The Internet and television have given viewers an almost infinite number of things to watch. The problem is not deciding what to watch or where to watch it. The issue is how much time is spent watching things that should have never been watched.
Take the now-completed series “Lost,” which has 115 episodes with an average run time of 42 minutes each. That equals more than three days of nonstop television watching. And this is better than having watched it during its original run of an hour on T.V. That would have been close to seven days over the course of six years.
Now, that is just one popular television show. According to Nielson ratings for 2009, the average American watched 153 hours of television, and 131 million people watched an additional three hours online a month.
When you do the math, that means a little over six days a month — which equals 72 days and 12 hours a year. The addition of three hours a month of watching T.V. on the Internet ups the average to 78 days. There are only 116 days in this semester, including weekends and vacation days. And if you have a 20-hour a week part time job, that only adds up to a little over 43 days a year.
T.V should not be abandoned. It’s just the easiest place to start taking time away, and then applying those hours to different areas of life. A two-hour workout, three days a week, will subtract about 13 days from the time spent watching television.
Actually spending an hour of studying a day for the 101 that are left in the semester will give you four days back. The 115 spent in spring semester will give nearly five days back, making a total of nine days a year that will prevent the stress of having to cram for things at the last second or trying to write a research paper the night before its due.
How about taking time to actually cook instead of going for fast food? Spend 10 minutes to cook eggs in the morning, five to make a sandwich for lunch and 20 for dinner. That’s over eight days cooking (and adding control over what you eat) a year.
This is not about taking time from the programs that you enjoy. It’s about taking time from watching reruns, or turning on the T.V. when there is nothing better to do besides channel surf. One of the quickest ways to get time back is to watch it on the Internet or use a DVR.
The average run time for an hour-long show is 42 minutes. That’s 18 minutes of commercials. For 30-minute shows it is 21 minutes. That is nine minutes of commercials. so mindlessly turn on the T.V for two hours will equal about 36 minutes that is spent just watching commercials. Do that everyday for a year and that is over nine days spent watching ads.
Now if you get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, that is 121.7 days a year. That leaves people with 243.3 days that can be decided what to do. If you decided to watch the average amount of T.V. that leaves only 90 days. Add a 40 hour a week full time job (86.9 days) and you’re are left with only 3.1 days to get everything that you need to do done. So the next time you feel like time is running out on you, turn off the T.V.