TV Turnoff Challenge: Day 13

I am 13 days into my TV Turnoff Challenge already! It definitely feels like I just started, but alas, I am almost halfway through!

I’ve decided over the past 24 hours that I need to make further adjustments. Not only did I find myself continuing to ache for TV, but I also found myself turning to Youtube, Facebook, and my phone when I wanted to do something which required no thought or effort. Talk about defeating the purpose. This challenge isn’t going to do a thing if I cut TV, but replace it with mind-numbing scrolling and compulsive video watching.

So here are the adjustments all together:

  • No TV except for my one show and only two movies on the weekends.
    • I watched three this past weekend and felt icky about it.
  • My computer is only to be used during work hours (obviously) and for blogging, wedding planning, or completing real to-do items (like taxes, for example).
  • I will be setting a time limit on my desktop for Facebook. I have decided on one hour per day.
  • No technology in bed. No phone, no ipad—the only thing allowed is my Kindle to read.
  • No phone during lunchtime and very limited access to my phone apps in general
    • Real time: I’m currently looking into an app that will limit me!

It’s a lot. But my technological dependence is like having one piece of cake a day on a diet—and my slice has just been getting bigger and bigger. This is meant to be a challenge and I know the rest of this month is not going to be easy, but I can already say I don’t plan on going back to how things used to be, that’s for sure.

I know I will have more to write on this subject, as there are so many realizations I have yet to experience, but I’m feeling strong about this decision and I’m ready to take it to the next step—to really challenge myself.

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Tv Turnoff Challenge: Day 3 Header

TV Turnoff Challenge: Day 3

Happy Saturday everyone!

There is nothing more comforting (hyperbole) than a Saturday morning. I get to sleep in (and by “sleep in,” I mean I usually don’t sleep past 8:30—today was 7:15). But it’s always lovely to wake up on a Saturday morning knowing the day is totally yours.

Today is Day 3 of my no TV challenge and, my goodness, am I glad to be doing this—I definitely did not think it would be this hard! Day 1 wasn’t too bad; the excitement of trying this challenge was fresh and I was really pumped about the possibilities of the day.

The times I knew it would be hardest have proven to be as expected. When I reached lunchtime on Day 1, I already felt so out of sorts—I had no idea what to do with myself. Lunch time is my time to turn off my brain and get some relaxation in, so I typically eat my lunch and watch TV that requires no thought, but makes me happy (i.e. Friends, Gilmore Girls, etc.). I was so afraid that sitting there, eating my lunch in silence, would be painful.

I was dead wrong.

I made my lunch—a chicken and spinach salad (yum!)—and sat at the kitchen counter. I knew that sitting in the big comfy chairs would do me no good and close proximity to the TV just isn’t an option right now hah. I decided when I sat down that I would try to quiet my mind and enjoy what truly felt like alone time. “But you work from home—you’re already alone.” Yes, that is true, but I’m in constant contact with people all day and my brain is constantly firing away. So to find time in my day to just be is imperative.

When lunch was over, I had a ton of time left in my break and I wanted to do things that would keep me moving, rather than reading or taking a nap—didn’t want to bring down my energy at the time of day it’s hardest to keep it up. So I chose to straighten things up. I did the dishes, folded my laundry, made the bed (my new schedule means I am already working by the time Nick gets out of bed and, most days, I don’t stop until lunchtime), and even got my outfit ready for the next day. I felt good! After work, I immediately donned some comfortable clothes and did my at-home yoga practice—something I now have more time for every day!

Nick and I agreed that he doesn’t have to join my challenge, but we do need to eat dinner together away from the TV. He’s totally on board with that, as it’s a great habit to get into in general. So I made dinner, we ate together, and caught up on the day. Afterwards, the night was mine. I read some of my book, took a bath, and even tackled some wedding emails. I was completely content and happy with my evening.

Which brings me to one of my favorite aspects so far: oftentimes, I would find myself looking at the clock at 9PM and saying, “I feel like I just finished work and soon I’ll be going to bed and starting all over tomorrow.” That realization was one of the reasons I’ve started to alter my schedule, but it’s also something that my challenge has helped. Prior to my changes, I would be done with work for the day, and the usual routine would kick in: make dinner, watch TV and eat, watch more TV, and go to bed. Time would fly as we wasted hours just staring at the television.

