43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Mental Sausage, _or_ 'Hello, World.'

A boss and a good friend recently told me something really instructive. It went something along the lines of:

Y’know, Merlin, we’re really satisfied with the actual work you do, but is there any way you could do it without showing so much…I don’t know…mental sausage?

I knew exactly what he meant.

I’ve always loved tricks and hacks and explanations and systems. Man, I love me some systems. I like hearing how other people do things and then comparing notes to see how we might both come up with something even better. I like feeling productive and not stressed out.

Conversely, I try to avoid unnecessary repetition and loathe the phrases “It’s always been that way” or “Because I said so.” It just makes me twitch.

So, listen: I’m not a technology wonk by any stretch—my PHP hacking skillz are middling at best these days, and about half the posts on Slashdot leave me staring blankly.

What I am is a big fan of tiny improvements. And cool tricks. And time savers. So, whenever I find a neat little bauble or a sexy new hack, I’ve tended to barrage my unsuspecting friends and email-list associates with lengthy, structured TMI breakdowns and tutorials. (Sorry, guys.) Well, no more—I promise.

43 Folders will be my new parking lot for some of the ideas that excite me. Nerdy stuff like OSX tricks, productivity hints, and the rapidly growing field of mental overclocking that Danny O’Brien has called “Lifehacks.” You’re also going to have to endure frequent references to David Allen’s Getting Things Done system—and, believe me, if you keep finding that the water of your life has somehow run onto the floor, GTD may be just the drinking glass you need to get things back together.

What you’ll find here is likely to be very Merlin-centric and heavily skewed toward my own obsessions and sometimes sadly-limited skill set. Still, I hope there will be occasional good stuff for you to glean. So, grab the feed, and toss it in your RSS reader. Stop by, and speak your mind. And if any of this junk really grabs you someplace warm and soft, consider contributing some ideas.

So, you know, thanks for stopping by. I hope you find the “Mental Sausage” delicious—and not too unpleasant to watch being made.



About Merlin

Merlin's picture


Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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