43 Folders

Back to Work

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

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

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

Park on a downhill slope

43F Google Group [Park on a downhill slope]

Jeffrey Windsor shares a great tip for making it easy to start work in the morning—by always leaving off at a point where it will be easy, intuitive, and interesting to pick things back up. Instead of grinding away until you're drained and out of enthusiasm, quit while you're on a roll.

Parking on a downhill slope is actually a practice which takes place when I end work the day before. Each day, when I wrap up whatever I’m doing, I jot down (on paper when I remember, otherwise I do it mentally with lesser effect) exactly where I need to start. And that is usually a question I’m still pondering/researching…

At first, the practice was disconcerting. I’d have a question to answer and then walk away, and I really wanted to sit back down and wrestle with the issue. I wanted closure. However, having a rich issue upon which to start makes starting so much easier, the discipline came easy…

Parking on a downhill slope eases the transition into work because you’re not starting your session with a dreaded task, but an interesting one. It’s easy to start your work. You want to start. Yes, you will still have to grade those papers (I have 120 of them waiting for me right now), but they’re what I do later, after I’ve completed more interesting stuff.

Similarly, I’ve heard that Hemingway advised writers to “leave some water in the well” by stopping in the middle of a paragraph or sentence.

That advice isn't just for writers and students, of course. It could go for virtually any kind of job, and certainly fits well with the Getting Things Done idea of the “next action.”

[Link encouragement via David McCormick]

sadie's picture

unless you're facing uphill, in...

unless you're facing uphill, in which case you should steer toward the road to ensure your front tires hit the curb as soon as possible.

only if there's no curb should you always steer away from the road regarless of up-/down-hill.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


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. »