The widely touted lifestyle has its benefits — and its social setbacks

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“When people visit you, they’re going to think you’re some kind of serial killer!”

This is what my sister-in-law told me when I mentioned I don’t own any furniture or television sets and don’t plan to own anything of the sort in the future.

It’s a choice that has gotten me a lot of flack from family members. It’s also a conscious choice I made because I realized what is truly important to me: investing my time and money into experiences instead.

You’ve probably heard of this type of lifestyle: Minimalism. It’s a pragmatic style of living brought into the…


A past of struggle can be a blessing and a curse.

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When looking back at the obstacles we overcome, there is one theme that continues to shift as we grow as human beings: our relationship with money.

It’s a complex subject, really — and as someone who grew up in poverty, I have seen money used in some of the most foolish ways imaginable. I also saw my common sense approaches to finances (saving for something I wanted) end in failure (my savings were constantly stolen from me, eroding my sense of security as a child).

Despite those setbacks, what remained unfettered were the timeless lessons I learned about money that…


Methods that transform procrastination into proactivity

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If you’re reading this, you’re the average corporate employee of the 21st century. To put it simply: you do the work of multiple people.

Welcome to 2021, where career burnout has continued to rise, even with the introduction of productivity and project management software to the workplace.

You have a lot of responsibility. You like to think of yourself as kind of a superhuman because of your ability to get so much done. And while your wide range of skills come in handy, you often feel crushed under the weight of work.

Welcome to 2021, where career burnout has continued…


And other observations that can improve your sense of self-worth as 2021 begins

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Sometimes, it is so hard to imagine that we have it all together.

As adults, it seems like we’re expected to learn and process so many new life lessons and experiences — especially in this era of constant change.

Not to mention the psychological struggles we endure: the critical development of our self-image that began in childhood comes under question once again as we are cast into adulthood.

Our sense of direction can become jaded as we begin our careers. On-the-job expectations arise and suddenly, we are faced with the powerlessness of anxiety and imposter syndrome.

While those of us…


The unspoken key to fearless creativity and joy

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There is truth to the idea that childlike curiosity is the key to opening one’s mind to learning anything new.

It’s also a well-known fact that much of our formative personality traits, as well as our most impactful memories stem from our childhood. Yet we almost never think about looking to our younger self for guidance when dealing with the complex realities of the constantly changing adult world.

This year, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic affect every area of our lives, forcibly thrusting us into both the physical enclosures of our homes and the internal prisons of our minds.


And how it can help you design for what matters most

Image by Jon Upshaw

Ever since I began my journey as a UX Designer, I had always designed for digital experiences.

This past week, I learned a lot about designing for conversation.

I came to realize that in our increasingly digital world, we are constantly seeing shifts and improvements in how we experience human-to-human communication. However, something we all take for granted is the art of designing for human-to-AI communication.

If you think about it, most of the technology you use depends on AI to provide you with the in-context information you need. The same is true with chatbots.

Chatbots are everywhere. Since the…


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“Unfortunately, I’m no longer in business. I apologize for the inconvenience.”

Those were the final words I spoke to my last customer. Hearing those words come out of my mouth was embarrassing and disheartening, but I knew it was time to call it quits on my personal venture after 3 months of attempting to scale my prototype startup at the time — an apartment-based garbage removal business for college students too busy and too concerned about the safety risks to walk 50–60 yards to the dumpsters during the evenings.

Before starting my first business, I had read the story of


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The human brain is a truly amazing work of art. It’s no surprise that scientists haven’t quite figured out how it works — in fact, the many mysteries of the brain have left scientists baffled for decades.

Though some of its inner workings contain findings yet to be explored, the brain’s incredible ecosystem is designed to handle unique and constantly changing levels of feedback. Understanding the nature of this feedback is key to applying neuroscience research methods to your daily UX design and research.

It’s common knowledge that we perceive the world around us and interpret it through 5 senses…


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Tick-tock, tick-tock.

As I stared at my computer, my fingers hadn’t budged an inch. As far as I knew, my life was divided into 3 categories: time spent relaxing and enjoying “hobbies” (which often meant staring at my smartphone for extended periods of time), time spent working in exchange for income, and time spent sleeping.

Like so many people, I was weighed down by my daily obligations. I had dreams, sure — but everyone does, right? …


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My design career hadn’t been off to a good start.

It was my junior year. I worked in my university’s dining hall. Amidst the stress and the chaotic work environment, there wasn’t much to look forward to as I travelled to work via bike each day.

I had applied and gotten an interview for a local graphic design position while working there, and was promptly rejected, forcing me to rescind my two-weeks notice. I thought I’d land the position.

I remember sitting in class the next day and finding out that the guy next to me was hired instead.

Imagine…

Jon Upshaw

I write on productivity, culture, design, entrepreneurship, and life in general.

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