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I think we can all agree that there are a LOT more productive things we can do with our free time than watch TV. And yet so many of us seem to fall into that trap of spending all of our free time binge-watching the latest Netflix series.
If you constantly find yourself in front of the TV, this post is definitely for you. Here are 13 SUPER productive things you can do instead of watching TV!
Before you dive in, make sure to sign up for my free productivity toolkit!
PRODUCTIVE THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF WATCHING TV
Start a Side Hustle
It should come as no surprise that I think starting a side hustle is one of the BEST things you can do with your free time!
Before I started blogging, I had a LOT of free time on my hands. I had graduated from college, where I was used to being a full-time student AND working full-time (meaning no free time whatsoever).
Suddenly, I found myself in a full-time job with LOTS of free time in the evenings and weekends. I seriously needed a hobby.
I also love writing and missed having an outlet to write a lot (I studied journalism in college and wrote for the campus newspaper). I had recently discovered blogs, so I figured I’d start my own!
This gave me the benefit of giving me the writing fix I needed while also filling my free time.
If you’re looking for a way to fill your free time that is NOT watching TV and you could use a few extra dollars, starting a side hustle is a GREAT way to go. And luckily, there are lots of side hustle ideas to choose from.
Related Article: How to Start a Side Hustle and Make Money From Home
Read a Book
I LOVE to read, and when I pick up a really good book, there are days I could keep reading until I’ve finished it. Yet when I used to watch a LOT more TV, I would find that I would completely neglect reading!
Now I make it a point to pick up a book at some point every day. And once I’ve started reading, I would so much rather keep reading than turn on the TV.
One of my favorite things about books is that there is literally something for everyone, whether you favor novels, personal development books, business books, comics, etc. The options are seriously endless!
I also prefer reading before bed rather than watching TV because it helps me wind down and fall asleep more easily.
Related Article: 9 Easy Ways to Save Money on Books
Learn a New Skill
I was definitely always the nerd in class who LOVED school. I was actually kind of bummed when I graduated college because there were so many more classes I wanted to take!
Luckily, thanks to technology, the opportunities to learn new skills and information are pretty much endless.
I’ve taken quite a few online courses over the years to learn more about blogging and online business. I’ve also taken courses on totally different topics just because they sounded interesting!
A few of my favorite places to check out for online learning are CreativeLive and Skillshare, both of which have TONS of classes available (and if you use one of those links ^^ you can get a free trial).
Related Article: 7 Ways to Challenge Yourself Every Day
Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook
If reading isn’t your thing, podcasts and audiobooks are a GREAT alternative! There are TONS of amazing podcasts to choose from, whether you’re looking to be entertained, educated, or inspired.
And as for audiobooks, you can still enjoy all of your favorite books, just in audio form instead of having to read them.
One of my favorite things about listening to podcasts and audiobooks is that it leaves my hands free, meaning I can something else at the same time.
At home, this is when I tend to get my cleaning done. And since I LOVE listening to podcasts, I probably do a lot more cleaning than I otherwise would!
Podcasts and audiobooks are also great for anyone with a commute! My drive to work isn’t THAT long, but I still usually have time to get in a full podcast between my drives to and from work every day.
Move Your Body
Working out gets a bad rap, but I guarantee that almost everyone can find some sort of physical activity they actually enjoy! Working out doesn’t have to mean running or going to the gym!
The real key to consistently pushing yourself to exercise is finding something you really enjoy.
I’m not a big fan of running, but I’d gladly turn off Netflix to do yoga or pilates any day! It’s even easier to trade TV for physical activity during the summer when I can get outside and do things like hiking, biking, or swimming.
If you still haven’t found a form of physical activity that doesn’t make you cringe, challenge yourself to try a few different types of exercise to find your favorite!
Here in Wisconsin, we’re getting to that time of year where we all want to curl up under a warm blanket and not leave out homes for the next three months. And as much as I dread having to go outside this time of year, I’m always so glad I did!
Even something as simple as going for a walk can do wonders, and as we’re heading into winter, something that small can make a big difference in battling seasonal affective disorder.
If you’ve got some outdoor hobbies, even better! During the summer I love hiking and biking, and would much rather spend a Saturday doing one of those things than sitting in front of the TV – sometimes I just need to remind myself of that!
Next time you’re tempted to camp out in front of the TV, challenge yourself to go for a ten-minute walk first. And I bet once you start walking, you’ll end up going for even longer!
