Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

Here is a list of 10 productive things to do instead of watching TV on your free time. Be wiser with how you use your time. For passed time is gone forever.

Why It’s Hard to Quit watching TV

Perhaps you have made a new year’s resolution early this year that you would lessen your time on screen. How are you on it, so far?

If you find it a bit hard to stop getting addicted to TV, chances are, you’re doing it all wrong.

You’re throwing the remote control only to find yourself going back to it after a few minutes.

You’ve decided not to watch only to find yourself in front of the television again after all the day’s work.

Simply thinking , or even deciding, not to watch TV, won’t work. It might take you away from television for some time, but wait for a few days, and you’ll find yourself going back to your old routine.


Because the moment you stop TV, you have free time. That time is vacant. There’s nothing in there. It’s like an empty space. And when it’s an empty space, our normal tendency is to put something into it!

Now because it’s been your custom to watch TV in your free time, chances are, you’ll go back to TV if you don’t have anything to do.

So how do you change it once and for all?

Simple. Find a replacement.  Fill the void with something else.

Example: Instead of thinking “I’m not going to watch TV later”, think, “I’ll try this recipe later when I get home”. And when you do get home, head straight to the kitchen.

That’s how you do it! That’s how you fill the void.

Now there are a lot of things you can do to replace TV time. I compiled ten activities that are highly productive.

Here they are!

10 Productive Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

1. Read an inspiring book.

Read a book that inspires you instead of watching TV.

This is my favorite! I love books ever since I can remember.

Although my book interests have evolved from fiction to nonfiction, I can’t deny how much I’ve benefited from reading during my spare time.

Reading books has:

  • Honed my writing skills
  • Inspired me to try new things such as starting this blog
  • Entertained me
  • Increased my knowledge on various topics such as how to cherish each moment and how to create lasting relationships
  • Introduced me to helpful principles like happiness is an inside job
  • Relaxed me after working the whole day

You can also experience those benefits… plus a lot more.

Here are 10 more reasons you should read books:

  • Improve your vocabulary
  • Learn to be more focused
  • Improve your imagination
  • Be smarter
  • Reduce stress
  • Discover and learn more about yourself
  • Sleep better
  • Improve your memory
  • Create stronger analytical skills
  • Inner peace

Challenge yourself to read just one book each month for a whole year, and watch how it changes your life.

Need some suggestions on what to read?

Here are my Top 8 picks:

  1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  2. Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
  3. Being Happy by Andrew Matthews
  4. Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  6. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  7. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
  8. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

2. Start a DIY project.

This is a perfect way to express and develop your creative genius. You can focus on making your own decorations, photography, painting, and other activities that inspire you.

But what if you are not creative? Does this mean this option is not for you?

Hmmm… Not really.

Before, I also thought that this stuff isn’t for me because I am not creative.

But when I saw that trash like plastic wrappers can be turned into a usable wallet, and papers can become usable papers again, I got hooked. I knew I could do it.

It doesn’t need much art. I don’t have to be one of the best artists to do it. I just have to be interested enough to give it the time and the attention it needs.

So don’t worry if you think you are not creative.  You can still start a DIY project that you find useful.

If you don’t know where to start, here are 5 upcycling ideas you can get from Youtube. Just click on each one to see the video.

  1. How to Make a Purse from Candy Wrappers
  2. Making Paper out of Used Papers
  3. How to Turn Wine Bottles into Colorful Home Decors
  4. Upcycling Tin Cans into Desk Organizers
  5. How to Make a Planter out of a Paint Can

3. Organize and clean.

I used to think before that I was too busy to get my things organized.

Until it hit me! Why not do it for just 15 minutes a day?

So I started by decluttering my bedroom for only 15 minutes each day. I haven’t stopped since that day. There are times when I spend more than 15 minutes organizing but I don’t get overwhelmed anymore. And it’s not at all boring now!

Still I won’t forget that I started for only 15 minutes everyday. But it has been a fairly good start for someone who has always been messy.

How about you? Are you a messy person too? Do you want to get organized but you just can’t find the time to do it?

Then why not start by decluttering for  just 15 minutes a day?

Fifteen minutes is all you need. But be sure to commit to do it everyday. You’ll be amazed with the results. Plus, you’ll be really pleased with yourself!

