Confession: I’m a binge-watcher of TV shows. Special ones, but still… I binge. My husband can’t stand to, so I do it on my own. If I am really excited about a show, I can sit and watch hours and hours of it over a day or two. I enjoy doing it that way, or at least, I think I must because I keep doing it. I’m writing this after glancing ahead at my calendar and realizing I’ve scheduled my entire work week AROUND the new season of “House of Cards” being released next week. 

Even though I’m really looking forward to it, I have mixed feelings about Binge Watching, and I bet many others do, too. People will argue it’s addictive (which is rarely a good thing), or that it can be a way to disregard important or meaningful ways of spending that time. I get it. Those can both be true.

I’m here to non-scientifically, and self-servingly, advocate for:

Why Binge Watching Isn’t So Bad, and Can Even Make You More Productive!” 

 

couple watching tv  - Binge watching is a productivity tool

 

Why do I think that Binge-Watching can be a Productivity Tool, for me:

  • I used to watch more TV, but binge-watching (and my DVR) has allowed me to not use TV as a procrastination weapon on most days. When I don’t binge-watch, I always have a show around that gives me an excuse to blow off some other some other task, waste 30 or 60 more minutes on something that probably isn’t more important than what I *should* be doing at the moment. 

  • I can sometimes get things done while watching TV, especially mindless, low-brain activity like folding laundry or sorting through a pile that doesn’t require a lot of decision-making

  • My memory isn’t always good enough to remember what happened in a show I watched a week ago, so this is a more efficient way of getting the entertainment value out of it.

  • “Checking Out” of my busy life can help me de-stress and refocus later on.

 

So, how do you make (or, um, justify) Binge-Watching as a Productivity Tool, for you? How do you binge watch, but still make it good, or, at least, not-so-bad for you?

  • Keep it for “special” shows. Not every show needs to be elevated to binge-worthiness. Be critical about what you let into this sacred time.

  • Schedule it, where you block out a specific day and time, be sure it is not taking up time that is critical for another activity, and set time limits that are reasonable for your life. 

  • Get a binge-watching buddy that will help you limit how deep you go in one sitting. Pick someone you’d genuinely feel some shame if you either watched beyond where that person watched or lied about what you watched. Let’s call this buddy your Binge-Watching-Moral-Compass. You and your buddy will set the time and number of episodes to which you both promise to adhere. Choose wisely.

  • Make a to-do list, and use binge-watching as a reward or as a pacing for getting other things done, especially those things you have little motivation to do. “I’ll watch an episode and then do all the dishes before watching another one.” Allow for 10-15 minute breaks between episodes to get concentrated work done.

  • Find the “mindless” tasks on the to-do list that you can do while watching, and get those done, too. This can include administrative stuff like paying your bills or cleaning out a drawer or folding laundry, or something more active, like watching only while on the treadmill. 

  • Don’t let this habit be a gateway for other (bad) habits. Remind yourself it’s not an excuse to eat food you know you shouldn’t be eating, or for letting your tv-watching area get messy. Give yourself some rules about how to limit the downside of splurging on this time. 

 

Yes, I know… many of you doubters will say, “Okay, Clever Girl… You keep telling yourself that.” But if you’re a binge-watcher, and want to find away to be a little bit better, pick one of those items and help your time be more productive, not just entertaining! 

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