Jonathon Platt

Your Digital Guide

read some essays first >

What I'm Doing Now

I don't do social media, so here's my version of a "public" profile (aka a "now page")...

You can find frequent essays, updates, and a curation of great articles and books through my newsletter. Read a few entries and subscribe for new ones. I've also compiled a collection of my best work and recent media hits.

I'm also finally back to spending time on Season 1 of Behind The Bear (episode 2 is loooooong over-due) after being swallowed by overload in the previous semester. Subscribe to know when I re-launch. More info soon!


My Freelance Work & Projects

1. Three-part mini-series podcast for the Baylor Line. (Researching)
2. Collection of essays on self-identity in a world of constant-but-fake validation. (Early rough draft)


My Academic Research

1. Working-paper on the effects of variable test versions on student performance. (Early stages - assembling data)
2. Thesis on the role of women in Texas civil rights movement. (Compiling review of literature)


Life In Waco

These days are: Sad, with lots of "good byes" (the kind you deeply, desperately, actually hope mean "see you soon!") and transitions. It's tough some days. But tea and Glenn Gould and FaceTime make things easier.

I spend most days: Researching, reading, and writing.

I'm currently: Interviewing for a job at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business (more info soon hopefully!).

I'm trying to: Get better at being intentional about my time and conversations with friends. If I'm not careful, I'll hermit up in my apartment and only ever see people to drink or talk about work.

I'm contemplating: Getting an M.S. in Economics before (or with?) Ph.D. work.

And, everyone asks, so I'll go ahead and let you know that Penny is doing great. She doesn't like the summer so much -- we can't go on long walks for I fear she'll overheat or burn her feet on the cement. She's happy, though. We talk a lot about the important things, dance in the mornings, and she is still my favorite "first editor."

Updated: June 8, 2019

A Little Bit About Me

I write, speak, podcast, research, teach, lead a team, and think big.

I'm a journalism master's candidate at Baylor University. Critical media theory and civil rights research are my jam.

Keep up with me through my newsletter. Check out what I'm working on now.

Big introvert but thrive on performance, trusting in slow vs. now, recovering people-pleaser. (Your mileage may vary.)

Living in Waco with my Dalmatian, Penny. You can find me IRL at Wine Shoppe or Moody Library.

Looking for A Lot About Me? Click here.

A Lot About Me

My Newsletter | Current Work | Best Of

If you’re like me, you’re driven to do good work, but often find it so difficult to pull that off consistently. With distractions, interruptions, and a never-ending list of to-dos, how can you make time to get to the important work on your plate, much less leave a long-lasting contribution?

You’re committed to making good work that matters—and seeing big results—but life, notifications, complications, and colleagues always seem to be in between you and your greatest contributions. A few other ways you might describe yourself are:

* You’re a high-achiever who also always seems to be your own worst critic
* You struggle with the balance between a digitally connected life and technology overload
* Your spiritual and intellectual interests keep you thinking Big Thoughts
* Your hobbies, passions, and interests keep your “someday” list full all the damn time
* Your legacy is unclear, and, as someone who wants to do meaningful work, that bothers you

You are someone who is after long-lasting success and daily satisfaction. Doing your most important work, doing good work that really matters, improves the lives of everyone around you. Your friends get to enjoy a more joyful, fulfilled confidant. Your family not only knows that they’re No. 1 in your life but can point to specific instances this is true. Plus, you have the constant capacity, creativity, and capabilities you need to do your best work and never sacrifice your needs or your most important relationships.


But there's something in the way, isn't there?


You want to live this vision of your life, but it feels so distant and impossible. When you’re answering emails, you’re sacrificing time you could be spent writing. When you’re writing, you’re constantly worried about what you’re missing in your inbox. It’s a never-ending game of hellish toss-across.

The sense that you’re shortchanging one priority to serve another never ends. You feel like too often, the important things—like your most meaningful tasks or your long-term projects—get sacrificed to save the short-term, short-sighted service to others.

Sound familiar?


I've Been There, Too

I know what it feels like to finish each day without anything real to say you accomplished—to have meaningful success ever on the other side of your to-do list(s), while still attending to the non-stop stream of distractions. For years, I struggled to balance it all. It wore me down in a way that can only be described with a word you’re probably familiar with: Burnout.

