Perhaps I was a little overzealous in thinking I could write meaningful posts every day – I’ll probably just dial this back to every-few-days.
Supposedly we best reveal ourselves when we are under pressure or duress – and a lot of that has come out in the last few years with work and life. My usual “just take it and it’ll work itself out” mantra was being tested and I’d realized that I needed to be more proactive with life rather than simply wait it out. I’d spent many years just going with the flow of things, until the end of 2012 when I got jump-started into changing up my plan thanks to a very messy breakup. It spurred me to become far more productive with my actions and decisions – at the time, I was living alone in a studio with no cable TV. Prior to grad school, and during my first 2 years at Raytheon, I wasted a lot of time watching TV and playing video games for all hours of the post-workday. Re-runs were my relief tool. I’ve watched the entire series of Scrubs at least 4 times through (love that show, though). That takes up a lot of time, but when you’re comfortable (or lazy), it’s easy to fill your time with TV.
When I had to finally take a look at what I was doing and where I was going, I focused all of my attention on being productive with my time. I had just moved, and cable wasn’t worth the cost living by myself. I had my PS3, but I pushed away my desire to play any more games. I had an HDTV antenna, but I could only pick up CBS and FOX on one end; if I wanted ABC or NBC I’d have to move the antenna to the other side of the room. Instead, partially in an effort to prove to myself that I wasn’t that lazy, I picked up web development, started studying for the GMAT, and worked on getting a new job. Before I knew it, my TV and PS3 were collecting dust (aside from a weekend where I binged Weeds on Netflix), I had established a few webdesign projects for clients, was knee-deep in GMAT quant, and had a few interviews lined up in the Bay Area. Within 10 months, I was packing up that studio apartment and bidding adieu to Raytheon for a new opportunity in the Bay.
My takeaway from that process was that not having cable TV made me the most productive I’d ever been in my life. Without the easy distraction, I found something else to point my restless energy towards and jumped in. The whole process changed the way I worked and thought, for better and for worse. I became far more driven than I’d ever been, following up talk with action and working to figure out what my real plan was. But at the same time, trying to fill all my time with productivity inevitably made me feel anxious when I wasn’t being productive – leisure activities, like watching TV, had me counting the minutes I was spending so that I’d make it up later, or minimize the time. I’m still like that now, but I’m learning to balance and adjust it. After 5 months of GMAT studying, I bought a PS4, and that is definitely a time sucker, so by ‘balance’ I’m probably just counting major swings that cancel each other out. As I work towards applications in the Fall, I have a lot more work cut out for me, so I’m still figuring out if I need to go no-TV again. We’ll see.
TL;DR: no TV = super productive Ryan who changes the world