Presentable #5: Pursuing Happiness
How I’ve figured out what to do with my free time after giving up on my phone
In this week’s issue, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite fits and highlights, talk about how I spend my free time, and share why pursuing happiness over everything is the most important thing.
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Finished reading The Practice by Seth Godin
I’d recommend this book for anyone who designs, writes, draws, or does anything creatively. There’s 219 short chapters, written in the same format as Seth’s daily blog posts, all focused on motivating you to continue “the practice.” I can’t wait to read through my notes and highlights the next time I need a reminder to keep focusing on “the practice.”
Listened to the Tim Ferriss Show with James Clear
On a recent episode of Tim’s podcast, he talked with James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, and I found it fascinating. I have yet to read the book—it’s currently on my shelf waiting to be dug into—and after listening to their discussion, I’ve moved it to the top of my reading list. I’m obsessed with creating and assessing habits, all with the goal of trying to be a better person and live an inspired life. I highly recommend listening to this episode if you’ve struggled with maintaining habits and are looking for ways to make them stick.
Signed a lease on a new apartment
After searching for a few months, my wife and I found a new place to call home. We still have some time until we officially move in, so the next few weeks are going to be a mix of packing, donating, organizing, and getting everything squared away. I’m excited to share more details after we settle in.
How I Spend My Free Time
In last week’s issue, I talked about giving up on the one thing everyone else hasn’t.
I broke up with my phone.
And after doing so, I realized how much time I got back in my day.
Everything I read during the breakup period recommended doing more “important things” with your free time in order to maintain this new relationship with your phone (or lack thereof).
What all the articles, books, and blogs didn’t provide an answer to was: “how do I figure out what those important things are?”
It was frustrating.
I knew the answer would be different from person to person and I think that’s why everyone avoided diving deeper into that.
I realized I had to figure this out for myself.
First off, I needed to understand what makes me happy.
I thought back to Virgil Abloh’s “EVERYTHING IN QUOTES” lecture at Columbia University, where he shared a slide titled “17 YEAR OLD VERSION OF YOURSELF”.
He talks about digging into everything you were interested at the age of 17 and then bringing that perspective back to your future self and incorporating that into your work.
I took it a step further and thought back to a time in my childhood when I was the most happiest. When I only did things for fun. When I didn’t have to worry about the responsibilities I have now as an adult.
For me, that time was when I was around 11 years old.
There were a handful of things I was into back then:
Reading books (The Redwall series by Brian Jacques, Sammy Keyes and The Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen, and many others I can’t remember)
Spending numerous hours playing basketball and video games
Writing and creating my own comic book series
Watching James Bond movies (Sean Connery was my favorite until Daniel Craig’s version of 007)
After reflecting on my youth, I came up with a few questions for myself:
What things from my childhood did I enjoy doing the most?
What things am I currently doing that make me the happiest?
What are my energy levels like after doing something? High or low?
What things do I not enjoy doing?
What would I do if I didn’t have to worry about money anymore?
After thinking about my answers to those questions, I wrote down a list of everything I wanted to do more of:
I loved how simple and elementary this list was, but I needed to break it down further to figure out how I was going to do these things during my moments of free time throughout the week, all while balancing a work schedule and my relationships with my partner, friends, and family.
After a bunch of experimenting, this is how I now spend my free time:
Writing at least 15 minutes everyday
Reading at least 45 minutes everyday
Exercising at least 3 times a week for 60 minutes
Stretching at least 15 minutes everyday
Visiting the bookstore at least once a week
Cooking recipes from a new cookbook at least once a week
Watching only one episode of a show or series during the week
Learning Spanish at least 5 minutes everyday
Trying to be a good partner, friend, and human everyday
Again, the most important part of this process was figuring out what makes me happy.
When I focused on happiness, I found these new habits to be much more stickier and I’ve been successful in maintaining most of them each week for the past few months.
If you’ve started the process of breaking up with your phone and are looking for things to replace that time with, I hope my methods above help can help you figure out the things that make you happy.
Let me know in the comments or email if you have any questions or if I can help in any way if you’re going through the same struggle as I did.
Watched MKBHD’s review of the HomePod (2nd Generation)
Apple’s announcement from a few weeks ago shocked everyone. They brought the HomePod back from the dead. I want one, but I think it’s overpriced. If they would’ve priced it at $249 (instead of $299), I think it would be a hit. And, it would prepare them to introduce a “HomePod Max” for something closer to $499 or higher. The intro of this video is hilarious and worth watching just for that.
Shared my Mac’s dock setup on Dockhunt
I love seeing which apps designers use on their Mac‘s. It’s the first thing I look for whenever someone shares their screen. More specifically, I love the design of Mac app icons. Gavin Nelson is my favorite app icon designer, and he’s behind most of the beautiful icons you’ll find in everyone’s docks over on Dockhunt. The icons he designed for Copilot and Linear are some his best work to date.
Responded to Patrick Tomasso’s Grey Hair Tweet
I’ve told my close friends and family over the years how much I enjoy getting older. Life has always gotten better year over year for me, and I always look at aging through an optimistic point of view. I’ve recently started sprouting grey hairs, and along with Patrick, I’m also looking forward to having a full head (hopefully!) of grey hair, a beard, and rocking glasses (preferably with a suit, like most of the gentlemen below).