Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Challenge: No TV For A Month

Posted in Personal Development by elephanthunters on April 2, 2010

What would your life look like if you gave up TV for a month?

Seth Godin recently challenged me to give up television altogether because there are so many other things better than TV.

I was already on the verge of doing this, but his post on this idea gave me the gumption to go ahead and pull the plug.  So we called the satellite company and cut it off.  All the way off…no basic cable, no major network channels.  Zero TV in the house.

And I’m still breathing

Not only has life gone on without TV, it has improved.  A lot.  I discovered that I was spending more time watching TV than I would have cared to admit.  I suppose most people talk about TV consumption the same way they talk about debt:  “I don’t have any debt…just a car loan and a few credit cards.”

Since we cut off the TV:

  • My wife and have have had more conversations
  • I have read more non-fiction literature than I ever have in my life
  • I took my daughter on an impromptu walk to the creek
  • I sat on my porch and watched the cars go by
  • I bought a high end stereo system, and gave my iTunes playlists a makeover

It’s changing me.  It’s making me better.

The Challenge

Give up TV for the month of April. After the big dance is over on Monday night just unplug the TV.  You don’t have to cancel it altogether, and if you hate it after a month, then just turn it back on…at least you’ll be able to say you tried it, and it wasn’t for you.

Why Not?

  • The weather is getting nice
  • College basketball is over
  • Major networks are starting to air reruns
  • There’s so many great things to do with your time

If you’re in:

Leave a comment on this post.  Commit.  You’re going to be tempted to read this and think – I don’t have to comment to do this…I’ll just do it on my own.  No you won’t.  You have to tell someone.  If you don’t comment here, then at least tell someone you know that you’re doing it.  Knowing they’ll ask you about it later will keep you committed to your goal.

I’ll check in and ask you to report occasionally on how it’s going.  I already heard one great story from Chris Mefford about his kids playing together more and having meaningful conversations after he recently cut off the TV. Dino Evangelista told me his family has been TV free for a year, and it’s the best thing he’s ever done.

I want to hear about all the great stuff you’re doing instead of TV.

Invite some friends…start a movement!

Retweet this, email it, talk it up!  Let’s put together a case study of how much meaningful productivity is increased for one month when a bunch of change agents get together and take action on a simple challenge:  Pull The Plug.

Already TV Free? Leave an encouraging comment for someone who’s not sure they’re ready to take on the challenge.

Update: 4/8/10

For you golf enthusiats…I guess this is cheating a little bit.  But it’s not technically TV, and it still falls in line with being an intentional consumer.  At least you won’t be tempted to leave it on all night when it’s over.

I’m sure I just lost some points with the wives who made their husbands get on board with this.  Sorry.  At least it’s over in 3 days.

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14 Responses

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  1. misty said, on April 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Daniel, I am one of those “strange” people who have NEVER had a TV. Thats right, from the time I was born until now, I did not have one in my parents home and don’t have one in my own home. I am 33 years old, don’t know actors, don’t know the latest song out, don’t know the latest Soap Opera scenes, don’t know the commercials…but I haven’t missed out on life. In fact, I think Ih ave experienced it in a better way than my coworkers. I have something to show for my time! I have time to build a business, have friends over, knit, create a project, paint, post on my blog, talk on the phone, read my bible or a book, organize something in my house, etc! Life is full and busy, and always has been…I seriously do not know where I would find time for TV!!! I think your suggestion to at least give it a try is great…what do you have to loose to just try it??? Nothing, I promise you.

  2. John Felkins said, on April 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Once 24 is over for the season. Sorry, I’m hooked! This is a great move though!

  3. Joel Tardy said, on April 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Daniel, you did not think this was a good idea when you were 8 years old. Love you, Dad.

    • elephanthunters said, on April 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Haha…thanks Dad!

  4. Heather said, on April 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    We had no tv for about 3 months a few years back and it was the best 3 months of our family life!! The timing of this post cracks me up because I told B just last week that I wanted to canx the cable. I’ve been on a roll eliminating time wasters and places I know I fall short and become distracted. Time with my kids is too precious. I want them to know what really matters rather than be sucked in to what’s on the screen or otherwise.

  5. Josh said, on April 5, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Love the challenge. I also read Seth’s blog and was inspired. I like how you made it personal and timely with the end of bball.

    While I’m not at the point to commit to no TV yet, I am encouraged by your results. TV is such a crutch for “something to do.” Dave talks about the opportunity cost of your money… just think about the opportunity cost of your time spent watching TV!

  6. Patrick F said, on April 5, 2010 at 11:51 am

    After tonight’s championship game, I’m In (Go Duke). Have got my Dad on board, but Mom and her FoxNews are hard to part with. I think I’ve got my wife, but staying home with toddler all day and no TV may be a more daunting task. Count me in!

    • elephanthunters said, on April 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Awesome, Patrick! Way to rally the troops! Maybe your mom could give up everything except for FN? Hey, it’s a start!

  7. Dustin Hartzler said, on April 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I will participate in the “No TV for the Month of April” club. My only exception will be to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers games. I only watch these games from the DVR because I cannot afford to waste 3+ hours watching a game and can normally watch an entire game in less than an hour.

    I am starting my own side business, while working a day job, so I have very limited time to watch TV as it is!

    • elephanthunters said, on April 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      Awesome Dustin! Glad you’re in!

  8. Charles said, on April 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    What about going to the movies? would I have to give that up too? Just recently i started tracking my time and I was perplexed at how much time I wasted on TV. I decided to watch TV only at night, like 30 min. before going to bed. I can give those 30 min. up and read a book instead, or the bible. I’m sure it’ll be more edifying that the news…

    • elephanthunters said, on April 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      Charles – good question. It’s up to you. Personally I’m OK with an occasional movie. I think the key is to ask if your viewing is intentional or reactive.

      Personally I don’t feel TV itself is a bad thing…it’s just too easy to get sucked in. For me it’s like airplane food: I consume it simply because it’s there.

      I would encourage you to give yourself something reasonable to commit to that you’re confident you can do for a full month…maybe you put a limit on the number of movies for the month.

  9. Anonymous said, on May 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    why not use the extra time to build yourself a second source of income to enhance quality of life for yourself and for your family? Imagine paying off the mortgage a few years early, not having debt, and ultimately saving a fortune on all of the interest typically charged by most banks and other lending institutions!

  10. Pat Bonsu said, on January 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I’m very late on this reply, however, I’m doing a 30 day trial with no TV that consists of no television shows, no video games (on the weekdays and only a couple hours max) and limiting myself to movies only on the weekends.I’m in the process of starting a blog about my process (I’m a week into the experiment) and will probably link back to this site at some point. Very nice to see you go through!


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