Breaking up with TV…at least in the studio.

Movies and shows I love you. Oh, you are seductive. But, you lower my productivity by 90% or more and I just can’t have you in the studio anymore. Hulu, you bring me my favorite new shows. I look forward to checking my queue. I find you irresistible. NetFlix, I was able to eliminate cable because of you. I learn about the world through you, Art21, a mash of documentaries, and more Law and Order than even TNT shows. I must say goodbye. I must tell you so long. I must reserve you for evenings at home.

One of the things I loved about working in my studio at university was that it eliminated the tv…but not any more.

I never fully comprehended how watching movies and shows of any kind, even ones I’ve seen before, kills my creative process. I can’t write. I can’t sew or crochet. And while I can knit while watching tv, I’m a lousy pattern writer when I watch because I get “sucked in.”

I know this about myself and yet I perpetually self distruct my own creativity and work flow by watching “just one show” or “just one movie”. Which always turns into a rest of the day hulu/netflix/youtube binge. Not very helpful. So from today on, I’m going to restrict ban tv watching to after hours. Will I be able to hold to it? It might sound like an extreme thing to do, but given my complete inability to control myself, I’m actually blocking it on my computers. Sure I could unblock it, but it will be an extra step and it will hopefully give me a little more pause before tuning in.

Replacing a Bad Habit with Good Ones

I’ll be honest, sometimes I get a little bored while working. Not all of Craft Leftovers is fun, happy, crafting time. Even when it is, I like listening to something while I’m making things and putzing around the studio.

The radio:

I love the radio and I’ve missed that in my office/studio. Our old clock radio (who’s alarm clock function is broken) now has a home in my cube.

Here in Iowa we have great local, national, and international programing through Iowa Public Radio (AM640). In Ames, we also have a pretty nice college radio station that plays a diverse selection of music (88.5FM). The classical music station (90.5FM) has a really well rounded selection of classical music. Sometimes, it’s nice to just chill out and listen to a roaring symphony.


I like listening to a range of podcasts, but most have to do with either being creative, running a creativity based business, crafting, being an artist, or music. Here are my favorites:

The CraftyPod – All about being crafty. Started out as more of a how to and slowly morphed into a gem of an inspirational podcast covering topics from blog tune ups to the culture of free. Really interesting dialog on craft, entrepreneurism, and, of course, crafting!

Craft Sanity – Fun interviews with all sorts of people across the creative field, from editors to shop owners to bloggers like myself. A longer listen, but usually because Jennifer and the person she’s interviewing are just having a really great conversation about creativity (been there, she’s fun to talk to and asks great questions!).

The Accidental Creative – This has been the newest edition to my podcast listening. Each show is a discussion about a particular aspect of being in a creative job, where you are expected to come up with creative content on a regular basis. It covers ways to keep from burning out, staying true to your own creative practice, and regularly features great guest interviews–like the author of Getting Things Done for instance.

Bad at Sports – Chicago based podcast, but features interviews and reviews of art happenings all around the world. I think it was started when they were in college at the Art Institute, and then as they moved to separate parts of the world, they kept on as “reporters.” Really fun, kind of vulgar sometimes,  and very honest look at a broad base of contemporary art practice.

Ruby Fruit Radio – all girls all the time (music that is)

There are a lot of great video podcasts out there too, but like Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix, I try to keep that to after hours.


Most of you have heard of this, but if you haven’t you are in for a treat. Essentially the idea is to make your own radio station based off one band you love. If you sign up with your Facebook account, you can see what “radio stations” your friends like. My favorites are Bon Iver, New Pony Experience, and Bjork. You can also browse by genre and select radio stations Pandora puts together. I like the Chill/Downtempo and Classic Indie Stations.

And with that, I’m going to get back to making stuff to the sound of a little Bon Iver Radio.

Happy crafting!

Kristin Roach

4 thoughts on “Breaking up with TV…at least in the studio.

  1. I totally get this! I work from home and am an empty nester which means I craft in the quiet most of the time. The TV has been my constant companion. I have been keeping it on as background noise, just so I don't feel quite so alone all the time, BUT man can it suck the life out of my focus! If I'm sewing or knitting I have chosen to listen to podcasts or books on tape. I record TV shows and movies so I can FF through commercials and I am on a TV diet of just 2 hours per day (it's football season and I love football watching on Sundays with something yummy in the oven.) So thank you for this post Kristin! Hope you find new inspiration and energy from the decision.

    1. I think it's a pretty common condition. I have to say, since I blocked hulu and netflix on my work computers, I haven't even really thought about watching shows. It's just removed from my mind and I've been working away nicely all day. Hopefully it stays that way :) Thanks for sharing your story about tv watching. I tried the tv diet, but wow, I hate to admit this, I just don't have the strength of will to say no to Fringe or the half dozen other shows I rotate through on hulu!

  2. I commiserate totally with getting sucked into TV and getting little creative flow at that time. I have very little will power, and the only thing that has been stopping me is by knowing I don't want my little one watching it, so I restrict it to times she is in bed. Thanks for the podcast recommendations, I have been looking for some good ones to try out!

  3. I, too, use the tv as background noise during some of my more boring and less brain consuming tasks. Like completing and e-mailing my fill-in-the-blank contracts for our small shows, making call lists, scheduling calls, making business to do lists for husband, cleaning around the house and cooking.

    While I do love WOI there is some programming I find deeply annoying so I just can't turn the radio on during those times.

    If I'm doing brain work and need some noise to help me focus (ADD much?) I steam the Drone Zone from SomaFM. It's a fabulous internet radio station with a dozen or so different streams mostly in the ambient/trance/roots music/alternative vein.

    Cannot have anything at all on while sewing or doing any real creative work. Consumes too much brain power.

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