Here’s something to get you started on the deluttering journey.

4. Answer surveys for extra cash.

It’s not going to make you rich, but who doesn’t want extra cash?

Companies are always eager to know what consumers think about a new product and they are willing to pay for that. Sometimes they won’t give you cash. But they’ll give you gift cards and physical prizes as rewards for sharing your opinion.

So whether you are looking for something to supplement your income, or you just want some extra cash for the holiday season, taking surveys is a simple and easy way to earn money in your idle time.

And with smartphones today, it’s even easier to make profit out of your leisure time!

There are over a hundred sites  that will pay you to answer surveys. But for a start, I can share you four legitimate cash paying survey sites that I have already tried and tested, myself.

Check them out!


What I like about Clixsense is that It’s a one-stop shop for many survey companies. Among those that I’ve experienced are Toluna, Global Test Market Your Surveys, Pure Spectrum,, Opinion World, CINT and Sample Cube.

You don’t have to search for these sites individually. They are all in Clixsense and you’ll be notified through your email if a survey is available.

Aside from surveys, they also have offers which you can do for additional cash.  Offers include watching a video, downloading a game to your phone and playing until you reach a certain level, and signing up to some websites. Pretty easy.

Another good point for Clixsense is that it offers micro jobs through Crowdflower, so the tasks are often known as Crowdflower tasks.

I like this feature because if you don’t qualify for surveys, you can do some tasks instead. They don’t pay much, but a few cents is still better than nothing, considering that you’re doing this only in your idle time. It’s like getting yourself entertained while earning a few bucks.

Try it here.


This site is a purely survey site. There are no offers. There are no tasks. Just pure surveys.

What I find amazing in  this site is that it has Trait Survey that is available almost everyday. It only has 10 questions so you’d be done in a minute or two. Compensation is not that much but it adds up.

Click here to register.


This is very much like Clixsense. I find some of the survey companies in Clixsense to be in Cashcrate too. So I guess you’ve got to choose between the two.

Example, if you have an account in Globaltestmarket in Clixsense, don’t sign up to it in Cashcrate anymore. Just stick to Clixsense.

To sign up to Cashcrate, click here.

AIP Online Surveys

This site is also a purely survey site. But unlike Paidviewpoint it doesn’t have traits survey everyday.

They have lots of surveys, though. There was one day when I answered three surveys!

They have different sites for different locations. So be sure you sign up to the site designated to your area to maximize your chances.

Sign up here if you reside in USA.

And here if you reside in the UK.

5. Start a blog.

Looking for a place to express your thoughts and opinions? Do you want to help people overcome a situation that you have also experienced? Or maybe you have a passion that you want to share to the world?

You can do all these through blogging.  In fact, you can blog about any topic that you want. And you can do it for free!

Simply choose from any of these free blogging platforms.


Do you know that you can blog for profit too?

Even more so, do you know that you can live the lifestyle that you have always dreamed of by blogging full-time, and turning it into an online business?

Check out Obstacle.Co. This is my favorite resource for my blogging journey.

6. Volunteer.

Perhaps you have tried volunteering before, like when you helped your friend finish her project, or when you helped your Mom cook dinner during a family reunion. Or perhaps you joined an organization during college days.

Whatever good deed you have done, did you notice how fantastic you felt afterwards? The feeling like you just made a difference?

When people volunteer it could be for different reasons. But one thing is for sure – you do this to help others. You give your time and make efforts without expecting for anything in return. Your goal as a volunteer is to make a difference in someone’s life.

But do you know that when you care for others, you are also caring for yourself?

Volunteering improves you communication skills as you meet new people. You learn what teamwork is all about.  And you practice generosity (a very lovely character). You gain friends! It lifts your mood. And it’s fun!

Now why would you exchange something like that for TV?

So whether it’s babysitting your neighbor’s toddler, or serving in your local church, or volunteering in your favorite organization, remember that you can always lend a helping hand.

And when you help people, you are not only helping them. You are helping yourself too.

7. Visit a nature park with your family and friends.

Ahhh… Fresh air… the smell of trees… rivers… chirping birds… gentle breeze blowing.

