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Turn it Off and Change Your Life


I was in complete shock. The numbers were so startling that I had to repeat them out loud and read it again to make sure my eyes weren’t playing a trick on me. They weren’t. There in plain type was the statistics in the report:

“The average American viewer watched 151 hours of television per month in the fourth quarter of 2008 — the most ever…”

151 HOURS!

151 hours! A month. I don’t think I watch that many hours of television in a year. In fact, I know that I don’t. My wife and I watch so little television that back in December we gave away our living room television and bought a 65 gallon fishtank. We were sick and tired of the television being the focal point of the living room, especially since it sits idle. The fishtank is prettier, it brings life into the room, and guess what… the fish never report bad news (well, unless one croaks).

Walk in to any office in America — walk in to your real estate office. You’ll hear conversations about the latest t.v. show, discussions about last night’s game, and complaints over how high the cable bills been getting. We’ve become a nation of t.v. junkies. (Disclaimer: I’ll admit that I do watch Lost, but only because I can’t give it up now, Dancing with the Stars — cut me some slack, my wife’s a ballroom dance instructor, and an occasional episode of The Family Guy)

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Sitting on the couch, clicker in hand, is not going to improve your life and it certainly is not going to improve your real estate business. I hear so many agents these days complain about the market, the economy, the lack of sales, the listings that won’t sell, the buyers who won’t buy — yet these same agents can tell you everything about the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

T.V. reports bad news. That’s their job. The doom & gloom of the real estate and mortgage markets is always a hot topic for television. Keep watching and you’ll get depressed. Really depressed. There’s nothing on t.v. that will help you in your real estate business (maybe with the exception of a few bits on HGTV).


Turn off the t.v. Try it for a couple of days. Extend that to a week. After a month, you’ll never know it was gone. Trust me, no client is going to turn you down as their agent because you don’t watch their favorite t.v. show.


Here’s a few things that you can do to replace that time spent staring at the screen to increase your sales:

  • Read a book. Better yet, read a book about real estate. Read a book about sales. When’s the last time you read a book about negotiating, Mr. or Mrs. Crack Real Estate Negotiator? One of my favorite sales gurus, Jeffrey Gitomer says that if you read about something for 30 minutes a day, in a couple of years, you’ll truly be an expert. Become an expert and sell a home.
  • Write a blog post. Read a blog post. There’s a lot to learn out there in the blogosphere whether it’s here on Agent Genius or elsewhere. Learn the latest about SEO. Bring in buyer traffic to your blog. Sell them a home.
  • Spend some time with your family. Rediscover the art of conversation. If your family or friends are up to it, maybe you can role play a listing appointment and hone your objection fighting skills. Maybe your friend or family member is in the real estate market and you didn’t even know it. Sell them a home.
  • Call a friend or past client you haven’t spoken to in a while. Chit chat. Ask them who’s the next person they know who needs to buy or sell a home. Follow up and sell a home.
  • Go preview some homes. Get to know some more neighborhoods. Meet the neighbors. Sell their homes.
  • Join a club. Meet some like-minded, fun-loving friends. Sell them a home.

Before you know it, you’ll be so busy that you don’t have time for t.v. Don’t worry, you can always Tivo your favorite show and watch it after your next settlement.

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Written By

Brian Block practiced law until he heard every single attorney joke and decided becoming a real estate broker was a more fun way to earn a living. Proud of the plaques and diplomas adorning his office wall, he's even more proud of his marriage to a beautiful and talented ballroom dance teacher and fellow entrepreneur. Every day, you can find Brian, doing what he does best – advising Northern Virginia home buyers and sellers. If you want, you can follow him on Twitter @blockrealestate.



  1. Chuck G

    February 26, 2009 at 8:49 am

    151 hours…in a 30 day month that’s 6.3 days of 24/7 TV every month…or about 5 hours each and every day. No wonder we’re in a recession.

    For those who blog, the TV screen has been supplanted by the computer screen. And I’d be willing to bet that some are approaching that 151 hours/mo number in front of the latter?

    Oops, gotta run…Oprah’s coming on in a few minutes…

  2. Missy Caulk

    February 26, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Wow, that is amazing. Not that many good programs, except American Idol !

    TV can be so negative you really have to watch yourself with the news.

  3. John Kalinowski

    February 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

    It’s not all bad. A little brainless humor is good for the soul, and it can be quite therapeutic to watch the funny video shows, or American Idol, etc. I also enjoy watching The History Channel, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet with my children.

    Sometimes melting into the couch in front of some completely meaningless show can do wonders for an overworked cranium.

  4. Matthew Hardy

    February 26, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I have notice a correlation between my experience of well-being and how much television I watch. Less is better. A good replacement: books or backgammon. A better replacement: writing software while I mountain bike. A best replacement: no thought.

  5. Jayson

    February 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    That’s an absurd amount of TV, but based on what I hear people talking about, and what I hear them say they do, I believe it. I certainly agree that less television is the way to go; I don’t see the majority of Americans believing that any time soon. It’s the death of our production.

    Thanks for the stats and read

  6. Matt Wilkins

    February 26, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I think that our society’s addicition to TV stems from the “I have this all this nice A/V equipment I should put it to god use”. I do have to agree with Chuck that if you include computer screntime in that the figure becomes more believeable in my opinion.

    I personally cut cable about a year ago once the monthly bil skirted $100/month. I don’t miss it at all as the shows I DO watch are on the major broadcast networks and/or available to watch on the web.

  7. fred

    February 26, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Turn off my 52″ Samsung 1080p? Are you kidding LOL. 151 hours is a bit much but we should all still tune in and stay connected to the world. At least watch CNN right?

  8. Carson

    March 2, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    A agree with Matt on the A/V equipment. Worse, once a person gets sucked in to a 52″ screen, it’s hard for them to let go. Add a DVR and it’s like crack.

  9. Christi Borden

    March 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I am often asked how I can find time to read? It is easy… I turn off the boob tube. Yes, there is the occasional news program or old movie that might catch my eye, but I am usually found behind the pages of a good read instead of trying to figure out which washed up television star is the best dancer or who will get the rose and who will go home? Not superior… just trying to find a way to better use my limited personal time. My kids are readers, too and it shows… National Merit Scholars!

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