The turnaround for me came when I realized that meaning won’t be found in an inbox or another meaningless meeting. Fulfillment is about getting the right things done. I discovered, through constant trial and error, how to get my daily activities to produce my most meaningful work, which contributed to my most important goals, with fed my highest priorities. Since then, my life has never been the same.

I’m a journalism master’s candidate at Baylor University. Specifically, I study postmodern critical theory as it relates to mass media. I also produce and consult on podcasting projects, assist with a course on mass communication, teach an honor’s course on media, speak on the power and importance of story, and contribute writing I truly love crafting to a variety of outlets. All this comes together in a unique way. I’ve come to call myself a digital guide.

Where I’m most proud, though, is in my personal life, where my work no longer defines my worth. I sleep close to nine hours a night, I play tennis and golf more and more each month, I spent deep, quality time with each of the people who mean most to me, I read as much as I can, and my mental and emotional health are the best they’ve ever been. It’s not sorcery and I’ve no lifehack to pass on to you. My approach is simple: I care more about the long tail than the short-term. In this way, I do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t.


Can I Help You Do The Same?

Through my newsletter and my podcast, I’ll bring you meaningful and practical advice on doing good work in your busy, brazen life. (And I promise you can tackle these most important projects, again and again.) My mission is to help you find the clarity and courage you need to stop all the frustration and live with focus.

Every day, I trade distractions for results that matter, my inbox for my highest priorities, and burnout for my best me.


Won't You Join Me?


Everything I make is created with you in mind. Every podcast episode, article, essay, product, and tool has been designed to help you find focus and do good work.

To ensure you don’t miss a thing, why not subscribe? It’s fast, easy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Updated: June 11, 2019

Best Of & Recent Media

Read My Best Work

History

* Cherry Bombs And Peaceful Prayers: What It Meant to Protest the Vietnam War at Baylor
* The Forgotten Community of Sandtown
* Seinan Gakuin: How Baylor Went Global

Profiles

* Curtis Callaway Has the World by The Frame

News

* A “Weekend of Resistance” In Ferguson, Missouri
* Hundreds March on Baylor’s Campus to Protest Police Brutality
* Starr Resigns as Baylor’s Chancellor

Music

* Swift Ditches Her Country Roots
* Bob Dylan Keeps It Fresh At 73
* What Jimi Hendrix Taught Me About #BlackLivesMatter

Opinion

* We Must Get Better at Recognizing Covert Racism
* Bricks Can Build (Or Destroy) Us
* Men, Locker Rooms Are No Excuse – Our Words Always Matter


Recent Media Coverage

*New Podcat Introduces Grads To A Baylor They Never Knew” by Sophia Alejandro, The Baylor Line (February 7, 2019)
* “‘Fixer Upper’ Is Over But Waco’s Transformation Is Just Beginning” by Anne Helen Peterson, BuzzFeed News (April 20, 2019)
*Growing Pains: I-35’s Significance Within the Waco Community” by Meredith Wagner, Focus Magazine (April 27, 2017)

Updated: June 11, 2019

Contact

My Newsletter | About Me | Current Work | Best Of

The basics of getting in contact with me

1. I don't do social media, I don't have a public or general-purpose email address, and I no longer take on speaking engagements.

2. If you've come across something you think I need to see, send a message to links@jonplatt.com.

3. Still think we should connect? Check out my full contact page.

Updated: June 11, 2019

Contacting Me

Or, My Philosophy of Intentional Irresponsibility

I read somewhere that Richard Feynman felt he owed his Nobel Prize in Physics to a myth he created of himself.

“I’m actively irresponsible,” he said. “I tell everyone I don’t do anything. If anyone asks me to be on a committee for admissions, ‘no,’ I tell them: I’m irresponsible."

This stuck with me. Let me explain.

Fortunately, I’m given a wealth of opportunities to contribute in ways I can deliver amazing results – articles, podcasts, teaching, and leading. Unfortunately, this means I’ve to say no to a great many other opportunities. This is because I’m intensively protective of my margin and of the deep work I’m afforded to pursue.

