43 Folders

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

July, 2005

Efficient little GTD package

I dig how Doug’s combined his tools (and, like, three different memetic atoms) for his Hipster PDA mod.

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On the culture of distraction; one pipe for all interruptions?

Driven to distraction by technology | CNET News.com

Really good article on the problems and implications of the interruption-driven lifestyle. Full of great bits, including this:

Businesses could benefit from introducing a collective effort to switch off, Honore said. He points to the marketing department at Veritas Software, which last year instituted “E-mail-free Fridays” for its marketing department. The move came at the behest of Jeremy Burton, an executive vice president who was finding his in-box stuffed with 400 messages a day, many from his own department.

In Burton’s department, employees can’t e-mail one another on Friday, but they are allowed to e-mail customers or other parts of the storage company if they have to. The result? Workers spend more time connecting face to face, and Burton finds his in-box is only half as full.

And when it comes to finishing up a big project, many workers are unplugging altogether—something that Microsoft’s [Chris] Capossela says should not have to be the answer.

Well-written software could offer a better solution, he said. It should help employees stay connected but enable them to receive only messages they want to get—from a boss or family member, say.

Also, Carl Honore, the author of In Praise of Slowness (Amazon.com: US | UK | CA | FR | DE | JP) offers great tips like this, among others:

Before using any time-saving technology, ask yourself if you could perform the task…more efficiently using an old-fashioned method such as walking across the office and talking face to face.

I really do encourage you to read the whole article, because it gets to the heart of a problem that’s contributing to most everyone’s stress and feeling of being constantly overwhelmed. And you might want to follow it up with seeing how Billy G. reportedly carves out a “Think Week” each year.

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'Morning Becomes Eclectic' now available as podcast

Popular Santa Monica NPR station's music show now available. Big news for music fans and folks who follow trends on podcasting.

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TOPICS: Podcasts

Quicksilver: Revenge of the PyObjC plug-ins

Cool new plug-ins for Quicksilver.

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New habits and useful landmines

This article's advice on “installing” a new habit is really quite good, but it's also useful just for its inspiring examples of what Danny and I have called “useful landmines”-pre-emptive ways to make failure in a given situation as difficult as possible. A few I especially liked:

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TOPICS: Life Hacks, Tips

Good tips from the wiki

A sampling of some entries I’ve particularly liked on the unsorted life hacks page of the 43F Wiki.

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Tips on cleaning, stain removal, and homemade air fresheners

As a consequence of being too lazy to take the trash out a couple nights ago, the smell of salmon took up residence throughout our kitchen. In addressing the stank, I ran across this ginormous page full of of links on cleaning and stain removal including a handy collection of homemade air fresheners.

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Turn an old Zip's case into a Hipster PDA

This is very cute—turn an old Zip disk cast and some custom-printed templates into a sexy little Hipster PDA variant or a mini-tickler file. Clever!

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Interesting 43F Stats

Talking blog stats is dull, tacky stuff, so I usually avoid it like the plague. But here’s a couple data points you might find interesting.

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Tips to prune crufty writing

Useful set of tips on improving the carpentry of your writing by avoiding cliches and colorless (or too colorful) language.

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TOPICS: Tips, Writing

Discounted ad rates on 43 Folders

Advertise on 43 Folders - Due to popular demand (meaning three whole people have asked about it now), I’m offering discounted Summer rates on BlogAds advertising in the 43F siderail. Buy a month of ads and get 10% off. Buy 3 months and get 15% off. Everything must go.

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Productivity tarbabies and dark nights of the geek soul

Being a whistle-stop tour of 43F posts on the highs and lows of honing your productivity mojo. With special attention to the times when all that fiddling makes you less productive and more stressed out. Sampling from 10 months of posting on keeping your footing when the TODO lists get too numerous, steep, and weirdly fractal.

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WIRED interview: extended 12-inch version

Following the leads of David and Marc, here’s the full transcript of the answers I gave for the WIRED News article via email last week.

As usual, I’d really hoped to play down the goofy “cult” label, but, oh well, I imagine that’s the angle some editor destined the story to have. So it goes.

Still it’s a good piece if it helps a few new folks get it together, and I certainly can’t complain about the exposure (and very considerate deep-linkage).

Thanks for the opportunity, Robert.

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nextaction: GTD task-tracking app


Finally took a few minutes last night to catch up on the zeitgeist and had a look at nextaction, a very clever, javascript-based app for running your GTD system.

Like the popular GTDTiddlyWiki (earlier on 43F) it runs offline and in your own browser (Firefox, please; no likey Safari). Where it differs is in its task-centric approach which is, in some respects, a truer GTD-based approach than the TiddlyWiki implementation.

Tasks, Contexts, and Projects are entered and tracked in a handy “dashboard,” so it’s very quick and easy to see which tasks can be accomplished at a given time. One addition I love is the ability to have parent contexts. So, an entry into my “@printer” context is also automagically included in “@mac” etc. Overall, just a great feature set for such a young application.

Since the comparisons with GTDTidddlyWiki are unavoidable, it’s worth mentioning that these are two very different approaches that you’ll want to consider based upon your own needs in a tool.

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Poets, dadaists, and word nerds: Rejoice

Cool site with a bunch of tools, games and articles that will appeal to word nerds.

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TOPICS: Heh, Tips, Writing

Posts, posts, posts.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »