Heads up: I’m a context is the point” kind of person; if you’re a get to the point” kind of person you can skip to the end and work your way backward.

I’m told I’m disciplined.

I know better.

I can be a chaotic mess. Easily distracted, manic, obsessive. Recovering narcissistic, codependent, anxiety-ridden, cheating, lying son-of-a-bitch.

Why would you ever want to work with me?

Hey there, I’m Jared.

I grew up in a farming town in the west.

First son in a family of 13, I shared a bedroom with five other brothers. So, a high pressure setting.

Adamant that we not get swept into the system”, our parents gave us an unconventional upbringing: frugal, non-conformist, minimal consumption of pop culture, with a moderate dose of cult.

We pretty much missed the 80’s and 90’s. Thank god.

Other than chores, meals and religious practices, how we spent our time was largely up to us. So, high-pressure, with a lot of freedom.

This comes with it’s own set of trade-offs. Like, being self-educated, I have an intrinsic love of learning, but weird knowledge gaps.

This is what I have to work with. Despite drawbacks, I’m grateful.

Every person pays their price.

Anyway. Chaotic mess.

To manage it I’ve made a study of myself. Thousands of pages, hours, dollars spent on books, journals, meditation, walking, therapy.

In the long run, most experiments didn’t live up to their promise. Reflection is necessary, but, alone the best result you can count on is Oh…”.

A way

Shape your space, shape yourself.

I found a way that works for me.

I actually found it early on, and it has managed to stick.

It starts with space.

I found that when I shape my space, my space shapes me.

Big to small. Rooms, beds, tables, chairs, shelves, bags and everything that goes in them: books, gear, tech, cups (I love cups, you should see my cups), good food, good people.

I ruthlessly audit my space.

If it doesn’t serve, it doesn’t survive.

If I find something isn’t serving I let it go, or I let it deteriorate to the point that I can let it go, or reincorporate it.

I’m especially satisfied when I can find a new use for an old thing.

It took a long time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m still learning. I see it as a conversation. (This led to my method of design.)

For example: I used to get frustrated when my two sons would break things.

More recently, I’ve realized they’re a fantastic inoculation against bullshit. If it doesn’t survive them, and I’m not willing to teach them, then it isn’t worth preserving.

Every thing bent and broken is a lesson.

(I still get frustrated.)

A non-judgemental framework.

Over time, studying myself, others, and their systems, I cobbled together a few other areas of life that I tend to and they tend to me:


I call this a non-judgemental framework. It’s basically a checklist.

If I’m having a life problem it falls into one of these areas. This keeps me from being overwhelmed by It All.

Use any of these areas as an entry point and fill in the details in a way that makes sense to you. That’s what I do, and I doubt it looks anything like yours.

But really, at the end of the day, I want to move freely, eat healthy, sleep deeply. Everything else I do, let’s me do that.

There are many ways. This one is mine.

The work

Writing is my first love.

I know voice. I know how to translate voice into text: tone, pacing, diction.

I heard someone passionate about jazz, describe jazz, and the feeling they got across is the feeling I get when I write.

The Journalist and the Time-Traveler.

For me, writing is a struggle between capturing ideas and composing them.

The Journalist in me arrives at a scene, flips open his pad and just wants to get down the facts. Then the Time-Traveler shows up and starts re-arranging furniture, faces, features.

This frustrates the Journalist.

Much of my work has been learning how to get them to work together.

Ideally, I’m the Editor who gets them to settle on one description of the events.

Typically, I’m the Therapist who gets them into stay in the same room long enough to understand each-other.

In this sense writing is listening, and saying what you hear. Call and response.

Design is my discipline.

For me, writing and design walk hand in hand.

The word shapes the design shapes the word. Good design speaks without words. Good writing says more with less.

Ok, it’s more like they’re in a three legged race.

I generalize.

Conversations with me quickly climb the ladder of abstraction.

This makes for a open-ended approach that may, or may not satisfy. I have to work to get my feet back on solid ground.

I enjoy it.

I thrive on solving big sets of small problems. Ecosystems.

I see the tangible outcome of a design, The Thing, as a byproduct.

If the outcome is a flower, crafting a good seed, and planting it in good soil is the work. The quality of a design is a reflection of the quality of conversation that generated it.

So, let’s have a good conversation.

And when we’re done we’ll let the work speak.