Scrolling through photo blogs and watching ridiculously entertaining movies and shows such as Revenge, Modern Family, True Blood, and Sleepy Hollow are some of my favorite hobbies. Did you know that on average, Americans watch 5:11 hours of TV a day?! (3:14 hours Asian, 4:35 Hispanic, 5:02 Black, 5:02 White, and 7:12 Black, Source: BLS American Time Use Survey, A.C. Nielsen Co.) That is a lot of TV! At first those numbers may sound inflated, but if you just watch one NFL game (~3:30 hours) and one hour-long drama that already adds up to 4:30 hours. So I can totally understand those figures. Time and opportunity get sucked away if we’re not careful. We have to change from being a consumer to a producer to grow wealth.
Start Feeling Guilty For Fuel To Change
I think TV addiction can turn into a serious problem not only for individuals, but for developed countries as well due to the amount of productivity wasted on a frequent basis. I know TV certainly overtook my own life! I had no idea that when I wrote a self help guide based on my own TV addiction entitled, “How To Overcome Your TV Addiction In 10 Steps, A Personal Journey” would turn into one of my most popular articles!
I will always love watching TV, but now I love even more how much I can fill my life and accomplish when the TV is off. I spend more time with friends now, stay active, and I am able to spend more time working and writing Untemplater articles and hustling on my side business. The rewards are greater happiness and financial reward. Now whenever I switch on the TV I immediately feel guilty just consuming and not producing!
I’ve recently begun reverting back to about two hours of TV a day since the Fall season is back. But 100% of the time I watch TV it’s through the DVR so I can at least fast forward through all the commercials. A hour long show becomes 40 minutes or even shorter if I fast forward through fluff scenes. And I also find ways to use efficient and effective multitasking by simultaneously filing papers, paying bills, and responding to emails and comments while watching due to the guilt of mindless consuming.
Ascribing A Monetary Value To Your Production
I watch people on their phones all the time and I scratch my head wondering what they’re doing. I try to avoid taking a laptop when I travel so when I’m on my phone I’m running my blog and working online. Most people I see on their phones are just having fun playing games or killing time on social media channels.
If you add up social media time wasting + games + TV watching, is there any wonder why it’s hard for people to get ahead nowadays? I am horrible at staying on top of my FB and Twitter accounts and still haven’t taken the time to sign up for Google +. I can barely keep up with one so I have no interest in signing up for even more social media platforms because they largely are a waste of time. One platform is enough, just like one credit card is probably enough!
Given it takes me about one hour on average to write a rough draft of a 1,000 word blog post, each hour I spend watching TV or wasting time on social media is one less post I can prepare to publish. Ascribing a monetary value to our production potential is one way to prevent spending too much time on consumption alone. For example, let’s say my website is worth $100,000 and I’ve written 200 posts. That puts each post worth roughly $500. Suddenly spending 1-2 hours watching TV doesn’t sound as temping as being able to sit down and producing something for my website worth X. By ascribing a hypothetical value to my content I consciously stop my temptation to consume so I can produce instead.
You Have To Want It
There are a limited number of hours in every day and you have to want to change from being a consumer to a producer to grow wealth. I won’t deny that we all need balance and time to rest, but feeling productive is just way more rewarding in my opinion than sitting back and just consuming all the time.
If by chance you have never produced anything, then the opportunity cost isn’t so bad. But I bet your bottom dollar that you can produce something of value. I’m not just talking about writing helpful articles for the world to see. I’m also referring to staying late at work for another hour, volunteering, reading to your kids, working on an invention, getting smart on coding, studying up on investment strategies and so forth.
Learn To Wake Up Early And Get In Better Shape
Highly successful people tend to be early risers. They get more things done faster because they maximize the body’s natural higher energy and productivity levels at the start of the day compared to the end of the day. Think about it. You should never ask a colleague to do something for you at 5pm! Why? Because they would probably bite your head off because they’re already spent and just want to go home.
My best weekends are when I wake up early, write and focus on work items first thing for a few hours, and then have the rest of the day to enjoy the outdoors and go out and see friends. Sleeping in can feel great when I really need it, but it messes up the rest of my day. It just doesn’t feel good to go out to do something fun first but constantly have nagging thoughts about all the work that’s still waiting back at home. Get the tough stuff done and out of the way early in the day and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
It’s also much easier to squeeze in exercise at the start of the day versus at the end. Rarely do I ever feel motivated to go out for a run after getting home from work. Office jobs can be bad for our health because work can be stressful, boring, and often times sedentary. The more stressful and sedentary, the more weight you will gain. The more out of shape you are, the less energy you have and the worse you’ll perform at work and your side businesses. But if you knock your exercise out of the way in the morning, you have a better chance at increasing your productivity, energy, and advancing your career.
Steps To Grow Your Wealth And Change From Being A Consumer To A Producer
Your wealth just isn’t going to grow on its own unless you’ve already spent years developing passive income streams. Change your actions from being a consumer to a producer of things or services someone else wants to consume. If there’s something you’ve been putting off doing for a while, set out one hour today to change your mindset and get started. Here are some helpful tips to help you go from being just a consumer to a producer.
