Cut the Cable Cord – Let’s Do it!
I cut the cable cord. Snip, snip. No more cable.
Mrs. CHL and I have talked endlessly about eliminating cable. We both have our fair share of wasteful TV habits, and we know that life is too precious to waste it flipping through the channels trying to find something to hold our attention for the next 30 minutes.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love television. I love content. I’m obsessed with the phrase “content distribution,” though I probably couldn’t even define it for you.
- CNBC – I watch CNBC when I wake up. Every morning. I love the morning crew on CNBC and feel like we’ve grown up together. Not anymore…bye bye CNBC 🙁
- ESPN – Sportscenter. If I had a nickel for every hour of ESPN that I’ve watched in my life…well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be writing this blog
- E! Network – I wish I could say I’ve never watched it, but I’m all about transparency on CHL, and I have to admit that I’ve probably watched a few too many episodes of the Kardashians (only when Mrs. CHL is watching of course)
- CNN – Who doesn’t love Anderson Cooper? On any given weeknight at 8pm, I’m willing to bet there is a television in our house tuned to CNN
- HGTV – House Hunters? Yes, every night at 10pm! We loved House Hunters so much, we emailed the show when we were house hunting in Charlotte and wanted them to tape us (apparently that’s not the way things work)
All of the above were part of my daily routine. Some were part of it because “they’ve always been part of it,” while others are more just background noise, a distraction for me while I’m studying or working on the computer. But do I need them? Do they help me become more enriched or successful? How are these TV shows serving me?
Time for Change
I think we all know that this cornucopia of content isn’t adding much to my overall well-being. But I’m just so used to watching it! Something had to be done.
So, the easiest solution was just to eliminate it – or said differently, “cut the cable cord!” Maybe this is a six-month hiatus or maybe we’ve cut the cord for good, but two weeks in and I’d say I’m not missing it that much.
We actually decided to quit cable because it cost so much, and we just didn’t feel like we watched it enough to justify the expense. We had access to over 1,000 channels and watched about a dozen of them. That’s a lot of wasted shows that we were paying for.
We finally pulled the plug in mid-February. The ensuing month was a crash course in HD antennas, streaming devices and content distribution platforms (see I told you I love that phrase), but we’ve made it through to the other side. We’re now in the land of unicorns, rainbows and no cable. I actually documented our journey and created a how to watch TV without cable guide where I share our experience with others.
This didn’t start out as an exercise to improve my health or well-being, but I feel like it’s making a difference so I wanted to share my perspective.
That’s Great. But How Are You Healthier?
- Shhh, it’s quiet – Well, to start off with, life is just a bit quieter, and that’s quite an accomplishment with two munchkins running around the house! No more constant noise from TV ads in the background. Whether it’s in the living room, office or bedroom, every room in the house is just a more peaceful place.
- Night night, sleep tight – I would frequently sleep with the TV on. I know this is a cardinal sin and please don’t tell me mom, but I just couldn’t quit the habit. Now, it’s just happened. Numerous studies show that a darker room equates to better sleep, so chalk one up to some better zzzz’s!
- Less wasteful distractions – This is a big one. Sitting down to watch a TV program isn’t bad. But having that sit-down turn into 3-4 hrs of mindlessly flipping through channels is just a drain on productivity and time that could be spent on enriching your physical-self (exercise), mental-self (meditate), cultural-self (reading/learning), or personal-self (socializing).
- More productive – This goes along with #3, but not watching the tube leaves more time for all the things I’m trying to accomplish in my life. For example, transferring hours from watching TV to writing on this blog is a win-win for me and the entire CHL community!
- Engage in life – If nothing else, not having the TV to distract me (or the rest of the family), actually forces us to hang out and engage with each other. Imagine that! Every hour I turn the TV off and play “The Owl Game” with our mini Cool Healthy Lifers is a great hour. And I’m not sure I’ve ever had as much fun watching a Keeping up with the Kardashians marathon, as I do playing The Owl Game for two straight hours!
Are You Completely Free from TV?
No, our goal wasn’t to completely ditch TV. We do enjoy watching certain programs, and I would say we’re about 80% free from TV/video. We still have Netflix, and really enjoy spending an hour watching an episode of House of Cards or Homeland, but now it’s on our schedule. We’re also currently trying out a $20 Sling TV subscription, which gives us access to about a dozen cable channels. That’s about as extensive as our TV viewing is for a fraction of the cost of cable.
But the best times are when we’ll go a few days without a single TV being turned on in the house…and we’re really proud of that!
Until next time,