Some people may think that they spend too much time hypnotised in front of the TV… For some it may be where they get the vast majority of their education… Many of the illustrations I offer up for theories in my work, I illustrate with references to the telly and shows I watch… I guess that watching the telly is up there as one of the western world’s most popular pastimes (if not the most).

Here in the UK, it is certainly up there as one of the most common free-time activities, and those hours a day spent in front of it serve many people as a source of relaxation, fun, escape and stimulation.

I am one of those people that think the telly is a great servant, though a bad master. It is capable of making large sections of time disappear from your life, and sometimes not rewarding you greatly for those hours invested.

So how do we ensure that it is something we enjoy and employ rather than something we are driven by? I think there are some tactics we can all use to ensure it is not something we are enslaved by… And certainly avoid spending hours preparing for it by circling hundreds of shows each day that are going to fit in to our schedule.

It tends to be a good idea to share the telly. That is, enjoy it with others. I am not sure about you, but I have always found the jokes in films are far funnier when I am at the cinema sharing those gags with an audience. I love the times I have spent sat around with my close friends watching big sporting events (and the World Cup is only a week away!!), or gathered in the pub shouting and cheering. And I love those season finales and favourite films that I snuggle up to my wife to watch together.

The beauty of modern television and the digital age is that we get to record our favourite programmes. When you record your programmes, you get to watch them according to how you are feeling and at a time that best suits you. You get to choose your schedule. Plus, if you are not a fan of the commercials, you get to fast forward through them, hoooorah!

Saying that… I always look forward to certain nights when certain programmes are on… I am a huge fan of True Blood, Lost, Fringe and even Britains Got Talent! Looking forward to a certain telly event at that special time of week can sometimes enhance your pleasure, so heck, don’t always record stuff…  I often like the notion that there are millions of others tuning in to watch the same thing as I am at that time!

I am not suggesting you become too high brow about the telly, but consider investing some thought and consideration, even some learning into what you watch. As you learn more about something, it tends to become more fascinating. I often thumb through the Sunday Times Culture supplement and read reviews and critics thoughts, and also enjoy some interviews with the people involved in the show, get a notion of the philosophy behind it, for example.

I think the key thing is that you make a choice to watch your telly! It is fine getting hooked and hypnotised by a show from time to time, but not getting hypnosied by it just being there.

So many people I encounter walk into a room and automatically switch on the telly and slump into the couch and began channel hopping… All on auto-pilot. It is then not something we have chosen to do. Is there something else you could be enjoying or another way of investing your time for your betterment?

I tend to think that when you make a choice to watch the television, it can be a source of joy, excitement and something you want to discuss with other people. If you watch it passively, automatically, and for want of anything better to do, it can be a drain on happiness.

Heck, I know many people perfectly happy without any television in their lives… Have a great weekend, we are going to have loads of sunshine here!