Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Jul 3 2007
While this is difficult for me to understand (I know it's something I'd expect in even a Gen 1 smart phone), it's cool to see that web- and Mac-based developers are stepping up to the plate in the absence.
A few of the apps I've seen so far (and in varying states of reality and vapor):read more »
Merlin Mann | Mar 13 2007
These are posts from a special 43 Folders series looking at the skills, tools, and attitude needed to empty your email inbox — and then keep it that way. You can visit each of the posts by clicking the title.
And don’t miss the “Related Articles” for our all-time popular posts on productively dealing with email.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 12 2007
Since the Bronze Age of personal productivity, conventional wisdom has taught us the importance of priority in deciding how to plan and use our time. And, in the abstract, anyhow, that notion of putting your time and attention into those things that are the most valuable to you seems so "obvious" as to be a tautology, where "productivity = acting on priorities." (Of course, whether people's execution of the things they claim are important always maps to their stated intentions is another matter for
But, we can probably agree that in the post-Lakein world of productivity and time management, everything from Covey's Quadrants to the Pareto Principle to the four criteria to -- what? I dunno -- firewalking, has been used to help us train our attention on the things that need us most and provide the greatest value in our world. Priority.
But, in practice, what the hell does "priority" really mean?read more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 15 2007
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Merlin Mann | Nov 28 2006
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.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 21 2006
If you bend David Allen's ear for more than 30 seconds about GTD, you'll hear some variation of a phrase that I heard a lot over the couple days we hung out in Ojai: "It's all in the book!"
Say what you will about The David, but he is not a man who suffers from The George Lucas Complex. Much to the consternation of his publishers, his fans, and -- one suspects -- even some of his colleagues, David feels like he has already written the complete and definitive work on the Getting Things Done system. And he very clearly has no desire to futz with that basic system without a good reason; it's sound and complete, as is, and there you go. Next subject.
And, I have to say, in a lot of ways, I've come to really admire this.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 14 2006
In implementing Getting Things Done, you're wise to understand that words are powerful things. And the king of words in GTD, as in life, is the verb.
How you articulate an activity or how you choose to frame a project within the context of your larger life and work will say a lot about how successful you can be in turning all your "stuff" into atomic actions that will work in support of valuable outcomes. This starts with simple things like beginning next actions with a physical verb, but there's actually a lot more subtlety (and potential confusion) to it.
In fact, one of the hang-ups that many people encounter in planning their work in GTD is that, no matter how hard they try, they can never seem to get the distinction between single-action verbs and the larger "look-into" style projects that may require sub-actions. This comes up a lot, and it can lead to frustration and untold friction.
Well, if you've ever shared this affliction of not knowing your verbs from a hole in the ground, I have some rare and unexpected GTD gold.
Buried in the companion booklet for the Getting Things Done FAST! CD set (currently out of print) is one of the more useful bits of GTD instruction I've seen outside the book. It's a list of "Project Verbs" versus "Next-Action Verbs" and, man, is it ever useful.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 13 2006
My favorite bit in this one (jump to 1:38) is where we learn that some of David's best stuff seems to have had a genesis in an unlikely place -- from his tenure as the manager of a gas station, back in the day.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 6 2006
In this episode, David makes the excellent point that if interruptions are a baked-in part of your job, they shouldn't necessarily be seen as a Bad Thing. It's just something you need to prepare for by "clearing the decks" in a way that opens you up for the opportunities and game-time input that new information can bring into your world.
Something not to miss -- David is just truly a whiz at changing gears based on his own system. If new stuff interrupts what he's currently working on, he scoops all the current work back into "pending," and basically says "Bring it on!"read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 30 2006
Email was one of the topics that I was most interested in talking to David about, and I found his responses to my questions thought-provoking.
David makes the case that email is basically just another input -- like voice mail, for example -- that needs to be emptied and processed every day. That it's not substantially different (apart from how badly mostly people do it right now).
While I absolutely agree on processing to zero, I think opinions may differ on the significance of email's impact on the life of the average knowledge worker.read more »
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