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Turn off the TV

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

“Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while working." — Henri Matisse

Person watching an old TV on the beach with screen showing signs saying "Stop", "No Entry", and "One Way".
To be more creative, we have to break up with our TV

We all know that TV consumes a lot of our free time; in fact, many of us can confidently state that it takes up TOO much of our time. Television stops us from doing things, we all know that, but, and here's the real problem, studies over the last 25 years are showing that too much TV viewing can also affect our cognitive thinking.

“One 25-year study of participants who watched more than three hours of TV per day showed, on average, lower cognitive functions of processing information, planning and paying attention.”

If there's one thing that creativity needs, it's brainpower. Our primary goal as creatives is to minimize as many distracting drains on our brains as possible.

TV not only steals our attention, but it also steals our time

How often have we all felt, late at night, that just finishing this last half hour of the show is vital? Or starting a new show that "only" takes 45 minutes would be interesting? Then, what about the next day? Can you actually remember what you watched? Or even WHY you watched it?

All TV is designed to hook us in, to hijack our attention; streaming channels are particularly clever at that, with their unlimited binge-watching content. The funny thing about streaming, though, is we know we don't have time to watch a 2-hour show, but somehow we'll watch 4 half-hour shows in a row without thinking about it.

I'm not saying "No TV"; I'm saying turn it off more often

Being creative takes time; being creative needs head space. To be more creative, we need to find ways to spend less time doing things that don't matter in the long run.

There was a children's TV show in the UK in the '70s called "Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?". It was true then, and it's even more true now.

Why not give it a try?

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