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10 Things to Replace Television With

10 Things to Replace Television With

If you take a one week challenge to turn off the television, several things will happen, chief among them boredom and a sense of having a ton of "empty" time. Here are ten things to do to fill that time.

Start an exercise plan. If you didn't watch Mad Money every night at six o'clock, you might be able to spend that hour walking around the block, doing leg lifts, or doing an aerobic workout. Most exercise routines cost nothing, though it can be more fun if you do something like a DDR exercise regimen.

Prepare meals. Learn how to cook at home. Prepare some interesting meals. Get a good cookbook and dig in.

Read a book you've always wanted to read. Something like Anna Karenina or The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (both were the "book I always wanted to read" for me at various times). Read something to educate your mind and your spirit.

Start a second business. I keep this blog running on less time than I used to spend watching television each night and it is earning some money. I also started a computer consulting business, where I fix people's computers locally. This has opened up two solid revenue streams for me that, added together, approximate what I made from my job before. This has made me feel much less stressed about work - I do my job, but it no longer has the paralyzing "Oh my God what if they downsize?" fear that it used to have.

Be social. Have healthy, focused conversations with your immediate family. Patch up bruised relationships and friendships. Go out to community events and meet people. Find a group connected to the things you're interested in and get involved (like a book club).

Take an evening class. Most universities offer degree programs towards a master's degree (or higher) in the evenings. See what's available and get into such a program. It will fill your evenings with food for thought and put you on a much stronger career path.

Learn a new skill or a new hobby. When my great grandfather died, my great grandmother spent her evenings learning how to paint, something she'd always wanted to learn how to do. She had a ton of natural skill, and as she learned the craft, it began to show. It was something that her married life and television watching had never left time for before.

Take on a major project. Do something huge that you've always wanted to do. I've done things like made a homemade bullwhip, learned how to speak Mandarin, and so on, just in my newfound spare time.

Get things done. When I finally turned off the television and looked around, I saw literally hundreds of little things that needed to be done that I simply hadn't done. So I started getting them done; I literally spent three days making a giant checklist of every task that would take longer than five minutes, then I just started going through them. I felt so productive while doing this that it was a huge endorphin rush just by itself.

Take care of whatever bothers you. For me, it was taking a little bit of time each day to meditate and get in touch with my spiritual side, and it made a huge difference in my life.

Image by: Greg Turner