tl;dr: We watched No TV for January 2016 and got more sleep, read books, went on dates, worked on puzzles and are pretty stoked with the results.
My wife, Nicole, suggested some time in late December that we try not to watch any TV in January. Since our boys were born, we’ve both really enjoyed the time between when they fall asleep and when we head to bed. It’s our quiet time. We typically watch a few episodes of TV. I’ll work from my laptop and she’ll knit. In terms of our media consumption, we watch more TV than movies. Here are some of our favorites (some are hers, some are mine, but most we watch together):
- Downton Abbey
- Grey’s Anatomy
- House of Cards (2013)
- House of Lies
- How I Met Your Mother
- How to Get Away With Murder
- Madam Secretary
- Modern Family
- Mr. Robot
- New Girl
- Parenthood (2010)
- Person of Interest
- Rookie Blue
- Royal Pains
- Scandal (2012)
- Silicon Valley
- Sons of Anarchy
- Switched at Birth
- The Big Bang Theory
- The Blacklist
- The Good Wife
- The Mindy Project
- The Newsroom (2012)
- White Collar
Fewf. Quite a list! These are all shows that we watched while they were still airing, or continue to air. We’ve also watched lots of series on Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. Most recently Breaking Bad. Roughly annually I re-watch The Wire and she’ll re-watch Greys Anatomy.
All this to say: We like to watch TV.
That said, we both agree that watching TV is not the best use of our time. There are hundreds of other things we could be doing to relax and enjoy our time together. Additionally, our kids were starting to watch a few shows here and there for entertainment and we would love to minimize that. So we agreed to give it a shot: No TV for all of January. That includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Youtube, downloads etc. We made one special exception to go see StarWars as a date night (we recently watched the first 6 episodes back to back).
Looking back on the month, I’d say it was a huge success. There were a few moments when the kids were sick and/or it was raining/snowing out side that we struggled to stick to our guns.
What did we do instead? I’m glad you asked!
Read/listened to lots of books. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of audiobooks and podcasts. During January I listened to:
- The Martian
- Eat That Frog!
- Never Go Back (Jack Reacher)
- Spy the Lie
- Elon Musk: Inventing the Future
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
- Persuasion IQ
- You Are a Badass
I keep my reading list fairly up to date if you’re interested in any of these: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/34788469-cj-avilla
We started listening to the second season of the Serial podcast.
The awesome thing about listening to audio books is that you can: speed them up if the story is moving too slowly, and multi-task.
Puzzles. This adventure jump started a puzzle kick. The kids started doing tons of puzzles. Nicole and I also started working through a massive puzzle.
Date nights. We’ve been out to more dates in January than the better half of 2015.
Sleep. Not binge watching TV until 3AM does wonders for your sleep cycle. I’ve even gotten up to go to the gym a few mornings at 5:30!
I’m definitely looking forward to watching The Martian movie in February, but I think for the most part we’ve broken the habit of jumping straight for the TV. Nicole plans to continue a modified version of the No TV rule moving forward.
February is a social media cleanse 🙂 no Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Look forward to a report!