Now? I finish work and I have hours to fill. Granted, waking up earlier means going to bed earlier, so I’m not up until 11/12 anymore, but from the time I am done work until I go to bed, the time is mine. It’s a liberating feeling and it’s amazing to know that I can finally do some of the things I really enjoy, but don’t have the time to do during the day. I can now look at the clock and feel truly content with my day and evening, rather than wishing there were more hours.

Last night was hard—I won’t go into it too much since my Day 1 recount was so detailed, but Friday night without plans, after a very long day at work, meant all I wanted to do was… nothing hah. Nick went out with his brother and I was left to my own devices. I found myself aching to watch TV. I sat there for a good 10 minutes trying to justify putting it on. Happy to say I resisted. I sat and ate my dinner in silence, followed by finishing my book, a lovely bath, and some wedding research. As much resistance as there was, I was so happy to have spent my evening that way and it leaves me feeling really excited for the potential of the next month.

My laundry list of things to do is massive this weekend, but I find comfort and excitement in knowing I don’t have TV to inconspicuously push it all off, never to be done. I am only 3 days into this, but I feel good and I really look forward to the potential days where it’s not so hard—did I mention this is hard?? And I didn’t even think I watched that much!!

To anyone considering this, I already suggest doing so. Each person has their own unique benefits to gain from this challenge, regardless of how much TV you watch, unless we’re talking an hour or two a week. I may only be a few days into it, but I can already see how this is going to change things.

Will continue to keep you posted! I think the weekend will be tough at times, but I’m up to it!!

Until next time…

Turning it Off

I’m doing it. I am taking the plunge. I found my inspiration, my push and I’m doing it. I’m building this up so much that it is bound to be a letdown to my amazing readers haha.

I am cutting out TV for the next month (with exceptions because, let’s face it: I’m weak and in the middle of a series). Over the past few weeks, a post has been brewing in my mind about making things happen—about accepting the *positive* things you want for your life and committing to making them happen.

I’ve taken steps to adjust my day-to-day routine in an attempt to better reflect my strengths and desires. In case anyone doesn’t know, I work from home. There are stipulations when it comes to my schedule, but there is also incredible potential to really customize my day, while still doing the job I need to.

I reached a point where I had to be honest with myself and say, “Kat, if you want your days to align with what you want, you need to do something about it—things aren’t just going to magically work themselves out with no effort.” I’ve been working to adjust my schedule to better utilize my most productive time of the day and to give me some time back when I’m not so productive. It’s still a work in progress and will continue to evolve, especially when we get a house, but I’ve already experienced the benefits. So here is where I am kicking it up a notch.

I just started reading Chip and Joanna Gaines’s book: The Magnolia Story and, safe to say, I am already enthralled with it—just when I didn’t think I could love them more. Part of it has to do with enjoying being able to learn about their history, relationship, and how they got to where they are. I always love the chance to connect with people, regardless of whether or not I know them personally—opportunities like that make me feel like I do. But the other part is the similarities I’ve picked up on that really resonated with me. They were things I’ve thought, said, or done. I find it all very inspiring and sometimes even a little creepy, if I’m being honest.

But what on earth does that have to do with giving up TV? A fun fact about Chip and Jo: they don’t watch TV. I heard that a while back and thought it was strange, but they addressed it in the book. It was suggested to them during marriage counseling that they try 6 months without TV. After 6 months, they decided to do 6 more and, to this day, don’t own a TV. They just don’t feel like they need one. Now, I love TV; but probably too much.

I am proud to have many aspirations. They may not be grandeur by others’ standards, but they are important to me and could lead me in a direction I’d love to go. But I am constantly faced with the struggle of “not having time.” As a disclaimer, the ‘no TV’ concept is not the only thing I’ve taken away from the book so far, but it presented an interesting option to try. TV sucks away so much time from each and every day. I want to challenge myself to give it up so that I am forced to find other things to do—preferably all those things I was referring to before.

As I mentioned, I’m being a little lenient with myself. I am going to give myself one show during the week—definitely not saying which one because it’s embarrassing, but I am smack dab in the middle of the season—and maybe a movie or two with Nick per week. But that’s it. My biggest struggles will be lunchtime, which I usually pass with TV, and evenings when we usually relax and watch TV or a movie. All I know is that I hate wasting away my time “off” during the day and it’s becoming increasingly important to devote time to my aspirations and personal to-do list.