1. Check your credit score for free. Take a minute to check your credit score. Did you know that 30% of credit reports have errors? Don’t let errors or identity left hurt your ability to refinance or get approved for new loans.
2. Reduce your number of credit cards. Simplify your wallet and bill pay with having only 1-3 credit cards. You’ll also be less tempted to rack up debt with fewer cards and can take better advantage of rewards programs.
3. Manage your finances in one place. Make monitoring all of your bank accounts, credit cards, assets, and spending a whole lot easier by linking your accounts together through Personal Capital. This totally free online platform aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Don’t hide from your debt or your fear of managing your money – take control! The best feature of Personal Capital is its 401(k) / Portfolio Fee Analyzer. I ran my 401(k) through their tool and it showed I was spending over $1,000 in portfolio fees I had no idea I was paying. As a result, I swapped out my funds for lower cost funds. It only takes a minute to sign up. Plus you also have to option to receive a complimentary session with a financial advisor at your own convenience.
4. Check for lower auto insurance rates. Auto insurance is the second biggest expense to owning your car other than the initial purchase itself. Esurance is the leading online market place to help you find the most affordable and reliable auto insurance. They get you free comparison quotes from the largest market place to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Check for a better auto insurance quote via Esurance today.
5. Get comprehensive health insurance. Health insurance is another hot topic lately and you need good coverage to protect your wealth, family, and your future. If you don’t have health insurance through your employer, you can buy your own independent policy. I recommend using an insurance broker to help you find an affordable policy that best meet your needs. If you’re in between jobs and just need short-term, temporary health insurance, check out the options available through Agile health insurance.
Don’t forget to put a value on your time and production power. What is your time worth to you? If you don’t know then it’s all too easy to waste your time and have it slip away. If you are protective of your time however and put a value on your production power, you’re much more likely to stay focused, increase your productivity, and grow your wealth. You’ll also achieve a more enriching life by spending time doing the things you love with the people you care about the most.
And keep yourself moving forward and set SMARTER goals. We all have had a tendency to get lazy. One of the easiest ways to fight that is to have an up to date list of things you want to accomplish every day, week, month, and year. Make your goals SMARTER and don’t delay for tomorrow what you can do today!
Untemplaters, have you ever thought about changing from being a consumer to a producer? What is your biggest time sink right now? What steps are you taking to grow your wealth?
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Edward Antrobus says
I watch closer to 5 hours per week, but I also multi-task. If I have several shows queued up on the DVR, I’ll pull out the laptop and work on the blog while I’m catching up. Otherwise, I use commercial breaks to do the household chores.
Five hours a week is still quite a low number, so that’s good. I’ve actually used commercial breaks on the DVR too sometimes to put laundry away and such. It’s nice being able to fast forward though. I can’t believe how much time we used to waste before DVRs were created!
I like it! The concept of shifting from being a consumer to a producer seems like a profitable one. There is opportunity cost to consider when we indulge in leisure activities such as watching TV.
Now, downtime is of course important and life is to enjoy, but there are limits to wasted time for those who are needing to make money and accomplish things. If we like what we are doing and feel passionate about it, then maybe there is less incentive to spend hours on end in front of the TV, gaming, or doing other such “activities”.
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
One thing that I am always making an effort to do is to be productive. I wake up way earlier than I need to, because I have work to do and because it makes me much more productive. I have never been a huge TV watcher, though I do watch 1-2 shows at any given time, so a couple of hours per week. Even that it a time waster!
A couple hours a week isn’t bad at all. That’s well below average! And it sounds like you’re making good use of your mornings, awesome job!
Bryce @ Save and Conquer says
There is only so much time in each day. It’s funny how much a person can accomplish in a few hours each day, from writing an inspiring blog or book, to designing parts that will fly into outer space (what I do at work). If, rather than doing those things, we sit in front of the TV and turn our brains off, we won’t earn any money, and we won’t gain recognition for the things we can do.
Kostas @ Finance Blog Zone says
I fully agree Bryce. There are only so many hours in the day. You can spend them wasting away in front of the tv or getting something done that is productive. I find my most productive days are those when I wake up earlier than normal and dive head first into my projects. I’d much rather be productive than waste the day away, granted I do enjoy a lazy day on the weekend.
Yep! I woke up early this morning to get some stuff done before going to work. It felt great to get things accomplished and off my to do list first thing in the morning.
Financial Samurai says
It does feel weird always consuming now after publishing content for the past four years. It’s like a musician who only goes to concerts but never plays his own music. It doesn’t sit right!
I don’t think I’ll ever get an iPad for example. It just allows me to consume. I need a laptop instead. Producing becomes addicting!
I think iPads are cool, but I haven’t bought one yet. I definitely like laptops more because of the keyboards, slots, and applications. iPads must be awesome for travel though.