What would you do if you had four extra hours to spend every day?

I could hand it to you right now on a silver platter if you like. By tomorrow you could have an extra four hours already. The hours would add up quickly. In a week, you would have 28 extra hours. In a month, you would have over 120 extra hours. In just a year, you would have 1460 hours (61 solid days!). Imagine what you could do all that time.

Don't believe this is possible?

There's more. You won't need to quit your job to get this time. You won't need to cut out half of your night's sleep. You don't even need to buy anything. Getting this time is simple. Some people may find it a bit challenging. Others may even consider it a bit revolutionary. All you have to do to get this extra time is:

Get rid of your TV.

That's right. That is all you have to do. Get rid of it. Good-bye. Cionara. Au reviore. Tschuss. Ciao. Toss it out the window. Throw it in the trash. Get rid of it. Toss it in Boston harbor and have a Boston 'TV' party! On second thought, TV sets are toxic waste. Take your old sets to the toxic reclamation center.

You may even get more than four hours a day by turning off your television set for good. Some people may get a little less. If you are an average American, you will gain an average of 4 hours 35 minutes every day. Now, let's imagine how you might actually use these four hours every day.

Hour 1-Sleep and Self Renewal

Do you need more sleep? Have you been watching the late, late, late show every night with glazed eyes and the remote control mysteriously glued to your hand? Starting tonight, you could start getting the full amount of sleep you need.

Perhaps you could benefit from some quiet personal time for reflection every day. You could read a book. You could pray or meditate. You could relax in a hammock. You could go for an evening stroll and observe all the houses with funny glows emanating from their depths, the residents staring blankly at their TV screens.

Hour 2-Health and Exercise

Once you get some rest, you could get that couch potato body moving again. You could go outside and enjoy the great outdoors. You could play. You could dance. If you have children, instead of allowing them to watch the "after-school specials," you could send your kids outside in the time-honored tradition of parents everywhere: "Go Outside and Play!" You could even start that exercise regimen you have been putting off since New Years.

Hour 3-Family and Friends

Probably the greatest benefit to getting rid of the TV is that you have time to spend with your family and friends, actually interacting and building happy memories. TV is such a horrible substitute for real family interactions. Building real memories and enjoying real interactions with friends and family is far more rewarding than reruns of Leave it to Beaver or Friends.

Your family could start eating meals together. You could have a "Family Game Night." You could invite your friends over for a cup of coffee. You could even take a mini-vacation.

Hour 4-Community Time

An interesting essay by Robert Putnam called "The Strange Disappearance of Civic America" highlighted an important problem: since the advent of television Americans' "civic engagement", or participation in social groups, has been declining.

It is time to bring back the America of old, the good old days when Americans led the world in community engagement. Bring back the neighborhood block parties. Bring back the church potlucks. Bring back the social activism. In the past these things defined America. TV has turned America into the "blue light special" nation, a pathetic shadow of the America of community builders and problem solvers of yore.

The choice is yours

Naturally, how you choose to spend your four hours a day is totally up to you. These suggestions are only meant to spark your imagination. You could devote your entire four hours to building a business or mastering a new skill. You could devote all your extra time to your family or your community. You could write a book. You could even go fishing for four hours every day. The opportunities are limitless.

Of course, you may have to sacrifice the latest sexcapade on "Desperate Housewives." You may need to forego "Must see TV". You may have to sacrifice the latest football drama and the interminable replays. You might even miss the latest antics of Brittany and Paris.

However, consider what you will gain if you merely find the willpower to get rid of your TV.

Author's Bio: 

Katherine Westphal is the creator of http://www.TrashYourTV.com . Is watching too much TV harming your family? Download the ebook "The Awful Truth About Television" at http://www.TrashYourTV.com/awfultruth and find out. You'll never look at your TV the same way again.