“I intended to spend 1 or 2 hours watching TV shows but end up watching for 5 or 6 hours continuously. I felt dizzy, tired, exhausted, but I just couldn’t stop!”If you have same experience, here are eight core tips I concluded from my qualitative research on binge watching that may help you with your addiction to TV shows.
Before you start a show, think about these things first:
#1 How much time do you have? If not much, watch short clips only.
A common complaint about binge watching is that it ruins people’s plans. If you are absolutely free, of course you can watch whatever you want for as long as you like. But the reality is more likely that you have work to do, papers to write, appointments to go. If you don’t want binge watching to affect your life, do not start one. Measure your available time and watch some short funny clips on YouTube instead, you can have a wonderful time without getting sucked into it.
#2 Comedy or drama? Comedy is less addictive.
If you are planning to start watching a show, but are worried about getting stuck in binge watching, a handy tip for you is to watch comedies, instead of dramas. Comedies focus on funny moments which are performed in just one or two scenes. They usually don’t have a strong, addictive and suspensive storyline. Many respondents from my study pointed out that 2-3 episodes of comedy shows in one session are usually enough for them.
#3 Watch in an old fashioned way (one episode per week) will help.
What if you just don’t feel like watching comedies? Then, watch your drama show during traditional TV airing season. While distributors like Netflix are creating the buzz of personalizing viewers’ watching experience by releasing a whole season at a time, my research actually found that there are still merits in the old school one episode per week experience. If you find yourself keep hitting the next episode button, chances are you are not the best person to “personalize” your watching experience, and it might be a better idea to leave it to the channels. It doesn’t mean that you have to watch TV every 7pm to 8pm on a certain day of the week. With the technology today, we can easily record it through DVR so the watching time is flexible. However, because there’s only one episode available per week, the amount of time watching the show is limited. Moreover, you might actually enjoy that specific episode more. Having only one precious episode makes you pay more attention in details, characteristics, acting and have fun thinking of what will happen next instead of rushing into it.
If you are already in your TV show watching journey, follow the tips below:
#4 Stop at the middle of the episode.
Another very useful technique comes from my boyfriend! He’s smart. That’s why I love him. :P What he does is that he sometimes stop watching at the middle of an episode. We all know how TV series trying to hook us - setting up something mysterious at the end of an episode to attract people to the next one. And it is hard to resist! So with a strong sense of guilt, we move on to the next episode to feed our curiosity. So next time, try stopping in the middle of an episode! That’s it. Find a point where the storytelling hits a little pause and stop being controlled by the “evil” TV directors and writers! Be your own master.
#5 Skip to the ending.
Ok, ok. I know it how much you guys hate spoilers and how it’s against the “show watching moral”. But to be honest, not every show is worth of your full attention. And you won’t hurt anybody for just giving yourself a small spoiler. If you want to break your binge watching, this might be a very good technique. Well, on the other hand, it might result in you abandoning the entire show. Oops.
#6 Do not full screen.
Another tricky thing you might never noticed when watching online streaming platform is that when you go full screen, the system time usually disappear. That’s well designed for you to enjoy your show, or your binge watching. Imagining a Friday night, you close your curtain, sit in bed with your iPad and enjoy TV series. With no clock and no ads, 6-7 episodes a night is not mission impossible. Thus, do not full screen and let the time tell you how late it is.
#7 Watch with another person.
Watch with your family or spouse, especially with those who loses their interest very fast. You will see how helpful this simple tip is. One thing to notice is that do not pick up a person that’s as addictive as you are. “One more? Yes, one more!”
#8 Do not watch Breaking Bad.
I am not joking. According to my study, many respondents mentioned that “Breaking Bad” is like a good drug itself. It’s a great show of course, but it is soooo addictive. Although I personally didn’t really enjoyed it, I’ve heard too much people stay up late for it. Some of those are actually very well-organized people. So be very careful if you plan to start watching this 5 season series.
That’s all my tips. Hope it helps you to enjoy your TV shows as well as feeling good.