Map Out Your Goals
Have you ever set a goal for yourself and then found yourself sitting in front of the TV instead of taking steps to reach your goal?
Don’t worry, you are definitely not alone!
Next time you find yourself itching to binge-watch your favorite show, set aside some time to map out your goals instead! This includes setting goals, but also, and more importantly, mapping out the steps you need to take to make them happen. And when you’ve added those steps to your calendar, you’re WAY more likely to work on reaching your goals rather than watching TV by default.
If you’re ready to make some headway on your goals but aren’t sure where to start, make sure to check out my FREE 6-day goal setting challenge!
Whether you’re writing for business, writing as a hobby, or neither of the above, I think making time for writing is always a great idea!
As someone who writes for work (in my side hustles as a blogger and freelance writer), I pretty much ALWAYS have writing work I could be doing. I used to be guilty of watching way too much TV, and there were a lot of times I was watching TV when I really should have been writing instead.
While there are still times I decide I’d rather binge-watch a new show rather than write, it’s something I’ve gotten a LOT better at.
Even if you’re not writing for work, writing is still a really great use of time!
For example, as someone who has dealt with anxiety for years, I’ve benefited a lot from journaling on a regular basis. Even those who aren’t struggling with anxiety could benefit from journaling!
Revisit Your Budget
Whether you’re saving for something big like a house, or just working on paying your bills every month, it is ALWAYS a good time to revisit your budget!
I make sure to check in at least once per week to make sure I’m on track to meet my financial goals for the month. This gives me plenty of opportunities to change course if I’m not meeting my budget.
Surveys have shown that about half of Americans don’t have enough money in savings to cover a $500 emergency, and roughly the same number are anxious or fearful for their financial wellbeing.
By turning off the TV and spending time every month focusing on your budget, you’re more likely to get money into savings and start feeling more confident about your financial future, and that is ALWAYS time well spent!
Related Article: Online Budgeting Tools to Help You Save Money
Volunteering is a GREAT way to use your time instead of watching TV!
First of all, there’s the obvious benefit of having a positive impact on your community. When it comes to local charities and organizations, a little help can go a long way!
Plus, it’s SO easy to take something you’re super interested it and turn it into a volunteer opportunity.
Are you a huge animal lover but can’t adopt a pet right now? Volunteer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter!
Try a New Hobby
Sometimes if you find yourself spending a lot of your free time watching TV, it might just be that you’ve fallen into a rut and need a new hobby to fill your time with. That’s what led me to start my blog!
Think about what things you’ve always wanted to do or try, but never made time for. Maybe it’s something you can do from the comfort of your own home, such as writing or cooking or knitting. Or maybe it’s something outdoors, like I talked about earlier in the post, like hiking or biking, or snowboarding or skiing in the winter.
Whatever it is, give it a shot! If it turns out you don’t love it, you can change course and try something else.
Declutter Your Home
This is one of those things that really sucks to get started, but it feels SO good once you’ve done it!
I used to be really averse to throwing things away. I seriously never decluttered my belongings. Then I moved from a three-bedroom house to a studio apartment, and I had no choice. I had to part with almost everything I owned.
And it turns out that once you start decluttering, it gets a heck of a lot easier! Now I make note of things in my home that I’m not using so I can make sure to get rid of them, whether I’m donating them or throwing them away.
Decluttering your belongings clears up physical space, but it clears up mental and emotional space as well.
Related Article: Questions to Ask Yourself to Declutter Your Home
Make Plans With Friends
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather make plans with my best friend than spend the evening sitting in front of the TV alone (although admittedly, sometimes plans with my best friend include sitting in front of the TV).
Next time you find yourself settling in for a Netflix binge, text a friend instead and make plans to get together.
At the very least, invite them to join you on your Netflix binge!
I promise that in the future, you will NEVER wish you had spent more time watching TV. But there’s a very good chance you’ll wish you’d spent more time with the people you love.
BEFORE YOU GO
I know that the temptation to curl up in front of the TV and binge-watch your favorite show can be strong. And sometimes it sounds a LOT better than doing something more productive!
But I promise that if you resist the urge to turn on the TV and do one of the activities listed in this post instead, you’ll be glad you did!
Make sure to leave a comment or share this post on social media and let me know YOUR favorite productive way to spend time instead of watching TV.
Make sure to head over to the Etsy shop to check out all the AMAZING notepads and printables that will seriously help you boost your productivity.
And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE Ultimate Productivity Toolkit that has all the tools you need to plan a productive day, week, and month!