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I stopped binge-watching Netflix and it’s the best decision I ever made

Published Aug 27th, 2023 12:06PM EDT
The Killer on Netflix
Image: Netflix

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I’ve been binging Netflix for years, and the pandemic only exacerbated the problem. By Netflix, I really mean anything I could find on streaming, from Netflix to HBO Max to Disney Plus and beyond. As for the problem part, it wasn’t really a problem, right? I was already watching content for work, and the pandemic gave me a perfect excuse to keep binging.

However, it will soon be a year since I stopped binging Netflix and other streaming services. It’s the best thing I did, and not because it’s saving me any money. I still pay for Netflix and other streaming services, as I keep consuming their content.

I stopped binging because I got that time back for myself.

It’s easy to get lost in streaming content, and our Netflix expert Andy Meek has plenty of suggestions to help you navigate all the options. It’s also easy to play “just one more episode” when you love watching movies and TV shows. It becomes a habit—an addiction. You need your fix and find yourself counting down the hours until you can start binging.

Netflix binging is the perfect activity for when you don’t feel like doing anything or when you can’t do anything else. Like during the height of a pandemic. It’s the perfect excuse for not working out or even socializing. Instant gratification complements doom scrolling, gaming, and all the other entertainment avenues that tech makes possible.

How to Fix a Drug Scandal on Netflix
How to Fix a Drug Scandal on Netflix Image source: Netflix

Ok, I’m making binging Netflix sound worse than it is. It’s not that kind of addiction, and I found it easy to stop binging.

I wasn’t trying to ditch Netflix or any of the other streaming services. Not even when it was clear that Netflix would implement a password-sharing ban. If anything, I defended Netflix and explained why the move made sense.

Then again, putting a stop to binging habits can make it easier to cancel Netflix. You won’t feel the need to scroll for new stuff to watch once you’ve stopped binging.

Come to think of it, changing your binging habits can also help in sharing passwords. That is, depending on which Netflix plan you pay for, you can decide how much time each person in the group gets to watch shows and movies. This can eliminate binge sessions.

The reason I stopped binging is pretty simple. I realized I was giving up time that could be better spent elsewhere. But I saw that only after I actually stopped binging.

I also planned on running more, and getting into the kind of shape that would let me run comfortably for longer and longer distances.

My main priority was being more active than during the pandemic. That involved standing and walking much more than I had in the past few years. I never wanted to cut Netflix time to make it happen. But I had to do it in order to achieve my goal.

Netflix launched a Game Controller app on the App Store.
Netflix launched a Game Controller app on the App Store. Image source: Netflix

You might be connecting the dots if you’ve followed my recent ChatGPT guides for picking the right running shoes and running a healthy, safe half-marathon.

I have made great, verifiable progress with the help of ChatGPT. But it was only possible because I replaced Netflix binging with workout programs.

I had to free up several hours of the day to walk, work out, and run more than I ever had in the past few years. I’ve also slept better and for longer because being so active wore me out.

I even started reading more. Well, the nature of my work means I’m reading a lot on a regular basis. What I mean is that I read books instead of watching a new show.

I still watch Netflix and all the other streamers. And I still finish shows. But it takes me longer than it used to. And I find that I like it better this way. Yes, I can’t wait to find out what will happen next. But I can also wait until tomorrow or the next day to play that next episode. I don’t see myself getting back to binging anytime soon.

The point I’m trying to make here is that binging Netflix can take away what I value the most: My free time. I can’t ever get back wasted time. That said, I’ll still keep my Netflix subscription and keep watching shows new and old. It’ll just take me longer to finish them.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.