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

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

43F Recap: Best of Getting Things Done

GTD coverToday, I’ll be attending David Allen’s GTD: The Roadmap here in SF. Although, I’ve been yammering about Getting Things Done for months, this will be the first time I’m getting the story straight from The David. Really looking forward to that.

I know new folks arrive here every day, so it seems like an opportune time to look back at some of my favorite GTD posts from the earlier days on 43F. They’ll be familiar to many of you but — as someone who re-read Getting Things Done this weekend — I think it never hurts to go back and review.

Also, I’ll report back soon on what I pick up today.

  • Getting started with ‘Getting Things Done’ - “So you sprint from fire to fire, praying you haven’t forgotten anything, sapped of anything like creativity or even the basic human flexibility to adapt your own schedule to the needs of your friends, your family or yourself. Your ‘stuff’ has taken over your brain like a virus now, dragging down every process it touches and rendering you spent and virtually useless. Sound familiar?”
  • How does a geek hack GTD? - “So I wanted to start a conversation about how geeks handle their lists, their projects, and their agendas–not so much in terms of the tool they use to store the information, although that’s fair game–as with how they segment the information and decide when to break it into pieces.”
  • Next actions: Both physical and visible - “But, for me, turning anxieties into projects and projects into discrete physical behaviors has a lot of appeal. It takes all the pressure off your brain and puts it back where it belongs: on your eyes, on your hands, and on that fat ass you need to get into gear.”
  • Does this ‘next action’ belong someplace else? - “I’ve noticed that there are often items on my ‘next actions’ list that hang around a lot longer than they should. I scan and rescan and sort and add and delete, but there’s always a few stragglers who hang out there for a week or more. Eventually this starts to vex me, and I try to debug why things aren’t getting done.”
  • Mental dialogues, yak-shaving & the triumph of the ‘mini-review’ - “My mini-review falls somewhere between the glances I give my lists throughout the day and the comprehensive weekly review I do each weekend. It’s basically a 10-minute metamoment where I stop working and just try to re-focus on my goals, and the tactical adjustments needed to get them moved forward today.”
  • What are you ‘waiting on?’ - “The thread that runs through all of these is that the onus is on me to a) make sure these items represent part of a commitment I’ve made, and b) make sure they actually get done (even if it’s not my direct responsibility); otherwise, they should get moved onto my ‘Maybe/Later’ list, right?”
  • A Year of Getting Things Done - (3-part series: 1, 2, 3) - “I recently realized that this month marks one year since I started using Getting Things Done in earnest. With the calendar year closing, it seems like an apt time to look back at what’s worked, what hasn’t, and where I’d like to see GTD heading in the future.
  • Choosing a daily GTD action plan - “I employ an informal Getting Things Done action strategy that’s similar to the one Chris lays out in his post. I often have a theme for a given day, where I choose an approach that’s suited to my mood, my energy level, and the kind and amount of work on my TODO list. (I’m especially a fan of days where I knock down ‘mosquito tasks’ as Chris calls them.)”
  • Fractal Implementation, or, On the Dangers of David Allen’s Finger - “This is my stake in the ground about GTD: if you can stay focused on drawing from its best practices to get more of the important things in your life accomplished, then you’ll be a happy kid. For real. But if, like a seeming majority of people I encounter these days, you allow yourself to obsess endlessly over the minutest details of implementation and maintenance—well, you’re screwed. You’re wasting your time.”

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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