Accordingly, I’m difficult to reach: I don’t do social media and I don’t have a general purpose, catch-all email inbox.

(Something else that significantly inspired my approach to Intentional Irresponsibilty was Neal Stephenson’s essay, “Why I’m a Bad Correspondent.”)

I don’t mean to imply that I am somehow above your request or that I am an awfully important person. Trust me. I’m not. And, because I am honestly not an important person, I generally am not the person you need to contact, nor could I deliver the high-quality work or response you deserve.

I realize this approach can be off-putting to some. Who am I to say “no” before your request even arrives? But this, however, is the best way for me to deliver work that makes a difference.

###

With that in mind, here are a few specific reasons you may still reach me, with relevant instructions:

INTERESTING LINKS: One of the things I do love about the internet is the wealth of interesting links we come across. If you’ve an interesting article, book, clip, or story you think I should be aware of, I’m happy to receive it. Honestly, this is where I find my best ideas and anecdotes. Please, keep these coming to links@jonplatt.com. (While I truly appreciate these, I cannot always promise a reply.)

INTERVIEW REQUESTS: Requests for general interviews, as well quote requests or related media inquiries, can be directed to the following address: interview@jonplatt.com. For requests specifically concerning Behind The Bear™, please email btb@jonplatt.com.

SPEAKING REQUESTS: At this time, and for the foreseeable future, I’m not interested in speaking to outside groups.

WRITING REQUESTS: First, please know: I’m very good, therefore, I charge a premium, and I only do work I believe in. Requests for written contributions can be addressed to: pitches@jonplatt.com. Please include all of the following: the specific idea you’d like addressed, the deadline, an initial quote, and target reader. I will not consider non-paying pitches.

ESSAY IDEAS: If you’ve an idea for an essay, drop your suggestion here. I can’t promise a reply, but I’ll definitely credit you, should I decide to take on the topic.

SOCIAL MEDIA: I’m not on social media. If you’ve a follow request from me on ANY social media platform, be assured it is not the real me.

PHYSICAL ITEMS: Do not send me anything physical – books, letters, products, anything made of atoms. My apartment is already too full of stuff I “meant to” read.

###

This may all sounds very harsh. It is not meant to be. Intentional Irresponsibility is an approach to life that I’ve curated because, above all else, I’m a people-pleasing introvert, who is easily distracted by the latest thing – emails included.

My approach is, also, not all that original. Stephenson uses the terminology “bad correspondent,” whereas I use “intentionally irresponsible,” but I find solace in joining him.

His opening line to an essay on the topic hits the nail on the head, stating that many writers who do not openly interact with everyone are often called “reclusive.” But that’s not it. Writing, as many in the profession can attest, takes truly dense amounts of time focusing, talking to oneself, and thinking to get it right. And that’s where my skills really stop. I’m not good at most other things than getting the words right.

“There is little to nothing that I can offer readers above and beyond what appears in my published writings,” Stephenson says. “It follows that I should devote all my efforts to writing more material for publication.”

I agree. And this is not just limited to lessening the amount of times I check email, but also to the number of meetings I can take a week, and the number of professional commitments I can give myself to.

“Ask me next semester” is my go-to answer when someone asks if I can handle the so-and-so event or be on a so-and-so committee or teach them about the so-and-so app. An alternative of this I’ve heard is “ask me after tenure.”

Quite correctly, Stephenson states, “The productivity equation is a non-linear one.” And herein lies truth: Writers do a work that requires a lot of non-linear-ness to form our work into linear thought. Ultimately, that’s my job.

“If I organize my life in such a way that I get lots of long, consecutive, uninterrupted time-chunks,” Stephenson writes. “I can write novels. But as those chunks get separated and fragmented, my productivity as a novelist drops spectacularly. What replaces it?”

That’s where I’m left: If I don’t get to my most important work, the good work only I can do, what replaces it?

In conclusion, I do appreciate your interest in contacting me, and, because I value that interest, I’ve designed this page to be upfront and transparent.

I’m trying to be a responsible writer, so I hope you’ll forgive me for being an irresponsible correspondent.


Yours,
JP