I read this article about how Bill Gates spent 5 years not watching TV or listening to music in his twenties while building Microsoft. Now, I’m pretty sure I watch a lot of TV, unapologetically. Quite possible too much. But I can’t help but wonder if maybe I would be more productive if I had the same kind of discipline Bill Gates had, and maybe that would increase the odds that I could focus and create something of consequence?
That being said, the idea of cutting off TV completely feels completely ludicrous to me. It’s simply something I enjoy too much. Just this past week I was gushing over the Arrowverse Elseworlds crossover which gave me real fanboy delight. But I thought maybe I could review my current regular TV slate and see if I can’t trim it a bit.
DC Comics TV: There’s from the aforementioned Arrowverse shows (Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow). I feel like Arrow should have ended a season or 2 ago, but I still mostly enjoy Flash, Supergirl and Legends. There’s also Gotham, which is ending with its next season, and I kinda wanna see how it ends. Aside from those, I also want to watch Titans (DC Universe) and Krypton (Syfy); not sure if I should bother with Black Lightning.
Marvel Comics TV: The Marvel TV shows don’t have as much of a “shared universe” feel unlike the Arrowverse. There’s the Netflix group of shows of course (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher), but it looks like we’re only getting at most one more season each of Jessica Jones and Punisher, and the rest are already cancelled. Agents of SHIELD has been great and is up for at least one more season. I’m also supposedly watching The Gifted but I’m way behind on season 2. Also looking forward to the next season of Runaways. I’ve had Legion on my to-watch list for a while as well, but haven’t gotten around to it.
Other: Doctor Who, but I’m behind for the current season, and this has so few episodes per year, it probably shouldn’t count.
Procedurals: I used to watch a few more of these that have since ended (Bones, Castle). The only one I still follow now is Criminal Minds, and I’ve watched almost all of that, so I know the characters well. It might be a fine candidate to drop though. One can only take so much serial murdering.
Comedies: There’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is some of the best comedy right now on TV. I still watch The Good Place, which despite all the praise it gets, I’m not superfond of it the way I was with Parks and Rec. I also still watch The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family - those shows aren’t the best or super laugh out loud, but they’re sometimes interesting. The last two might be worth cutting.
Animated: Really only The Simpsons (out of loyalty) and Rick and Morty (when it decides to come back).
That’s not counting the shows on Netflix I randomly decide to pick and binge (recently: The Ranch, Better Call Saul, Adventure Time)
As you can see, the comics-based shows form a significant majority of my shows. Just counting those that have full season lengths, it’s at least 10 hours a week on TV watching, a nontrivial amount of time. One method I’ve been using to better make the most of TV time is what I call “side-watching”, i.e. having the TV show playing on a secondary screen while I’m doing other stuff on a primary screen, like working or playing games. It’s a more efficient use of time, but I can’t focus as much on the show, so it doesn’t work on all shows. Usually the lighter shows (comedies and animated) are good for these. THe more serious shows I can still “side-watch”, unless it’s an important episode or something where I want to focus on the show (like the aforementioned Elseworlds crossover). This is the same reason I’ve mostly stopped watching anime - it’s impossible to side-watch since most of it is subbed.
Actually now that I’ve listed them all out, it doesn’t seem so bad. Anecdotally, Americans watch around five hours of TV a day on average (35 hours per week), so my 10-15 hours per week doesn’t seem so bad by comparison, especially since I’m often doing other stuff at the same time. And half the year those shows are off anyway (IDK what happens to American TV during the off season). Still a ways off from Bill Gates though. Maybe I should make a note to try to be more focused/productive during the off season?
Hm. If I really want to make the most of my time, I might need to do more detailed time-tracking since there’s a bunch of other leisure activities I also do (gaming, reading, movies, internet browsing), but that seems like a hassle, and it’s probably unnecessary. For now, at least.