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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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22

Feb 2014

Five Tips for Successful Collaborating

As part of Public Records #Top5Tuesday I was asked to provide them with a list of my top 5 tips for a successful collaboration. So you’re a musician and you’ve got a concept for a music video floating around. Or maybe you’re a filmmaker and every time you hear a song you see the perfect video in your head. Or maybe you’re two filmmakers and you just need to make that short film. Either way, you’ve found someone you’re excited to work with. Finally, someone you trust! Now what?

1) Delegate Roles

The first step in a successful collaboration is to delegate roles. Everyone wants to have their hands on every part of the project and if that’s what you agree and that’s how you can work, more power to you. I’m assuming that, more often than not, you won’t be working with much (or any!) budget and you’ll probably be on a tight schedule. Two heads are better than one and two people working a 12 hour work day becomes 24 hours of work completed. When you can trust someone is organizing locations, it’s a lot easier to focus on keeping your production under budget.

2) Be Open to Suggestion

Even while you all work on your own roles, remember to gather feedback from the rest of the team. A great suggestion can come from anywhere and anyone. You may think you know the absolute shit out of everything — and maybe you do — but debating ideas is important for creativity and achieving “Group Genius.”

3) Make a Meal Together

You learn a lot about people when you make a meal together in a kitchen and making a deeper connection with each other keeps your idea red-hot. No wonder you both have the same neon-vision-of-a-future-landscape-for-this-video-but-what-the-80’s-thought-the-future-would-look-like because of course you watched the same movies growing up! I love broccoli too! Using cooking as a creative shift can be just as refreshing as taking a break and will help rejuvenate your creative process. Plus there’s a good chance you’ve all been working long days and not eating properly; right now is a great time to make sure everyone’s getting some produce in them.

4) Talk About Everything

Don’t hold on to anger, celebrate your small victories and be aware that just about everything can go wrong on your project. Building your collaboration is, in a lot ways, like building a family. Respect the people you’re collaborating with and work through problems. Clear the air.

5) Choose One Thing That Scares You

A huge upside to working with people now is that you never know who might look you up down the road when they’re working with that million dollar budget. You also have a chance to share risks and grow in the process. Try something new. The more you feel yourself resisting doing something, the more that means it’s something you need to do. Push your boundaries, learn something about yourself, aim to make the world a better place.

 

  • by Brandon William Fletcher
  • 0 Comment
  • Feb 22, 2014
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10

Mar 2011

Julian, Fire-Hooper!

One of my closest and dearest friends moved to Montréal a couple years back to focus on Modeling, fire-hooping and marine biology. No jokes. I’m very proud of him.

 

  • by Brandon William Fletcher
  • 1 Comment
  • Mar 10, 2011
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17

Feb 2011

Artist: Irina Werning – Back to the Future

“Back to the Future”, an amazing series of photos by Irina Werning. People were invited to re-create their old photos. Very cool, matching colouring and lighting such as this would be incredibly time consuming, she has one marvelous eye.

 

  • by Brandon William Fletcher
  • 1 Comment
  • Feb 17, 2011
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17

Apr 2010

Forever Young

Watch as 72-year-old Bo Brundin buys his youth back on the web by re-creating his bachelors’ den from the sixties.

 

  • by Brandon William Fletcher
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  • Apr 17, 2010
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02

Oct 2009

Challenges & Harmony

I’m working on finding a personal balance with my material side. I’m aware that I shouldn’t let things like money and status dictate success. I know I shouldn’t like objects and things. It makes me feel better knowing that it would suck to loose my computers, my car, my clothes, my toys, but I know that’s about as far as it would go. I know they are only things, and I wouldn’t be losing any part of myself in them, but I still feel the urges of more. I may never be rid of this part of my psyche, but I’m working on living with a sense of harmony, and by being aware of it I can keep working towards bettering myself and removing it from me to the best of my ability. I must stop projecting on others and getting angry for their materialism.

To quote my dear friend Alison Paine, “Turn your judgment to curiosity.”

Right now I’m ‘poorer’ than I’ve been in a while, and I’ve never been happier. I’m also about to ride a wave of incredible success after many opportunities have presented themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked hard to get where I am, I’ve also been extremely lucky, in the right places at right times, and the next few months/years are going to be the hardest I’ll have ever worked—and in comparison I’m pretty used to 12 & 13 hour days. They will challenge me emotionally, creatively and physically, but that’s what life is about. Challenges.

 

24

Jun 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

A message I recieved a few months back that I just came across again. I recieved it on a day that I wasn’t feeling 100%, and I saw that something so simple as another human being I’ve never met, writing to me about a feeling was so inspiring that it turned my mood around completely.

Every time I make a movie I’m hoping to convey a feeling or emotion that I get, something so intangible and abstract. I hope that even if they don’t feel the exact same one, that they at least feel something. I feel like I really succeded with this, and would like to thank everyone involved. Again.

Hello! I recently made a list of the top 25 albums that have defined who I am on my facebook page. M83, obviously, is on the list. I provided youtube links for each band so that people unfamiliar with the music could get their feet wet and sample new music. I actually used your video as the link for m83.

Someone that I went to high school with way back when messaged me on facebook saying that she liked my list and was enjoying getting new music introduced to her. She fell in love with M83’s “We Own the Sky”. All I did was provide a link for her to sample some music. The song…and especially you’re video…did the rest. She absolutely loved your video.

So…thanks for helping me introduce the genius of M83 with your very creative video.

Sam ********

 

11

Jun 2009

One Week In Oregon

Part One:

Part Two:

A video adventure down to Portland and the rest of the Oregon Coast.

 

08

Apr 2009

What is that? (Τι είναι αυτό;)

Father and son are sitting on a bench. Suddenly a sparrow lands across them.