Part of the problem with binge watching TV shows is not just that it is physically unhealthy to do so. It is also unproductive, and random, everyday tasks that need to be accomplished may fall by the wayside.
Because the author of this column has severe concentration problems and the attention span of a cricket, her home often looks like something from “Hoarders”. She often has trouble accomplishing many basic tasks (brushing teeth, washing her face, buying groceries, exercising, etc).
So, she obtained some advice from a therapist on how to stay focused and actually take care of herself. The therapist recommended self monitoring, a useful trick in keeping her from being held hostage by her TV set.
Buy something to write on. This can be a mini notepad that fits in your pocket or a full sized journal. The size of what you choose to use will depend on how able you are to carry it around. If you rely on pockets, then you will want something pocket sized. If you carry a purse, then you can have the luxury of a journal.
Do NOT make a schedule. What you want to do is write down something to accomplish upon waking. That can be something as simple as making the bed. If your brain is fully functioning upon waking, then basic morning rituals can be documented in a list. Don’t feel obligated to do this if you typically wake up in a fog. If you miss something that needs to be accomplished, then you will see from its absence on the list that it was not accomplished. So if you often “forget” to stretch in the morning, the absence of stretching as an activity on your list will remind you to do it.
Frequently document what you do in a day. This should be around every 15-30 minutes. This sounds extreme, but that is actually what the therapist suggested. Some tasks that take longer to accomplish, such as watching a one hour TV show, will take less frequent documenting. However, once you finish your one hour TV show, that means it’s time to start documenting again. This should continue until you are ready to stop accomplishing tasks for the day and are ready to wind down.
Again, the point of all this documentation is not to make a list and follow it to the letter. It’s to self monitor by keeping tabs on what you are accomplishing over the course of your day. This will make you more aware of how much TV you are watching, and it will remind you to keep up with everyday tasks that should be accomplished despite your decision to binge watch.