I don’t watch a lot of TV because I think it’s generally a waste of time. Most of the programs are poorly written and not at all entertaining, and with the number of channels now offering programs, I think there is a real lack of good material available. Reality TV is so far from reality that it’s hard to watch.
That being said, now that I have retired I find it easier to sit in front of the TV more in the afternoon when I could be doing more productive things. So now I try to make that time more useful by doing other things while I watch. Then I don’t feel like I am wasting my time!
Sometimes I do bigger chores during the commercials (this is when I get my dishes washed or get the washer loaded and started), but I also use the regular program minutes for some less time-consuming things that need to be done.
Here is a baker’s dozen of ways you can enjoy TV-watching time without feeling guilty, and finish those little household chores that need to be done:
Work on crafts. I use TV time to foil my stained glass pieces which I later solder together in my studio. If you like knitting, scrapbooking, shell crafts, etc., this is the time to finish a project or even make a gift for the holidays.
Exercise. While I hate the word, I realize it’s vital to a healthy lifestyle. How many of us actually get enough exercise? I work in an office in the morning, then create stained glass pieces in the afternoon. Not much exercise there! While watching a TV show, or during commercials, I can do sit-ups, lift weights, use my stretch band or do some simple isometric exercises to get some workout time in.
Catch up on your reading, either a book, a magazine or the newspaper. This is something I only do during commercials, but that still leaves a lot of time for reading!
Create menus for the week. Using your cookbooks or a list of foods you have on hand, come up with some realistic plans for daily meals. I often combine this task with the next one so I am sure to have what I need for the meals I plan.
Draw up a shopping list. Check the cabinets, the freezer and fridge, even bathrooms to see what items you will need to buy that week. While I keep a running list on the fridge door, there are always things I need that aren’t on it. During a commercial there is just enough time to take a look.
Catch up on e-mail. If, like me, you have several accounts to check, commercial time is a great chance to see if there is some real news, or just a lot of forwards.
Clean out your kitchen cabinets. I always have storage containers without tops, pots that need lids and other kitchen areas that need organization. Commercial time provides the perfect opportunity to go through the mess, organize it, then toss the containers with no lids or lids with no matching containers, etc.
Write a note, letter or card to a friend. While this "old fashioned" form of communication is sort of out of style in this fast-paced world, I’ll bet the one who receives your letter will really appreciate hearing from you. I like to send little "care packages" to my grandchildren, and TV time is perfect for writing out a little note to include in the package.
Dust and polish furniture. This is another job I hate that is far easier if I manage to get it done while watching TV. Generally I dust in the room where I’m watching TV, but sometimes I do other rooms at commercial breaks. Confession: I make it a game to see if I can finish before the show starts again.
Organize. Arrange your DVDs or Blu-rays, straighten your bookshelves. Sort and organize receipts, check your bank statement or go through your coupons. TV time is the perfect opportunity to organize the coupons I have, and also to clip new ones.
Fold laundry. You hardly even notice the time when you fold the clothes during a favorite program or a weird commercial.
Pay bills. Pull out those invoices, line them up by date, and write out the checks. Some folks like to write the whole month’s checks at one time, others space them out. Either way, TV time is great for bill-paying and it even seems a bit easier to part with the cash when you are in the middle of a great show.
Suggested by a reader: Check the couch for change.
Those are my suggestions for re-purposing the time you normally waste watching TV. You probably can come up with at least a dozen more relating specifically to your life. Whatever you choose to do during those hours, may it be a wise use of those moments.