Thursday, December 01, 2011

Finding 15 Minutes to Write: Use a DVR

Post #1 in the 30-Day 15-Minute Writing Challenge

TV is one of my biggest time wasters. If a television is on and I am in the room doing something else, I will watch it.  I try to avoid looking at it at all when there’s work to be done, but I still love TV. I love watching House, The Middle, The Office, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad... you get the idea. 

Luckily, I have had Tivo since the first series was manufactured over 10 years ago, and never have looked back.  Since then, the rest of the world seems to have caught up with me and DVRs are common in homes now, whether purchased by the saavy consumer or provided by their local cable company.
Forgotten television
Courtesy of the autowitch via Flickr

What does this have to do with writing?  According to Wikipedia: The average number of minutes of TV advertising for each hour of commercial television in the US is between 15 to 18 minutes per hour.  But that amount seems to be similar in the rest of the world. The UK: Between 12 to 15 minutes per HALF HOUR?!?  Germany: 12 to 20 minutes per hour (depending on the time of day).  Argentina:  12 minutes per hour. Russia:  Around 15 minutes per hour.  The Philippines:  A max of 18 minutes per hour.

So even if I limited myself to watching 6 hours a week of live TV, I’m wasting 90 minutes of time that could be recovered simply by using my DVR to skip through the commercials. If I watch sporting events, such as an NFL game, I’m probably wasting even more time per hour.

I rarely watch a program at the time that it originally airs.  Sometimes I miss the entire series of TV shows, discovering them later on Netflix, Amazon Prime or some other video streaming service, when I have time to sit and watch several episodes in row; Like I did when I watched Joss Whedon’s incredible sci-fi/western mash-up series, Firefly when I was stuck in bed with pneumonia last Christmas.

Time is precious, so if you are going to “waste” it watching TV, use a DVR and put that recovered time to work with your writing.  Tune in tomorrow for post #2 in the 30-Day 15-Minute Writing Challenge.

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