Television is an incredible, ever-changing medium of storytelling. New TV shows are released every year on a myriad of platforms. Once you finish one exciting show, the next is waiting, ready for you to watch. It can quickly become overwhelming to keep up with the newest episode, especially if you don’t want your friends to spoil the excitement.
With subscription-based services you can catch up on your favorite show at any time, in any location. With television being so widely and easily accessible you may find that it’s consuming your entire life, especially in the summer months, when there’s nothing else to do. Be not afraid! It’s possible for you to balance television and the rest of your life with these simple tips.
If you’re trying to overcome TV hysteria, checklists can become your best friends. If you’re feeling conflicted between your growing “to do” list and your desire to catch up on your favorite shows, then create two separate checklists. List, in order of importance, everything that has to get done that day: chores, work, exercise, eating, getting dressed, feeding the dog, hanging out with friends and family and anything else that’s essential to your day.
Then, list all of the episodes you’d like to watch. Writing down the episodes that you want to watch beforehand, and only watching those episodes, keeps you from binging. If your first list and your second list both exceed five things, then you may have to consider the fact that you don’t have time to watch all of your shows that day. You’ll want to reschedule your TV-watching experience for another day when you’re less busy.
Consuming television responsibly is all about balance and moderation. For example, you promised your mom you would clear out your room and make a pile of things to donate as well as clean your bathroom before she comes home from work. You have plans to meet up with your friends right after dinner and you know they’ll be talking about your favorite show nonstop. You have to be in the know, but you can’t let your mom down. You’re not sure you can do both.
Here’s another example that’s applicable during the school year: you have an important test, but your favorite series is premiering its season finale the night before. You’re several episodes behind and you want to catch up before the premiere. But you need to study. You’re not sure you can do both.
Here’s where balance becomes crucial. Instead of choosing one over the other, use television as an incentive to help you focus on the task that you need to accomplish. Come up with a system that works for you; for instance, if you study for two hours, then you’re allowed to watch one hour-long episode. If you get your bathroom cleaned, then you can have the TV on while you start working on your closet.
Television is such an integral part of society that it’s not practical, or necessary, to try and cut it out of your life completely. If you feel like television is taking up too much of your time, the simplest way to remedy that is to set boundaries. Maybe for you, one hour of television a day is the perfect amount to keep your life running smoothly. Or perhaps three hours a week is more likely to keep you focused on your schoolwork and other activities. Whatever the right amount is for you, once you find it—stick to it. Just because you have more time in the summer, doesn’t mean you need to fill that time with more TV consumption. There’s no shame if you don’t know what happened on the last episode of your favorite show, as long as you feel comfortable and productive.
Be aware that you can watch too much TV. If you’re content watching three hours of television a day, perhaps you need to ask God how He would rather you use your time. There are lots of beneficial ways to spend your time rather than binge watching Netflix for hours on end. God has great plans for you, let Him lead you to something beyond the TV screen.
Being entertained isn’t an essential Biblical theme. Entertainment has become heavily incorporated into our society as a standard of living. While you’re embracing this lifestyle, ask yourself what God’s intentions for entertainment are and how do those intentions impact your life.
There’s a lot of negativity on TV, much of which our society highlights as “must see.” It’s important for you to embrace wisdom when it comes to watching what society deems important. If a particular show is demeaning, degrading, disturbing, lacks insight or character, is vulgar or pornographic in nature, then it’s a waste of your time and brainpower.
There’s nothing wrong with refusing to watch such shows. By simply expressing your choice not to watch, then you might gain an unexpected respect from your friends who choose to view this type of content. A lot of people don’t analyze what they’re watching. They just watch. By opting out of certain shows, you’re gaining power and encouraging your friends to do the same.
If you can finish a show feeling encouraged or intrigued, then continue watching. If the show leaves you questioning your identity or God’s teachings, then stop watching.
These tips are small, but they can help you find a healthy balance between television and your day-to-day routine. Start using these tips now so they become regular habits by the time school starts because that’s when you’ll really need to watch television responsibly.
Ask the Lord how you should be spending your time and follow His guidance. When you choose to watch television, invite the Lord to watch it with you. It may seem silly, but God wants to partake in all things with you. Perhaps watching television with Him will provide you with a unique perspective that you wouldn’t have realized otherwise.
If you decide to implement these tips then tag us on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #TVandMe. Let us know how these suggestions helped you reclaim your time.