13 Tips for Staying Productive While Watching Cable TV

Tanner | May 17, 2011

I like watching television, but find it hard to sit still for the duration of a show. So instead of slumping on the couch, I turn TV time into an opportunity to be productive. Here are some ways I like to stay active while watching television. Whether you’re tuned into a Real Housewives marathon or are checking the NHL scores on ESPN, try these activities to make your TV time anything but unproductive.

  1. Get limber. Sitting–especially slouching on the couch–causes muscle tightness, which can lead to chronic pain and injury. I stay loose by using the wall-space near my TV to stretch my hamstrings, and hit the floor with a foam roller to ease the tension in my IT bands.
  2. Exercise. TV time is the ideal opportunity to do crunches, push-ups, squats, planks, jumping jacks, lunges, yoga poses, and more. I work out during commercial breaks, but you might be tough enough to sweat through an entire show.
  3. Fold Laundry. This mindless activity complements my favorite sit-coms, and digging into a fresh-from-the-dryer basket keeps me cozy on chilly nights.
  4. Iron. Ironing is my least favorite chore, so I set up my ironing board in front of a funny show, and laugh myself through the whole pile of wrinkly clothing.
  5. Groom pets. I brush my dogs while we watch TV. I also clean their ears, brush their teeth, and check them over for any sore spots. The noise and visual stimulation from the television helps to distract them while I poke and prod.
  6. Handwork. I tackle the quick projects in my sewing basket while watching TV. I sew on buttons, repair seams, and mark trousers for machine hemming. I also like to knit, cross stitch, and make origami while relaxing in front of a TV show or movie.
  7. Pay bills. Whether you pay the piper online or via snail-mail, doing so while tuned in to your favorite show makes handing over your hard-earned money a bit less painful.
  8. Keep in touch. I always address my holiday card envelopes in front of “Christmas Vacation” to help me get into the seasonal spirit.  I also use TV time to write thank you notes, send greeting cards, and make sure my address book is current.
  9. Organize. There is always something in my house that could be a little neater. In recent weeks, while watching the NBA playoffs, I’ve alphabetized my recipe box, straightened my craft bin, and dumped out and cleaned up the junk drawer.
  10. Plan ahead. I’m not a morning person, so I plan my outfits for the week while watching television on Sunday evening. I also make a menu plan for the week, and ensure that the fridge and pantry are stocked with what I need. Often, I get inspiration from an outfit or entree on the show I’m watching.
  11. Clean. I dust the family room and sift through that teetering pile of magazines on the coffee table while watching television. If need be, I vacuum and hit other rooms during commercials. I try to get my whole house straightened and swept by the time my show is over.
  12. Use that brain. I keep my mind sharp—even while tuned in to trashy TV—by working crossword and Sudoku puzzles.
  13. Have a spa night. I give myself a manicure, pedicure, or facial while watching TV. This is also a great time to let fake tanner dry without smudging.

Do you have any tips for making TV time more productive? Leave us a comment and let us know. Photo by ezs.


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