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From his basketball league to streaming and playing video games, the new book author makes time to play.
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Jordan Calhoun has become somewhat of a lifestyle expert in the media world. He is the editor in chief of the how-to website Lifehacker and of the food and pop culture website The Takeout. He also writes the newsletter “Humans Being,” which gleans life lessons from movies, books and television, for The Atlantic.
Hacking his way into a less busy existence has not been much of a priority for Mr. Calhoun, 37, who also has a new book, “Piccolo Is Black: A Memoir of Race, Religion, and Pop Culture,” coming out next Tuesday. He lives with his dog, Lily, a Weimaraner golden retriever mix, in a one-bedroom apartment in Harlem.
CLEAR HEAD During the week I get up at 5:30. Sundays I would love to sleep in, but if I sleep in later than 6:30 I’ll have a wet nose in my face. I get up and take Lily to the St. Nicholas Park dog run. That’s the only time of day I can exist without multitasking, my only meditative time. I try not to use my phone, because for a while I was listening to podcasts, but I subscribe to too many and I was always trying to get my feed to zero, which defeated the purpose of just chilling. I’m a clear-your-inbox person.
FUEL-EFFICIENT When I get home it’s back to the grind. Lately I’ve been working through a to-do list of book promotion stuff. It’s way more than I expected as a first-time author. While I’m doing that, I’ll eat a bowl of yogurt and granola. My approach to eating is not for everyone: I care way more about the efficiency of what I’m eating than the taste. I could eat a peanut butter sandwich every day and feel good about it because it’s quick and cheap and easy. It’s a life hack in terms of productivity.
TIGHT ON TWITCH The only “appointment television” I have each week — I’m doing air quotes right now — is a Twitch stream that comes on every Sunday at noon. It’s DJ Dimple streaming video games. She’s fun and engaging, and I feel like I have a relationship with a lot of the people in her chat. I only know them by their Twitch usernames, and I wouldn’t recognize them if they were walking down the street, but if one of them needed 20 bucks I would instantly Venmo them. I will always be there to catch DJ Dimple’s stream while I’m doing domestic things, like laundry or cleaning the apartment.
THE COURT CALLS I’ve been in the same basketball league, the Dynasty League, for about a decade. I often have to leave the stream to go play with my team. We play at different times and different places every Sunday; it’s one of those communities for me that makes New York feel like home.
JUST FOR FUN The other thing I’ve been doing lately just to stay active and learn new things is skateboarding. I started last summer, when I was 36. I did that as a lifehacker fitness challenge, then I wrote about the idea of whether you can learn something like that as an adult, when you have adult ideas about how dangerous and scary it is. One of the things I feel strongly about is that people my age were taught, for better or for worse, to monetize everything, so that everything becomes a side hustle. I found myself in that trap, for sure. I wanted to have something I could do for sheer enjoyment. Now I get skateboarding advice from random people on the street.
TUNED IN In the late afternoon and evening I’m catching up on whatever TV show or movie I’m going to be writing about for The Atlantic. I’m always writing about something that’s new or pegged to what the cultural conversation is, and tying that into some form of ethics. Recently, for example, I’ve binged through “Station Eleven.” My girlfriend is usually with me on Sundays, or I’m at her place in Brooklyn. I definitely order takeout, most commonly from a local restaurant called the Edge Harlem. They have a coconut fish burger I really love. I’ll eat that on the couch while I’m watching TV.
HOW IT ENDS That leads into the evening. Usually I have a choice between preparing for the week ahead and playing Ghost of Tsushima. It’s a game about the Mongolian invasion of the island of Tsushima. I play with three friends. If I’ve gotten enough work done during the day or if I just need a mental break to enjoy myself, I’ll play. If I go the responsible route and don’t play, I’ll go to bed at 9 or 9:30. If my friends convince me to play and we’re on a challenging mission, I could be up till midnight.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Jordan Calhoun on Twitter and Instagram at @JordanMCalhoun.