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.


A Year of Getting Things Done: Part 2, The Stuff I Wish I Were Better At

This is the second of a three-part series looking back on a year of doing Getting Things Done. Part 1 from Wednesday was “The Good Stuff”; final installment appears Friday morning.

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A Year of Getting Things Done: Part 1, The Good Stuff

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.

(This is part one of three in a series that runs through Friday.)

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Five Mistakes Band & Label Sites Make

Admittedly, this is well off our usual fare, but please indulge me in a public service message on behalf of music fans across the Internets—five mistakes that band and label sites make (and a few tips on how to fix them). One data point from a fan.

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Capital Letter Nouns v. lower-case verbs

Over the desperately long drive home from southern CA yesterday, we were listening to a bit of the Getting Things Done audio book, and something really struck me—something that seems paradoxical but ultimately kind of profound. My paraphrasing here:

The more you focus on the details of your life and your work, the more likely you are to actually achieve the “higher altitudes” of your goals.

Looking at other sorts of productivity and organizational systems, there’s often a pronounced focus on the middle- and higher-level aspects of planning, with a premium on things like Values and Mission Statements, and other laudable motivational stakes in the ground. I definitely see the appeal, because it induces you to paint mental pictures that represent significant improvement over where you are now. Nothing wrong with that. We all need it. But I think some of these systems promote Capital Letter Nouns a lot more effectively than the hard-working lower-case verb. And verbs are really what your life is made of, isn’t it?

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Why we're "Mac-centric," and what it means for you

I don’t want to start a religious war in our nice, quiet little beach community, but I think it’s important to address some folks’ concerns that 43 Folders is too “Mac-centric.” This post will, I hope, function as a one-time statement of purpose to which I can point the curious or merely annoyed in the future. Thanks for bearing with me for a few minutes.

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You shall know us by our Notational Velocity

Powerful, simple note program with incremental searching.

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Intermission, or "I, for one, welcome our new productivity overlords"

91sbelvedere1Anil's post was swell, and I think I agree with almost all of it (esp. the meeting-up part), but it did freak me out just a little. So, I think it's time to do our exercise that helps keep the line between reality and fantasy a little less blurry; I'm glad everybody's digging the site and checking out the GTD book, but I feel like I should clear a few things up before this gets too weird.

First off, to paraphrase Clarke’s Third Law, “Any sufficiently advanced system that makes you re-examine your basic assumptions is indistinguishable from a cult.” GTD makes people enthusiastic because it satisfies their lizard brain and gives them an outlet for turning anxiety into action. There are no robes, no secret handshakes, and the most important article in the liturgy is arguably a modestly priced Label Maker. People just get into it because it freaking works, and because it returns a modicum of control in a world where handles on life can be slippery to grasp. That’s really it, I swear.

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Are you _really_ getting anything done?

Glassofwater_2I wanted to address a couple criticisms that get made about producticity plans in general and Getting Things Done in particular.

Not to mount a big defense, exactly, but I think there are good points to mention and discuss because they contain germs of insight about whether and how you can actually improve yourself.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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