My Biggest Productivity Secret

The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Catherine Alford. Cat is a freelance personal finance writer who blogs at

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about productivity. Because I’m working full time and trying to blog my way into a successful freelance writing business, I’ve become more and more pressed for time.

My big goal is to become a full time blogger/writer by January 1, 2014, and as I’ve gotten closer to achieving that goal, my free time has dwindled dramatically.

However, there is one big secret that I have for getting so much done in a day, one tiny thing missing from my life that I haven’t missed: a TV!

A little over two years ago, I started this process by cutting out the cable. Then, when I moved to the Caribbean, we were so strapped for cash that I asked my landlord to take the TV out of my apartment since it was $30 USD per month.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about life without a TV:

1.    I Am Not Nearly As Distracted

When I had a TV in my house, I always had it on as background noise. I’d fold clothes in front of it and get sucked into a 6 hour long HGTV marathon. Even worse, my husband and I started sitting in front of it to eat dinner. So, there went some good quality time! I think all of these bad habits came gradually, and I didn’t even notice how much they affected my life. Now that I don’t have the TV, I’m not nearly as distracted. Sure I can get caught in a black hole of YouTube videos from time to time, but it’s not as bad as not getting out of bed because I can’t tear myself away from an entire season of LOST!


2.    Transitions Work

When I first got rid of my TV, I watched Hulu like crazy. I didn’t want to miss one of the shows that I followed. How would I ever know who the Bachelor picked?! However, as I got busier, I started to care less and less what was on TV. Soon, people were talking about shows I’ve never even heard of let alone read about or seen. I did feel left out from time to time, but no proclamations of something being the “best show ever!” has really swayed me to get back into TV watching. Occasionally, I will seek out a YouTube clip of the Big Bang Theory or Modern Family just to watch something funny, but it has been months since I watched a full episode of any show. In my opinion, there’s nothing inherently wrong with others watching TV; it has just completely ceased to be a part of my daily routine.


3.    We Don’t Miss It

I wasn’t too worried about the transition from TV to no TV, knowing that Hulu existed, but I was concerned about my husband and his dear LSU football team! Although there have been a few times that he wishes he had a TV so he could see a game, it’s not enough to make him want to go out and buy one. Right now, he just goes to our friend’s house down the street, and they enjoy a guys night and cheering on the Tigers together. It seems to be a really good compromise, and even though it would be more convenient to watch football in our house, it works for us for now.


4.    The Second Time’s The Charm

What I didn’t really mention is that this is the second time we’ve tried a no TV lifestyle. While I was in grad school and while the hubs was a bachelor, neither one of us had a TV. In fact, people would go into his trendy downtown studio and look around bewildered wondering where it was! So, when we got married and joined households, we decided to “reward” ourselves with a big fancy 50” TV. We had Kentucky Derby parties and people over to watch football, and we really got a lot of use out of it. Then again, we also slipped into credit card debt, weren’t as productive, and wasted a lot of time in front of it. It’s a huge regret of mine, so when we moved to the Caribbean, we sold that big TV to a friend of ours and went back to the no TV lifestyle.

In just a few short months, we’re moving back to the U.S. I’m planning on continuing our no TV lifestyle, and I hope it sticks! There’s so much I want to learn and so much work I’d like to do to grow my business that I really have to prioritize. Plus, I think going on a walk or reading an interesting new book is a little bit more worthwhile.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as me being a “no TV snob” because the truth is that I really, really love TV shows, especially completely ridiculous ones like The Bachelor and the Real Housewives of Wherever! I just have learned that I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to watching it, and it’s best for my business and my day-to-day happiness to keep the TV out of the house!

How about you all? How much TV do you watch every day? Have you ever gone without one?

Share your experiences by commenting below! 

***Photo courtesy of


  1. I commend you, Cat, for being able to be disciplined. I’m sure it is one of those things that gets easier over time. The most difficult challenge would be to just take the initial plunge and get rid of it. I’ve been thinking of doing this more and more recently (I sure could use the productivity boost!), but I’m not sure I could convince my wife to agree.
    Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia recently posted…Are Frugal People Loners?My Profile

  2. Living Life Happier says:

    I’ve been thinking about getting rid of my tv for a while now. Like you, I’d start by transitioning to Hulu. The thing that tempts me most is that I’ve heard many people say they’ve done it and are glad they did. I haven’t heard anyone say they have regrets about it. Maybe those people just aren’t as vocal, but it sure seems like getting rid of the tv makes a lot of sense. I only have the most basic cable right now, but it would still be a $ savings, not to mention a time savings. Thanks for a further nudge in that direction!
    Living Life Happier recently posted…We can eat cheap, easy, processed foods OR we can be healthy*My Profile

  3. I stream movies and shows and don’t have or miss the TV. I try not to start a new show so progressively watch less TV.
    Pauline recently posted…Risk and Reward are NOT RelatedMy Profile

  4. Brian @ Luke1428 says:

    We are not at “no TV” but we do not have cable or satellite. We have an antenna and stream shows online or through Netflix. This has been going on for three years and we have found so much more time during the day for personal projects and to spend time with the kiddos.
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted…How to Get Out of DebtMy Profile

  5. I actually have two tv’s, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. The one in the bedroom rarely ever get turned on. Perhaps a few times a year. We now barely watch TV too! A few months ago we finally took the leap and canceled our cable. We save $80 a month and we subscribed to Netflix. I was watching TV a lot still right after, but now only a few hours per week. In trying to save money and energy we also unplug it when not in use. Another deterrent! Have to plug it in to use it!
    Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen recently posted…Things I Wish I Could get my Money BackMy Profile

  6. TV’s been called a “boob tube” for decades for a reason. Good for you for getting rid of it.
    Bryce @ Save and Conquer recently posted…Inherent Risks in InvestingMy Profile

  7. I haven’t watched TV in years. My brother hooked up mine so my sister could use it when she’s here, but it basically just sits there. Although, it is a smart TV so I have started using the net on it which I am loving.

    Dropping TV gave me so much more time, made me want less stuff and I get to do things I love instead.
    Kylie Ofiu recently posted…Thought provoking – If by Rudyard KiplingMy Profile

  8. I could never get rid of my tv but I have no problem shutting it down when necessary. Occassionally I’ll just work in a room where there is no tv when the temptation to watch is too strong.

  9. Emily @ evolvingPF says:

    I would actually love to stop watching as much TV. We don’t have cable but we watch a lot of Netflix. I try to convince myself I’m multitasking but I would be so much more efficient with no TV! My husband is a totally TV junkie, though, and I don’t know if he would ever stop or even cut it back to a few hours per week. Of course, TV is one thing but there are also online videos and I listen to tons of podcasts, so really it would have to be a reduction in total media consumption.
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted…How Much Effort Do You Put into Getting Rewards or Deals?My Profile

  10. So funny that I read this right now – I was actually thinking of turning on the TV and said “No, I want to focus on what I’m doing!” I have been finding myself to be so busy lately, and have not had much time for TV. It does feel good not to rely on it, but being that I’m still “attached” to a few TV shows that I DVR, I do still like to watch it. I’d like to eventually phase out the shows that I watch when they are over and not get involved with anything new. Don’t think my boyfriend would go for the complete removal of the TV from the house though…loves his movies!
    Janine @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted…Your Free Credit Report: 3 Times A YearMy Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge