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

43 Folders

43 Folders at Macworld '07

Macworld is in full swing this week here in SF, and Merlin will be there, covering the expo floor for MacBreak, participating in a live taping of MacBreak Weekly, and much more. Details inside »

All subject to change, cancellation, force majeure, or ejection by security guard:





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5 Favorite 43 Folders Podcasts, 2006

43 Folders Podcast

O'Reilly and Associates logo, detail

I'm a far from prolific contributor to the personal podcasting scene, but 2006 brought several episodes of the podcast that people seemed to enjoy and that I'm pleased to have made.

If you're new to 43f's podcast (subscribe for free) or just want to amble down memory lane with me, here's my five favorite episodes from this past year. Unexpurgated, unedited and, as ever, featuring candid depictions and the occasional swear; because sometimes productivity talk is just NSFW.

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Productive Talk Compilation: 8-episode podcast with GTD's David Allen

Download MP3 of "Productive Talk Compilation"

As promised, here's the single-file compilation of the Productive Talk podcast interviews I did with David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done. The final version's eight episodes clock in at a considerable one hour and twenty-six minutes, so this should give you plenty to listen to while you're in line at the DMV.

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Merlin at NC Conference; Discount for 43f readers

Important update: 2006-11-15

The Working and Living Life Smarter Conference, announced below, is being rescheduled to a TBD date next year. Registrants have been notified and have received refund info, but you should feel free to ask any questions to either the conference’s organizer, Kay Ethier (sales at aboveandbeyondlearning daht com), or me. 43 Folders will update when the new dates are announced.

So sorry for the change! I apologize for any inconvenience this change has caused and hope that you can still make it to the rescheduled conference next year.

WORKING AND LIVING LIFE SMARTER 2006 (43 Folders Discount)

Next month, I'll be speaking at the Working and Living Life Smarter Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. I'll be doing two talks that should be a lot of fun for 43F fans. And -- lucky for you interested folks, there's a discount afoot, as well.

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43F Podcast: A Phone Made of Human Ass

A Phone Made of Human Ass (mp3)

43folders.com - Everything--including this piece of crap phone--will eventually break. Prepare yourself by capturing what you want to be different next time. (3:55)

Rated...mmm...let's say "PG-13." Listen over at Odeo, and see a photo of the assy phone for yourself.

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Guest post: More on distractions, from Paul Ford

Last week, I enjoyed and linked to Paul Ford’s Ftrain post, “Followup/Distraction.” It led to us exchanging a few chatty emails, so I asked Paul to favor us with a deeper write-up on his idea of narrow vs. broad distractions. More specifically, I asked: “Is there such a thing as a good distraction?”

Are there "good" distractions?

by Paul Ford

I don't want to differentiate between "good" distractions and "bad" distractions. I want to stick to the idea of "narrow" and "broad" distractions. Because sometimes a broad distraction--like, say, getting drunk and watching the movie Red Dawn--is exactly what you need. In fact, one of the best things I can do when I'm in a rut is go see some utter-crap movie that features CIA operatives and lots of gunfire. I like to goof off a whole lot. I think it's insanity to try to justify that in any way.

I struggle, though, because my PC can play a DVD of Red Dawn while I check my email and work on an essay. This sort of computing power is fine for strong-willed people, but for the weak-willed like myself it's a hopeless situation. My work requires me to patiently work through things and come up with fresh ideas. And I can honestly say that since broadband Internet came to my home a year and a half ago my stock of new, fresh, fun ideas has grown very thin. It's just too much. My mind can't wander, because, with anything that interests me, I can look it up on Wikipedia to gain some context. Before I know it I've got thirty tabs open at once in Firefox. Then new email comes in. I loathe the way computers blink to demand your attention; the computer wants to tell me, for instance, that it can't load a web page. On the Mac, my Firefox icon starts jumping up and down like an anxious toddler (I know I can probably turn this off, but there are always more pop-up windows). My computer constantly wants to share totally asinine, useless information like that with me. So I've started using an Alphasmart Neo to draft text, and WordPerfect for DOS to edit and revise. My average daily word count has doubled as a result, and my stock of fresh ideas seems to be replenishing.

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43F Podcast: The Myth of Multi-tasking

The Myth of Multi-tasking (mp3)

43Folders.com - "Multi-taskers" are really just splitting their time and attention into smaller slices than you; no one can really do more than one thing at a time. (2:34)

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43F Podcast: Fake Mail, 2005-10-19

43 Folders: Fake Mail, 2005-10-19 (mp3)

43folders.com - A man from Florida wonders how to remember things the '43 Folders' way. (2:19)

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Tips from the Wiki for watching less TV

There's a really good, evolving page on the Wiki about tips for Watching Less TV. Some of the most immediately useful advice comes in the "Dealing with channel surfing" section:

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43F Podcast: The 'to have done list'

43 Folders: The 'to have done list' (mp3)

Don't get freaked out by the items on your to-do list; think of your tasks in terms of what they'll mean to you once they're done. (07:36)

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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. »