Have you ever been told to turn off the TV, or has anyone ever told you that watching TV is detrimental to your studies, your health, your spirit, or your financial statement? Have you ever found yourself plopped down in front of the TV when you know you need to be reading, or studying, or being attentive to your family, or doing something else important—and yet you prefer to zone out in front of the TV anyway? Not only that, but you’re bored doing it? Even though you may have some 500 channels or so, if you were to be completely honest with yourself at that moment, there is nothing on that truly interests you and excites you, right? You know the best thing to do would be to just turn it off, and yet you continue to sit there—seconds turn into minutes, minutes turn into hours, perhaps even an embarrassing number of hours if you allowed yourself to keep track.

This used to happen to me, too, my friend. In fact, worse yet, I was so lonely that I used the TV to keep me company! Finally, one day, I realized that if I wanted more friends and better relationships, it would need to happen outside the digital box. I would have to create them, one conversation at a time. That was a first step to reclaiming all those lost hours. The major breakthrough came when I figured out how to use the TV to help me save time, and that’s the secret I’d like to share with you today.

I like the TV; I think it can be a powerful tool for learning and gathering important information as well as a tool for relaxation, so I’m not going to tell you to turn it off. I’m going to tell you to go ahead and watch whatever you truly want to watch. The key is to treat the TV like a rare spice, say, saffron. Saffron is quite valuable and rare, isn’t it? You can buy saffron for between $40 and $65 an ounce. Silver is currently priced between $10 and $11 per ounce. Are you shocked to learn that saffron—the stigmas of a flower—is valued at four to six times more than silver? I was.

Saffron is lovely, it’s tasty, it’s fragrant, it creates a wonderful golden yellow coloration in food, but you wouldn’t want to use it in everything you cook, right? A little saffron in your rice with an Indian meal is sumptuous, but saffron appetizers, saffron curry, saffron naan, saffron butter, saffron rice, a saffron drink, followed by saffron ice cream for dessert? Bleh! No thank you. That is a mind-numbing amount of saffron. Way too much of a good thing!

If you were cooking and wanted to include this rare, exotic spice in your meal, you would plan exactly when and how much saffron to use, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t use it as the foundation of the meal. You wouldn’t attempt to use saffron as your protein dish. You wouldn’t use it as a starch, or even as a vegetable. It’s a high note. It’s the piccolo of the orchestra. It’s something special added in small amounts that gives your meal a unique and wonderful flavor.

You can do exactly the same thing with your TV viewing. Orchestrate your time for the incredibly valuable gift that it is. Just as with the saffron, decide how much and when you want to use your TV. The key again is to be sure to use it as a “spice” for your life and not as a replacement for your life. The characters on the screen are strangers and forever will be. How much of your time do you really want to give them? Which programs are enlightening and are helping you to reach your higher goals?

When you plan and schedule in your TV viewing, you are going to find that you enjoy the shows you choose to watch much more than ever before. You are taking more control over what kinds of images and messages you are feeding your other-than-conscious mind, thus creating a better future for yourself and for everyone you touch. You also have created much more time for your family, friends, studies, special projects, and whatever else you enjoy doing. Not only that, but you are also going to find that you have more energy than ever before because you are making better choices that support your growth.

Now you are a “master chef” of your time. Before you turn the page or begin anything else, while it is still fresh in your mind, get a copy of your TV schedule and your weekly or monthly planner. Decide how much time you are willing to give to TV viewing, then look through the guide and choose the programs that are uplifting, empowering, or will in some way contribute to your reaching your higher goals. Write them in your calendar.

Go ahead and watch whatever you truly want to watch. As a master of your time, you will want to be certain that you use the TV “spice” according to the “recipe” you created. The TV is on only for the shows that you have planned to watch, and the rest of the time, “the cap is on the TV spice jar” and the TV is a silent witness to your commitment to your higher goals.

Here’s to your success!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways2.html.

Author's Bio: 

Teresa Bolen, a.k.a. “Success Genie,” is a teacher at the prestigious Todaiji Academy, one of the top five schools in Japan, and she is the author of Master Plan to Master Exams: How to Discover Your Hidden Abilities to Create the Success You Desire. She has a passion for helping you to unlock the keys to your success. To maximize your learning potential and to discover a foolproof way in which you can substantially improve your ability to learn and reconnect with your own genius abilities, please visit http://www.MasterPlanToMasterExams.com. Claim your free gift by subscribing to her “Academic Excellence Report.”