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.

DIY paper planner

Carthage: Hannibal's Journal: Personal: Rolling my own paper-based time management system

I like this simple homemade paper planner -- especially the free form lined approach for the pages.

What I recently decided to do is make my own day planner, print it up on my laser-jet, and then take it somewhere to have it spiral bound. Since I'm lazy, I didn't want to have to type the date at the top of 365 pages in Word, so I came up with a way to do it by putting "March, 2006" next to the automatically generated page numbers in the header. I also put all the other formatting for the page in the header as well, so that it's reproduced on each page of the document. Then, I just add 31 page breaks and voila, a DIY day planner for the month of March...

The wide lined column is for writing down the day's tasks. The narrower one is for appointments; I just scribble in the time and a note. The "Contacts" region is where I write reminders to get back to people by phone, email, etc. Finally, the "Notes" region is where I write down stuff like confirmation numbers, tracking numbers, phone numbers, and anything else anyone tells me while I'm on the phone that I need to jot down.

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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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

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