43 Folders

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

Disk maintenance small boost to productivity?

Whenever I run DiskWarrior (starting-up from a CD), do an Applejack repair, or otherwise cause some event that renders my PowerBook temporarily unusable, I often find a few things happen:

  1. I'm initially stressed-out, although I soon move to feeling kind of relaxed -- like someone called a snow day on the morning of the Chemistry final.
  2. I'm drawn to several small (truly neglected) chores related to my immediate physical area -- cleaning off my desk, returning file folders, or taking out the recycling.
  3. Forced to write in either a notebook or at my girlfriend's Mac, I often end up drafting something quickly, easily, and occasionally in a style I don't think I write in.
  4. I don't miss the computer that much after 2 minutes; but I do get itchy after a couple hours.

There's any of a dozen reasons for all these, but I suspect there's commonality.

My "mode" was disrupted, so on the one hand, I don't have access to Quicksilver, tab sets, bookmarks, scripts, and all the other things I've added to make my Mac more suited to my style (and theoretically faster for me to use). But, by the same token, forcing myself to abandon all that recursive familiarity winnows my distractions in some novel ways.

I imagine I'm not the only one for whom this is true; I know Danny has at least one other account on his PowerBook for interruption-free writing mode. I've always loved writing in cafes -- I get to drink coffee, plus my brain seems to run a little differently when others are around.

I dunno. Nothing earth-shattering to note, except that while constant modal change absolutely kills my day, an occasional shift can be just the smack I need to get something good happening. I wonder if a really hot-rodded setup sometimes serves just to help me blow time and practice bad habits more efficiently than I would without them.

All I know is I enjoy the change, and I often return to the freshly-maintained PowerBook feeling more energized than I did when I left it. Maybe it's just the unexpected "sunshine" and "movement."

You ever get anything like this?

About Merlin

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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:
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