How do you decide what to watch next? You have your friends, commercials, and your own instincts telling you what to watch, but how do you choose which of those if any to make into your very next watch? What’s your system?

Life’s too short to waste on bad movies. It’s too short to waste on critically acclaimed films that just aren’t for you, personally. Life’s far, far too short to spend time scrolling through “What’s Hot” lists for something, anything that looks mildly entertaining.

Consider your criteria: When do you watch? How long do you have to watch? How much attention will you have to spare? Who’s watching with you? How do you want your mood to change after watching? How likely are you to regret watching this? Which snacks and drinks will make the best pairing for tonight’s flick?

Make notes. Write down those shows and movies that catch your eye. Study up a bit on those involved in its production. Ask yourself if you’d read the book or novelization. Seek out opinion from those with similar tastes. See what strikes your fancy.

Most importantly, trust your gut. You don’t have to watch a movie because it’s supposed to be “good” for you (though that documentary might still surprise you). Read the TV Tropes entry if you feel obligated to discuss that hot new show everyone’s talking about at stand-up. Roll some dice and surprise yourself. Rewatch that old favorite. Life’s too short to miss out on the good stuff.