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Movie addiction

Netflix vs. books

Lately, I found that I like reading even more than watching Netflix. How?

I created a dedicated space for reading. Loaded books to my tablet. Reserved the time in my schedule. Reading followed. Easy right? Yeah, well, there were a few iterations :) To get to the bottom of this, let me first describe how I ended up watching so many movies in the first place.

Way to recharge

I love to socialize. But after a few hours of human interaction, I’m more exhausted than after a 10 km run. I’m an introvert, and I need quiet time. I rarely played video games since I become quite aggressive afterword. So how do I recharged during my quiet time? Well, Netflix was a winner for a while. I was competing against a company that claims:

Our biggest business competition is human tiredness.

Despite all that ‘recharge’ time with movies, I still wasn’t recharged. Then came a wake-up call. In 2018 I started monitoring my time in 15 min intervals (a story for another time). After a few months, I realized that one-third of my time was spent watching series or movies. One third was sleep; the other third was work. I figured I had to change something. I was determined to escape the rule of smart Netflix/YouTube algorithms. As with developing any new habit, I needed a few tries.

Try number one

I unsubscribed from all the streaming services, blocked all video web sites. To no surprise, I fell off the cliff the next day. Found the video content online for free. OK, I need a better strategy. How do I fill my time that would otherwise be spent in the fantasy world of Hollywood? Maybe books?

Try number two

Download books and try to read. OK. Sounds easy. Luckily I knew I had an ace in my pocket. You see, every time I pick up a book and find it interesting, I can read for a month straight until I finish the book. Song of Ice and Fire was one example (Game of Thrones was filmed after it). But then I wouldn’t pick the next book for months. So strategy: Suck it until you get sucked in, and the subconsciousness will do the rest. Worked partially.

Try number three

That frantic reading worked for a while, but occasionally the urge for movies was too high. So back to watching. I would kick and pressure myself for falling back to the old routines. Eventually, I realized I needed both. Well, all three: books, movies, and social life. But I still wanted to read more, so I needed to iron out my reading habit.

Try number four

As I moved to a new apartment, I dedicated a place to reading. A place where I could comfortably sit for hours and read. A good chair that supports the head, body, and legs was the key. I don’t recommend reading in bed. You should train your mind to associate the reading corner with reading and bed with sleeping (OK and other extracurricular activities).

Digital book stock

You finish a book and then don’t pick the next one. Well, have a list of interesting books on the stack. These days I don’t buy physical copies any more but rather digital ones. I have a folder with unread books on my PC. Once I read a book, I pick the next one. BTW you can unlock Amazon e-books with some terminal magic. Not to steal them but to be able to store and archive them in any format. PDF, for example.

Book at a time

I noticed that I have way more motivation if I read one book at a time. Yes, it takes a bit of discipline. But the advantage of reading a single book at a time is that you finish the book faster. Result the motivation spike comes earlier, and that keeps me going. Sure, if you are an experienced reader, go for multiple books, but be careful that you don’t fall off the cliff.

Aha moment

I read about 50 books in the last 6 months, but no worries, I still watch Netflix :) Though I noticed a few things. Books shouldn’t be too heavy to read. Forget stuff like research articles or economic analysis. Go for something that stimulates your brain, but not so much that you can’t sleep later on.

I also noticed that after reading, my mind is more focused and calmer than after watching movies. Books often stimulate my mind in the direction of the book’s topic. Movies result in ending up somewhere in the fantasy world. Find the right balance between movies and books, and your mind will thank you for it.

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