10 Things to Do During Netflix Ad Breaks

If you are looking for ways to cut back on entertainment costs, you may have opted for Netflix’s new ad-supported subscription tier. Whether you have already subscribed or are just considering making the switch, you may wonder whether the advertising breaks will ruin your experience. You don’t need to watch the ads. Instead, if you prefer, you can make that time work for you.

About Netflix Basic with Ads and Advertising

Each Netflix ad is around 15-30 seconds long, and they play before and during the content, which may add up to about four or five minutes of ads per hour, according to Netflix. If you stream a couple of one-hour episodes in an evening, you may easily lose ten minutes of your time to ads. The Verge reported the ads varied a lot, with some programs not getting interrupted while others had two ad breaks.

Try these tips to make use of these ad breaks. A few minutes of ads are an opportunity to complete a few items on your to-do list and reduce the risks of spending too much time sitting.

1. Get Moving

Get moving: a 15-30 second ad is a great time to get up and stretch or move around. While this won’t replace more focused exercise, it can help offset some of the health issues with binge-watching.

A minute isn’t enough for a full workout, but it is enough time to mute your tv and put on some music, and dance like no one is watching (if your family or housemates are, invite them to join in!). Or, if you prefer, try doing squats, standing stretches, or anything else that gets the blood flowing.

2. Clean Your Touchscreens

Cleaning phone

The University of Michigan reported that a cell phone often has ten times more germs than a toilet because many people rarely clean their phone screens yet clean their bathrooms regularly. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends cleaning your phone using a gentle cleanser once a day to minimize germs and bacteria.

Use a commercial break to clean your phone and if you have a tablet, smartwatch, and laptop, be sure to use additional commercial breaks to clean them as well. If you make this a habit, you may have one of the cleanest touch screens around.

3. Maintain Your Tech

During the downtime of an ad break, take a moment to check whether any of your apps need to be updated. Whether you want to update your iPhone or keep your Android apps updated, you can use this time to keep your phone secure, and you always have the latest features. While you’re at it, check whether your devices need to be recharged.

4. Connect With a Friend


If you feel like you don’t have time to connect with people, use the ad breaks to reach out with a text message or DM. If you use social media, chances are you already find time to browse your feed during the day. If not, ad breaks can be an opportunity to browse your feed and leave a meaningful comment on a friend’s post.

5. Stay Hydrated

Get up and get a glass of water to sip during the show. Not only does this help you stay hydrated, but it also gets you moving, even for just a few steps. If you want to track a hydration goal, consider using an app that gamifies self-care like Streaks.

6. Manage Your Calendar and To-Dos

Silver pen on top of to do list and calendar

Take a moment to review your calendar to remind yourself what you have planned for tomorrow. Also, look at tomorrow’s to-do list. This may also be a good time to review today’s to-do list and mark any finished tasks completed in your favorite to-do app.

7. Tackle Quick Cleaning Tasks

Make a list of quick chores like washing a dish, sorting your recycle bin, or wiping down a table. If you prefer, enter those tasks into a reminder or to-do list app and see how many you can complete during commercial breaks in the hour. Consider trying one of these task management apps if you prefer not to use your phone’s built-in to-do list.

8. Give Your Eyes a Break

Optometrists recommend the 20-20-20 technique for reducing digital eye strain. The same may apply to watching Netflix, especially if you stream using your laptop, tablet, or phone. The American Optometric Association suggests:

  • Take a break every 20 minutes (or when there is a break)
  • Look at a non-digital object 20 feet away
  • Focus on it for 20 seconds.

Keep in mind that ad breaks probably won’t happen every 20 seconds, but ads may still be a great time to give your eyes a break.

9. Water Your Plants

In addition to keeping yourself hydrated, a 30-second break may be just enough time to water one or more of your houseplants. To avoid over-watering, you may want to keep track of which plants you watered in a notes app. If you are unsure how often to water your plants, you may find answers on one of the best sites that can help you take care of your houseplants.

10. Practice Breathing Exercises

woman breathing deeply to prevent seasickness

While many of the tips require you to get up from your sofa, this one doesn’t require you to move at all. You may have a mindfulness app on your phone or smartwatch that you always mean to use. Try muting your TV and using your app to prompt a short breathing session or mini-meditation.

Using Ads Productively

By making use of Netflix’s ad breaks, you may feel a little more productive and a little healthier.

Choosing between an ad-supported subscription tier and a more expensive ad-free tier is a personal decision based on your privacy preferences, budget, and how you feel about interruptions. If you are thinking about opting for a more affordable plan, be sure to learn everything you need to know about Netflix’s Basic with Ads.

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