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05

May 2015

The Pursuit of Essentialism: Finding Time

I was planning to jump into a different article, one I was overly excited to post, but as my week filled with activities, work and friends it became clear there was a more important article to launch this series: finding time. Because if we can’t find the time, none of the following adventures will have the space to breathe they require. So, how do you find time?

I’m busy. In fact, when I’m catching up with old friends and ask what they’ve been up to, the first thing most people say is, ‘Yeah, I’ve been busy.” We wear it like a badge of honour, as though being busy is the same as contributing to a full and happy life. I’m not here to generalize, it could be said that in some or many cases, this could be true. I know some painfully beautiful people working to make others’ lives better; caregivers, people working for non-profits in Zambia, people teaching adults who never learned how to swim some life-saving basics. I would not presume to say what I’m working on most of the time has this kind of effect but I am lucky to love my work and most of what I do.

But what are we busy with and how do we measure its value? The last time I really considered this was a year ago when I read a list of 5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed. I’ve spent a large part of my life living without regret — if something shitty happens, that really is too bad, but it’s happened and the only thing we can control is what we learn from it and how we move forward. I didn’t want to hypocritically claim a life free of regret but still end up mourning the same poor decisions. It was especially the second regret that stuck with me, “I wish I didn’t work so hard.” Or, as I’ll paraphrase it, “I wish I spent more time on the things that matter.”

For instance, I never regret amusement parks.

For instance, I never regret going to amusement parks.

I avoided getting a gym pass for years because of cost (even though it was roughly the same cost per month as one night of eating out), fear of commitment, fear of looking like an idiot in the gym, and time. I had a million and one reasons for sidestepping this particular activity until, one day, a jogger passed me on the street wearing a shirt that said, “Someone busier than you is running right now.”

There was that word again.

So, how? How are people who are so busy able to fit these things in. Sure I could reduce my sleep to 3-4 hours a night (at busier times of the year this would already be redundant) but is that really value-added to my life or taking away from other aspects? Namely my ability to think and how much I snuggle with my cat. So it really became about completely re-thinking how I spent my day and how much time I spent on other activities.

I’ve always been someone to recognize patterns and have used that to my advantage. I’m not sure how many people are aware of this pattern identification in themselves, but I’ve read a number of times how large a roll it played in our evolution and progress as a species, so we must all have it. Recognizing and exploiting patterns is a great way to make yourself more efficient at time-suck activities. When I get out of the shower, I dry off using the exact same pattern every-time. So much so that now if I start drying the wrong leg I’ll miss an arm, forget to put on a sock later, and put the box of cereal in the fridge. That’s how important my auto-pilot has become for these little tasks. Admittedly I have minor OCD, but you get the idea.

Ok, great. Little rituals are good for sneaking an extra few minutes here or there. What about getting hours, days or weeks back? I’m afraid to say there’s no easy answer here: it will require sacrifice. It all comes down to valuing your time and how it’s spent. Saying ‘yes’ to something you kind of like may mean saying ‘no’ to something you may love down the road.

In “Running the Gauntlet” by Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, he recommends establishing ‘Conditions of Satisfaction’. Here he is referencing business, but the takeaway is these conditions are very specific needs. If they are not being met, you pull out of whatever you’re working on STAT. His conditions were 1) grow professionally, 2) have fun and 3) make money. Your conditions can be anything that’s important to you, but in the end they are what you come back to you when you find yourself questioning wasted time at work, watching TV or surfing the internet.

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.”
― Frank Zappa

Happy people spend the most time possible doing the things they love the most. They “make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.” Maybe that means starting your own business, spending more time with loved ones, exercising more, even spending more time at home. If you’re telling yourself that you have no time to learn a new language but are still watching 4 or more hours of TV a day then there’s probably a disconnect there. You do have the time but you’d rather spend it catching up on Downton Abbey. If something is important to you, you’ll find the time. If binge-watching Netflix isn’t providing quite the stimulation you’re expecting maybe it’s time to list your conditions of satisfaction and consider how to better use that time.

Someone busier than you is running right now.

 

  • by Brandon William Fletcher
  • 1 Comment
  • May 05, 2015
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07

Mar 2011

The Dylan Jones Bag

The editor in chief of British GQ, Mr. Dylan Jones, collaborated with Anya Hindmarch to create Hindmarch’s first ever men’s bag. I have been looking into getting a new bag, I love to get everything in one trip from my car to my door and a properly organized bag is the first step in this process.

This started out over lunch with Dylan, actually. We were talking about men and the manbag, and how a lot of people struggle with them. We had just started thinking about doing a men’s line, so I thought that doing something with Dylan would be perfect. The butter leather we make the bag out of is made at the most beautiful tannery in France called Tanneries Roux. It’s pretty much the best most expensive leather you can buy, so naturally Dylan chose that. [laughs] It wears, and it’s a very untreated, pure skin, so it changes colour with age. It’s as good as it gets.

I’m now taking donations for my new bag. It starts at £1,095 (about $1,723 CAD), so feel free to get real generous.

 

  • by Brandon William Fletcher
  • 0 Comment
  • Mar 07, 2011
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28

Jan 2011

Cut Copy’s Zonoscope Album Due Soon

I am in love with Cut Copy. I have been for some time, halfway between their 2004 debut album Bright Like Neon Love and their 2008 follow up In Ghost Colours I came across them and have never looked back. For example, when I started writing this post, I had no music on, but now I do and it’s Cut Copy. It’s like magic!

Today my email informed me there were some limited pre-sale packages available so like a big nerd I had to nab one package #2 with a Vinyl and signed lithograph (hand numbered and limited to 500 prints, hot damn). If you’re unfamiliar with Cut Copy, I used them last summer in one of our ‘vacation videos’ featuring their then just-released track Where I’m Going. You can find it on Oh, Canada! (How’s it Goin’?).

Over the last few months, they’ve been releasing chapters of a 4 part series, documenting the making of their 3rd album, Zonoscope. Catch up now!

And here’s one more treat, their latest single Need You Now.

 

05

Jan 2011

Starbucks Gets Logo Update


The news of the day is—undeniably—the 40th anniversary of Starbucks and their latest update to their logo. I would like to go on record and say that I love it, I think it’s fantastic. The latest logo embraces the Swedish and Modernist ideals of minimalism we see enveloping design worldwide, removing the clutter, all the bells and whistles, and says what it’s about, the coffee. I’m very excited to see this more conservative (design-wise, anyway) look unveil as the years progress.

Read more and watch a neat video about it here.

 

  • by Brandon William Fletcher
  • 0 Comment
  • Jan 05, 2011
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