Netflix is great at providing a lot of things to watch, but sometimes it seems like there’s almost too much. If you have a hard time actually getting to the things on your list — or find yourself watching the same things over and over — these tips can help.
There are bigger problems in life, sure, but don’t act like you’ve made any real headway getting through your queue. You finally find some time to lounge on your couch, but you just sit there, staring at all the movies and TV shows, unable to decided what to watch. Here’s a systematic way to start actually making your way through your streaming Everest. (While these tips are focused on Netflix, the same logic applies across every streaming service.)
Step One: Stop Adding Things To Your Queue (For Now)
Netflix is constantly adding new titles, but that doesn’t mean you need to add all of it. For now, until you can get your list under control, promise yourself that you won’t add anything else. Don’t worry, just because you don’t add something immediately doesn’t mean it’s going to disappear forever. If Netflix pulls something because the rights expire, it goes away regardless of whether you have it in your queue or not. So stop adding things for now, and remember, you can always search for something if the mood strikes.
Step Two: Find Your “Netflix Albatross” And Cull Your Queue
Now that you’ve damned up the river of TV shows and movies coming in, you need to grab a pail and start chucking the things you aren’t actually going to watch. This can be tough to start doing, though, so find what Yahoo! tech columnist Rob Walker calls your “Netflix Albatross.” This is that one movie or TV show that’s been in your queue since you signed up for the service years ago and you still haven’t even started it. You look at it all the time like, “Oh I really want to watch that someday,” but you never do. (This isn’t likely to have happened if you only joined Netflix this week, but if you’ve been watching from overseas, it almost certainly will be the case.)
You’ve probably watched 100 other things, but for some reason this particular viewing experience remains untouched. Say goodbye and remove it from the queue for good. If you wanted to watch it, you would have by now. It’s no different than removing the things from your to-do list that just never seem to get done. Clearly there’s no motivation, so why clutter things up?
Now that you’ve made the first move, cull the rest of your queue while you’re at it. Go through your entire list and ask yourself “am I really going to watch this ever?” for every single thing. Even better, if you’re not 100% sure that you want to watch something, get rid of it for now. What you’ll be left with is a mostly prioritised list of the things you actually want to watch at this point in time.
Step Three: Watch Only One or Two Series at a Time
With a list of priority things to watch, it’s best to focus your attention to only a couple of them. You don’t need to binge watch — though it sure is fun — just focus on completing each series or movie. Again, just like a to-do list, you’re better off focusing on one thing at a time, instead of doing a little here and a little there. It feels good to finish things, even if it just a movie!
Step Four: Remove Things After Finishing Them (Or When You Lose Interest)
This is one of the most important steps. Once your done with something, cross it off the list. If you leave it in your queue you’ll succumb to its charms all over again and end up re-watching things. There’s nothing actually wrong with re-watching things, but if you’re interested in covering as much ground as possible, you don’t to leave around any traps for yourself.
On the same note, if you start something and it just isn’t doing it for you, remove it. Life is short, and the amount of time you have to indulge in glorious movies and TV shows is a lot shorter. Don’t waste it watching something that you don’t really enjoy. Some might say that you can benefit socially from watching really popular things, but it’s not always worth it. Remember: Getting through your Netflix queue isn’t about watching more TV, it’s about watching the stuff that’s going to make you happiest during those lazy moments of the week. Keep an open mind, but don’t torture yourself, either.
Repeat this system and you’ll eventually have a manageable, browse-able, list of things to watch. No more staring at your queue in indecision. Keep in mind, that the point isn’t to spend more time watching Netflix, but to actually use your lounge-around time productively. It’s time to finally watch all of those things you want to.