There were lots of trees where I grew up, so I have loved nature since childhood days.  Part of my daily routine always involve going outside for a little break.

Numerous benefits have been linked to nature exposure. It improves your memory and boosts your mental energy.

It also relieves stress, increases your ability to focus and contributes to a stronger immune system. Spending time with nature is indeed a healthy break from your work routine. You don’t get this by watching TV.

So when you go home after work, take a little walk through the trees rather than seat in a couch in front of your TV.  Then on weekends, invite your family and friends for a little picnic at a nature park.

There are more than 400 registered national  parks in the U.S.  Perhaps there is one near your home. Why not schedule a spring break with your family and friends?

8. Cook a delicious meal with your partner.

Whether you do this often after work or during weekends, experimenting on different dishes is both a fun and healthy way to add variety to your diet. Plus, doing this with your partner strengthen the bonds between the two of you.

It’s also no secret that cooking at home is healthier than eating in fast food chains. Even less expensive than dining out. So replace that TV time with cooking time.

From now on, you don’t have stick to a quick and mediocre meal. Take control over what you eat.

You don’t have to be a chef to do this. But be decisive about what you eat, and be willing to be in a trial-and-error mode, until you achieve the right taste.

And don’t forget. Do this with your partner.

Believe me, it’s more fun that way!

9. Cultivate a garden.

Imagine a pantry filled with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables during autumn. However, these did not come from the grocery store, but from your own garden, planted by your own hands! Plus a room full of fresh flowers!

Do you just love the sight?

Then why not cultivate your own garden during your free time?

If you can’t handle a lot of plants at the moment, then start at just one, either a flower, an herb or a vegetable. Learn how to grow it. Then as you gain experience, add more plants accordingly.

You don’t even need a large space for this hobby. You can start by simply using small planters.

Here are some ideas you can start with.

  1. How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers
  2. Growing Mint from Cuttings
  3. How to Grow Sweet Peas

10. Write a journal.

In the process of decluttering my bedroom, I found lots of notebooks, most of them still have vacant pages.  As I browsed through their contents, I realized, they were my journals from years ago, more popularly known to me as diary.

Looks like notebooks have long been the storehouse of my thoughts and emotions. Everyday I would record my thoughts and how I felt about a particular person, situation and experience.

I still keep a diary today, although I don’t write to it everyday anymore. I update it whenever I get confused, or I just don’t know how to pour out my emotions. I’m an introvert type so I don’t normally share my feelings to other people. I keep them to myself. And I can see that through the years, writing has been the most effective way of releasing them.

So why not try it?

Perhaps you want to clarify your thoughts. Or you want to be aware of your current behavior and how you can start a new habit. Maybe you want to get yourself motivated? Or you simply want to track your mood.

Whatever it is, write. Whether you use paper or laptop as a medium, it doesn’t matter. Use what works best for you.

According to a study, writing about a stressful situation helps you lessen its impact on your health.  All the more reason for you to start writing a journal.

Use your time wisely.

Okay. So those are the ten highly productive activities you can do rather than waste your time on watching television. Feel free to choose any of that to replace TV.


Do not eliminate it completely.


I know… After telling you that watching TV is only a waste of your time, how can I advise you not to eliminate it completely?

Because there are still times, when watching TV is NOT  a waste of time.

Like when it’s Saturday night and you are watching Star Wars with your whole family. It’s not the TV. It’s the family. You don’t want to miss those bonding moments.

So rather than eliminating TV completely, be intentional when you watch TV. Like the activities detailed here, make sure that when you watch television, you’ve got a purpose.

And I mean real purpose. Like family bonding – time with your husband and kids.  Or when it’s simply worth to watch it because it encourages you and inspires you; like the movie  Three Idiots.

Do not watch TV to kill time, or to purely entertain yourself, or to combat your loneliness.  This list is a clear proof that there are much better ways to do that.

You want to kill time? Fine! Start a blog.

You want entertainment? Read a book.

Lonely? Serve others. Volunteer and meet some new friends!

See what I mean?

Now it’s your turn. Pick your favorite activity and do it.  If you can do all of these, much better!

Remember, the best way to forget something is to REPLACE IT.

Which is your favorite among this list?  Feel free to drop you comments.

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