Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Freelance Writer Needs to Turn Off the TV

DEAR HARRIETTE: I subscribe to a few different streaming services, including Roku, Netflix and Apple TV. It’s great because I don’t have regular cable anymore, which saves me money. But I can’t stop watching TV. I am a freelance writer, and I work from home. Business has been kind of slow the past few months, which is why I ended up even having time to watch TV in the first place. But I have started binge watching different shows, and I find myself watching TV more than doing my work. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I can’t seem to turn it off. How can I get this under control? -- TV Addict, Jersey City, New Jersey

DEAR TV ADDICT: You are not alone in the binge-watching arena. Indeed, media companies have figured out how to present television series so that people will watch them endlessly, always wanting more. That said, you absolutely do not have to succumb to this behavior, nor can you afford to do so.

Make a schedule each day. Prioritize your work. Break it down to include time when you will pitch new ideas to your freelance clients, time to write, time to research, etc. Frame out each hour so that you are clear about your responsibilities. Add your personal duties to your to-do list as well. Only after you have completed your work should you give yourself time to watch your favorite shows. The good news is that you can watch these programs on demand. Be grateful for that option, and organize your schedule accordingly. Do not turn the TV on until you are in the time slot you have allowed yourself to watch TV. Set an alarm for when the time is up, so that you will promptly turn off the TV.

Read more in: Addiction | Money | Miscellaneous

Reader Feels Betrayed by Best Friend and Ex

DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was home for Christmas, I learned that my best friend from high school is engaged to my high school boyfriend. Given that we are all in our 20s now, I guess the fact that it bothers me sounds silly. I left my hometown when I went to college, but I go back all the time. I can’t expect anything of these people, I guess, but I feel betrayed. Of all the people to get together, why did my two besties have to do it?

My ex-boyfriend and I broke up a long time ago, but I realize I never stopped having feelings for him. I know I should be happy for them, but I don’t know how I am going to be able to stay close to them if they get married. I don’t know what to do. How should I handle this? -- Still in Love, Rochester, New York

DEAR STILL IN LOVE: Unless you plan to make a play for your ex, you need to calm down and get yourself together. You lost your chance at romance with him after you moved away and the two of you did not stay together. Of course it hurts right now. But it would be wise for you to congratulate them, truly find joy for their union and cultivate a bond with them that honors their new station in life. This is not the time for true confessions.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Love & Dating | Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics