Paul Jarvis inspired me to look at design as a business. After reading his book Everything I Know, I gained confidence to pursue my creative endeavors. Since then, I kept in touch with Paul by reading his articles, newsletters, listening to his podcasts and learning from his books, courses, and business launches.

Today, I'm excited to share the thinking, creative, investing, learning and other habits of truly exceptional writer and designer. I'm sure you'll learn a lot from Paul Jarvis and discover that you can live a fulfilling life without Facebook and LinkedIn.

Paul Jarvis

Paul Jarvis is a writer and designer. He helps nice folks build resilient and sustainable companies of one. Paul writes about the intersection of creativity and commerce for Fast Company, Newsweek, Forbes, Lifehacker, and BuzzFeed. Every week Paul delivers The Sunday Dispatches, sharing his thoughts on using your creativity to make a living.

What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?

Once I realized that treating my body correctly meant better creative output, I started focusing a lot on eating and health. For me, an organic, whole food, plant-based diet gives me the fuel and clarity I need to be creative all day. As does going to bed between 10-11 pm after reading for an hour. I've never had an alarm clock (I've worked for myself for 20 years), but I tend to wake up around 6 am each day, make a cup of coffee and get to work.

How Do You Set Goals and Manage Time?

No, I despise most goals, so I have none. I attempt to manage my time by giving myself a task or two each day, and then doing that work. Once those tasks are done, I can be reactive, to things like social media or email replies.

If I can’t mentally remember my list of tasks for the day, it’s too long or not important enough. – Paul Jarvis

It doesn't always work that way (ha), but at least that's how I try to do things. I have no planners, posts, methods - if I can't mentally remember my list of tasks for the day, it's too long or not important enough.

How Are You Modeling Your Life?

I'm not. I have zero long-term goals or models I follow. I love the process of working, so I focus entirely on that. For example, I have no idea what I'm doing with my work or life in 3 weeks once a current project wraps up. But I'll figure it out then.

Books I enjoy are another matter, I've been a voracious reader since I was born... currently I'm reading: Deep Work (3rd time), The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Anything You Want (5th time at least), Chasing Slow, Dark Matter and Book in a Box Method.

I also don't believe in role models - I'd rather my own achievements be based on what I want, not what someone I admire wants.

Can You Describe Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?

Typically it works like this: I have an idea, I brainstorm it out, I ruthlessly cut down 99% of the idea so it's something I can work and launch quickly. Then I test and iterate on that idea, after launch, to smooth out the kinks.

What Do You Eat for Breakfast?

Coffee and water. I don't tend to eat a meal until around 1 pm. My body doesn't feel like it needs any food, and I have more mental clarity if I don't eat first thing.

How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?

Mostly I walk. That's my main source of exercise. I'm lucky because I live in the woods on an island, so there are endless trails in nature I have access to from my front door. 2-3x a week I do body resistance training. For meditation, I sit for 5 mins each morning, just before I start work. I suppose that's meditation, but it's not a like a formal system I use, I just sit in a chair, close my eyes and don't judge anything I think about.

How Do You Meet and Connect with People?

Ha, I don't do conferences or events, ever. I connect with most folks on email (like you!) and video. And a little on social media, although only Twitter and Instagram (I don't have a Facebook or LinkedIn account).

What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?

I read for an hour and try to be in between 10 and 11 pm. I don't have alarm clock but I tend to wake around 6 am each day. I don't watch TV in bed, there's nothing else in the bedroom in terms of electronic devices except for my kindle (which is always on airplane mode).

What Are Your Investing Habits?

Since I own a corporation , which is really just a legal and tax shelter for the work I do, most investments are done through that. I pay myself as little as possible, but do have 16% invested personally, mostly in tax-reduced government accounts. For my company, I invest through a robo-advisor, WealthSimple. I recently switched from a traditional investor as the switch saved me thousands in fees each year. I'm new to WealthSimple, so I can't speak to their rate of returns yet.

My biggest expense is always books. More than clothes, more than tech, more than gadgets. I buy very little (some would call me a minimalist) but I never limit the number of books I buy, since I read a lot and enjoy reading.

What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?

Deep Work by Cal Newport, Anything You Want by Derek Sivers, The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman, Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth by Chris Brogan - to name a few.