Here’s how my day usually goes: I wake up, go to work, take the train home, cook dinner, and sit down to eat in front of my TV.
Pretty normal, right? Now, I don’t consider myself a TV addict—sure, I’ll watch a movie or a couple episodes of my current favorite show, but then I’ll compensate the bad habits with good ones, like reading in bed or cleaning my apartment.
But after seeing a recent article in Lifehacker about a time-saving calculator, I had to know just how much time I was really “wasting.”
The tool, created by Omni Calculator, takes into consideration how often you watch TV every day, and then suggests alternatives to how you could be spending that time—say, how many calories you could burn running or books you could finish a week.
The scariest realization? How many years you could live longer if you quit cold turkey. How do they know? Numerous studies show that health issues such as obesity and heart disease are unfortunate side effects of prolonged TV viewing.
One of its great features is you don’t have to completely remove TV from your life. Just look at how much free time I could still earn back by cutting my watching in half:
After seeing these results, I wondered more seriously what else I could do in that time. For example, take a course, something I typically say I want to do, but can’t find the extra hours in the day to actually start.
Or, for my friends who have the same excuse for job searching: What about using that time to kick off the process? Think about how many cover letters you could write. How many applications you could fill out, coffee dates you could go on, and LinkedIn messages you could send.
Before you object because you love your Netflix queue too much, really think about it. How often do we say we don’t have enough time to go after our dreams?
Well, here are several hours you can get back, right in front of your face—are you willing to take them?
Before you answer, do yourself a favor and just see what the calculator tells you.
Photo of person busy courtesy of Carlina Teteris/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author