So tomorrow is the official start to the 30 days. It’s not as brave as 6 months, but a girl needs to start somewhere. I am excited about this, though I know it won’t be easy… and the fact that this is going to be so hard just proves it needs to be done.

Wish me luck and I will keep y’all posted!

Update 3: 489 Days to Go!

That is right! We have 489 days to go until our wedding! What does that mean???

— WE OFFICIALLY HAVE A DATE —

I am so excited to announce that the first step on our massive to do list is completed: we found our venue, the contract is signed, and the deposit is out of my account!! Our date also happens to fall exactly 4 days in between the anniversaries of my parents and Nick’s parents/grandparents. For two people who really didn’t have a date preference (we even switched seasons!), that worked out quite beautifully.

Finding the venue wasn’t all that difficult because the “competition” wasn’t all that confusing—I’ll tell you why. While there were quite a number of options in Delaware, Maryland, and Southeastern PA, their offerings and price tags honestly made our lives easier. We hit the trifecta with our venue: it’s nearby, it’s everything we were looking for when it came to the space, versatility, and management, and the best part: the price was the best we found (with the exception of the other venue we saw). We were left with the question of whether or not to continue looking at others, but when it came down to it, this venue had everything we wanted and for the best price. Our answer was clear and now it’s ours! Yay!

While I truly wish this was the hardest part, it’s proving not to be.

THE CATERING AND BUDGET

Woah now. Food is expensive. Alcohol is expensive. People can eat before they come.

We are in the process of hunting for caterers. I’ve reached out to a number of companies and we’re starting to hear back from people now. As of this moment, we have one, maybe two viable options and three if we cut our list. I’m probably going to reach out to more, but we’ll have a good number to choose from, I think. To be straight, all I want to do is go to tastings—that would make this bride very happy.

There’s a general “rule” that says your reception (venue, catering, alcohol, etc.) should be approximately 48-50% of your total budget. Well, there’s also some recommendations that you pick your top priorities and agree that, if you spend more on those items, you’ll spend less on everything else. Venue was one of the top priorities, so now begins the challenge of where to go from here.

Budget has been the hardest aspect for many reasons. Ours has already changed more than once because more realities have set in. So why is budgeting for a wedding hard, in my opinion?

  1. The reality that what we thought we could expect when it comes to pricing is often totally off.
  2. We need to figure out to reach our goal in the time we have (though I’m confident we are in a good spot now)
  3. This budget has had to change to accommodate the things we want.
    and worst of all….
  4. We’re faced with constant struggle of wanting a special day in a special place to celebrate our love with the people we love vs. not wanting to spend all this freaking money on it.

I’ve grappled with number four over and over again. So has Nick. But we realized that we want this day to be special; we want it to be with our closest family and friends; and most importantly, we truly believe we would regret doing it any other way. So we’ll make it work and cut where we can.

A WOODWARD WEDDING

I’ve been struggling with how much information to share in this section of my blog as a result of another challenge we’re facing: the cutting down of our list. I recently had a wedding-related experience that left me feeling pretty down and I really don’t want to put others in that position. On the flip side, I also really want to share this exciting time with family and friends who I’m not in constant communication with all the time. Let’s face it: who has the time for 50 phone calls every time something happens? Not to mention, the closest family members on my side are a few hours away—technology keeps us going. I also really believe that having this planning archive to read from years from now will be very special.

There are certain realities that we have to face with planning a wedding and one of them is that, despite it being “our day,” we still have limitations because we don’t have unlimited resources, if you catch my drift. I genuinely hope y’all can get what I’m gettin’ at here, because there is no eloquent way to put what I’m trying to say—and I’ve been trying since last night. It puts us in a disappointing position, but a very real one that many couples end up having to face when they have a set budget. I guess I am putting this out there as a general disclaimer because of the disappointment I faced recently. It’s a precautionary and genuine measure and my intent for this blog is to share this exciting time in our lives, not to rub noses. I’ll leave it at that.

NEXT STEPS

When it comes to where to go next, we have to work towards getting the “big” stuff out of the way. There is a LOT going on in our lives right now—we are seriously trying to tackle a lot—and we have some very exciting news sitting on the horizon waiting for some Is and Ts to get their dots and crosses. We planned a longer engagement for a reason and if we don’t keep moving, we’ll turn around and see all those extra, comfortable months sitting in the dust.

However, we are in a great spot. I look forward to getting those big things out of the way so we can get to the really fun stuff!!

Until next time!