hours of watching the show. This method allows your brain and curiosity to be satisfied without needing to watch more episodes.
This works for me because I am addicted to the factor of the unknown. I keep pressing play because I want to know what happens next. A quick Google search allows me to know how the season plays out and shut down the addictive part in about 10 minutes. Many times, when I do this, I realize I do not enjoy how the show plays out in the later seasons. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed the first season of The 100, but as I read the synopsis for season two and three, I didn’t like how different the show had gotten.
This happens so often with shows. The first season is phenomenal, and then slowly each season after is not as good. However, we feel committed to the show and still watch even though the story line has grown stale. What a waste of time!
My Other Secret: TV Freeze
When I need to focus on a project, I put my TV streaming subscriptions on pause for a week. This saves me a little money, and I force myself to focus on just my work.
My husband is working on his master’s degree right now, so this practice is highly beneficial to him too.
Other Tips to Stop Binge-Watching
If my little tip doesn’t work for you, here are a few more tips to try.
- Earn your episode: Force yourself to earn each episode. For example, you could earn an episode for each article you write or for 20 minutes of working out.
- Make your watching productive: Minimize the bad effects of binge-watching by making the time more productive. You can use the time to fold laundry, scrub the floor, clean out a paper box or junk drawer or even do weight training.
- Turn off autoplay: Autoplay lowers our willpower to turn off the show. As soon as autoplay kicks in, we are more likely to tell ourselves, “Just one more.”
Binge-watching is a serious problem to productivity, but I don’t think many people like to address it. I was born at the end of the 80s, which means I was raised on a lot of TV. The TV was always on at my house.
I am one to get easily obsessed with a new series, a video game, a phone game, actually, anything that is fun. I have a hard time just setting a timer for 10 minutes and then leaving it alone. Because I tend to go to the extreme, I have to deal with the problem extremely. I don’t have any games on my phone, don’t play games, and try not to start new shows, no matter how good they look. I also have dramatically decreased how much fiction I read, and I instead read a lot of non-fiction. It is hard to binge-read non-fiction titles, with the exception of The Magnolia Story (listen to the audiobook, you won’t regret it).
So, now you know my dirty secret and why I didn’t show up for your party last week. Kidding aside, I urge you to take a look at how much TV you are watching and figure out how to decrease your time wasted. You have big dreams inside of you, don’t let your favorite shows prevent you from accomplishing them.
What show are you guilty of binge-watching?