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About A Better Mess

A Better Mess serves as a journal or record of one ADHD-addled mess (that’s me!) to find the best way to do the best possible work. It’s a combination of the things I’ve tried, the things I enjoy, the things I want to accomplish, the things I use to accomplish them, the things that have worked for me, the things that haven’t and the myriad of ways I fall short. It also has some totally random stuff that seems to come out of nowhere, but like I said, I have ADHD… shiny objects and squirrels come with the package.

There are several sites that tell you how to do better work and be a better person. They offer “proven” tips and tactics to help you improve. This isn’t one of those sites. I have no business telling you what you should be doing or how you should be doing it. I am, however, going to do my best to share what works for me. Some things will be a fit, many will not.

The posts are a mix of reflections and suggestions on productivity, creativity, technology and self-improvement. If that sounds useful, you you can subscribe for free by Email or RSS. You can also check out my weekly podcast, Mike on Mics, with my co-host Mike Vardy where we discuss these same topics at length. While I primarily write this site for me, I do so publicly with the hope that some of this may be of use to you as well.

The Beliefs Behind A Better Mess

I have some pretty simple beliefs that have helped to improve my complicated life:

Things I’m Not Embarrassed I Wrote

If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few suggestions:

The “Why” Posts

There’s always a temptation to make this site all about the reviews, tricks and tips that tend to get clicks. While I do plenty of that, I also try to balance A Better Mess by attempting to take a step back to examine why I believe these things to be important and attempt share my own experiences at self improvement.

The “How” Posts

This is the geeky stuff some people love and others just shake their heads at. For the past year and a half, I’ve chronicled and examined many of the tools and tactics I use to accomplish my work in the ongoing Techie Scheky and Geeky Quick Tips series. I tend to use quite a bit of technology to get through my day, so these posts cover everything from thought capture, email management, file storage, writing tactics, to-do management and other essential aspects of my everyday workflows. They focus entirely on the Apple ecosystem and are biased toward the Mac and the iPhone. I’ve also created a comprehensive look at all of the tools I use in my workflow.

If that’s not enough, here are a few favorites on better ways to geekily get things done:

Others Worth Examining

As an extroverted thinker, I depend on the ideas of others to help evolve my own. Here are just a handful of those who inspire me daily with their work, their words and their actions.

I’ve been fortunate enough to interview several of these writers as part of my 2×4 Interview Series and many have contributed to the Actually Getting Big Things Done Series as well.

Site Info and Disclaimers

The Name and Logo

I often get asked about the squiggle and the title of this site, you can learn more about them both here. My own inspirations aside, the Squiggle was designed by Damien Newman and is used with permission.

The Technical Stuff That Two Of You Care About

The Site

This site runs on WordPress using a custom Headway Theme, but I’d like to make a move to Squarespace sometime in the near future (disclaimer, they sponsor our podcast, but regardless, I still want to move this at some point). The design and fonts choices are entirely my own, which is why they stink.

The Writing

The majority of my posts begin their lives as an errant thought in nvALT on my Mac or in Notesy on iOS (usually while I’m sitting on the NYC Subway). They are almost always expanded on and properly formatted into Markdown in Byword.

Some of the meatier posts start their lives in iThoughts HD before making their way into Scrivener through the magic of OPML. This will inevitably make it’s way back into Byword via nvALT so my wife can edit my chimp grammar. I speak at length about my writing workflows in an interview for Gabe Weatherhead over at Macdrifter.

Am I Secretly Selling You Stuff?

Yes! When discussing products, I often use affiliate links. This is mostly because I’m shameless and partly because my kids like to eat. My family’s greed aside, I will never use affiliate links on products unless I truly believe in them. I always do my best to disclose these, but can occasionally forget, so if you’re clicking a link to a product, assume it’s an affiliate link.

A Better Mess is also a proud member of the Fusion Ads Network.

About The Older Content

A big part of self improvement is accepting and embracing the crap that came before you improved. With this in mind, I’ve kept every post from every iteration of this site, all the way back to December 11th, 2008 when it was It’s not always pretty, but I think it’s essential to keep everything that led to this point intact.