DVR vs. Live TV: How to Prioritize

We’ve all been there: The newest episode of The Walking Dead is airing at the exact same time as a Project Runway marathon. On top of that, the new drama you think you’d really like is about to start.

Back in the day, you’d have to bite the bullet and choose just one, perhaps trying to catch snippets of another one during commercial breaks. But times have changed. Now we have DVRs, and with them we can watch all the shows. The problem now is how to decide which to watch first. Here’s how to prioritize:

Step 1: Finalize your selection

Figure out which TV shows or movies are in the running. Maybe ABC Family is playing a Harry Potter marathon, and you’d like a chance to revel in the memories of your childhood. Or perhaps it’s down to just a handful of contestants on The Voice, and you’re anxious to see what happens next. Whatever your pleasure, nail down these specifics first.

Step 2: Determine when to catch up on your DVR shows

Between work, errands and all your other responsibilities, you’re pretty busy. When’s the next time you’ll be able to sit down and catch up on your recorded selection? If it’s tomorrow night, your choice will likely be a bit easier. If it’s a week from now, you’ll need to prioritize your selections more carefully.

Step 3: Be wary of spoilers

Are you a proud viewer of The Bachelor? Do you follow Game of Thrones passionately? No matter what popular show you watch, you’ve likely learned the hard way that waiting too long to view the newest episode means hearing at least one spoiler, if not more. This should weigh heavily into your decision — you don’t want your favorite character’s death ruined.

Step 4: Decide what you just can’t miss

Now that you’ve considered when you’ll be able to catch up on your recordings and which TV shows could be spoiled if you wait too long, you’ll need to make your final decision. There can be only one live option, so what will it be?

Pro tip: If this sounds like a lot of work, simply record everything and binge watch it all in a single night. You’ll solve all your problems, and you’ll go to bed a happy television viewer.