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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.

David Allen

Guest Post: DavidCo's Robert Peake on "Getting Software Done" (part 1)

Robert Peake is the brainiac CTO for the David Allen Company (a/k/a, "DavidCo"). I first met Robert when I was down in Ojai a few weeks ago to record some stuff with The David, including our Productive Talk podcasts and that TechGTD panel we did with Robert and Eric Mack.

Robert really impressed me with his humor, his insight, and his mad Macintosh skillz. Also -- off the record -- I happen to think Robert's probably the most articulate evangelist for geek GTD I've ever met. He really gets both pieces so well that, of course, I demanded he write an article for 43F, right on the spot. He was kind enough to play along, and flipped around this terrific piece in record time.

As he covers in this series, a lot of Robert's time over the past few months has been spent putting together the GTD Connect membership program, as well as making sure all the company's lights stay on from a technology standpoint. Since I know a lot 43F readers share Robert and my interest in GTD and programming, I'm sure you'll dig hearing from him. He successfully pulls together some pieces I've had floating around in my own head, and I thank him much for sharing this.

[Note: Part 2 of Robert's article, entitled "GTD and Extreme Programming," appears Wednesday on 43 Folders.]

Getting Software Done

by Robert Peake, David Allen Company

Since launching GTD Connect, we have gotten a lot of great feedback not only on the content, but on the technical underpinnings of the system we built to deliver the audio, video, forums, podcasts, and other goodies on the site. What a lot of people may not realize is that, to my mind, a lot of the elegance expressed in the technology that drives Connect stems from the fact that we implement and use the GTD methodology in our software development process. We really do "eat our own dog food" at DavidCo, and I'm convinced that necessarily translates to a more positive user experience overall in every product we produce, and especially software. A lot of people also don't realize how highly relevant GTD is to the software development industry specifically, and how many interesting parallels there are between software best practices and workflow best practices (i.e. GTD).

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43f Interview: GTD's David Allen on the "Someday Maybe" list

Productive Talk #03: Someday Maybe

43 Folders and The David Allen Company present the third in a series of conversations that David and Merlin recently had about Getting Things Done.

In this episode, David and Merlin talk about how people use their someday/maybe list, as well as look at some ways you can make best use of your project list and support materials. David also makes a case for capturing 100% of whatever has your attention. (10:22)

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen from here:

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6 powerful "look into" verbs (+ 1 to avoid)


In one of the recent podcast interviews I did with David Allen, we talked about procrastination and how he tries to get people -- especially knowledge workers -- back to just "cranking widgets."

I love this term, because, in his humorous way, David captures how any thing we want to accomplish in this world eventually has to manifest itself in an intentional physical activity. Seemingly over-huge super-projects like "World Peace," "Cancer Cure," or "Find Mutually Satisfying Vehicle for Jim Belushi" all still come down to physical actions, such as picking up a phone or typing an email.

And David is wise, in that interview, also to highlight the importance of what he refers to as a "'look-into' project," which just means that even deciding if a project is interesting and useful to undertake can be a project in itself. It also means that, even with an outcome of "deciding," that meta-project still consists solely of physical actions. In this case, it's the physical actions that help you locate the additional information you'll need to make a timely and wise decision about whether to proceed at all. In sum, no matter what, it all still should come back to widgets and how they get cranked.

Like a lot of you, I've struggled with how you turn "thinky work" into physical action widgets, but here are a few of my favorite task-verbs to get you started in the right direction. They're presented here in a rough approximation of the order in which I use them in my own "look-into" projects:

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Productive Talk 02: David Allen on patching GTD "leaks"

Productive Talk #02: Patching Leaks

43 Folders and The David Allen Company present the second in a series of conversations that David and I recently had about Getting Things Done.

In this episode, David and Merlin talked about ways to patch the leaks in your GTD system -- including the role of ubiquitous capture and scrupulous review. (10:33)

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen from here:

read more »

Podcast: Interview with GTD's David Allen on Procrastination

Productive Talk #01: Procrastination

As I mentioned yesterday, today 43 Folders and The David Allen Company are happy to bring you the first in a series of wide-ranging conversations that David and I recently had about Getting Things Done.

So, let's kick things off with a goodie. Here's The David's take on that devil, Procrastination.

In this episode, David and Merlin talk about a very popular topic on 43 Folders -- procrastination. They discuss where procrastination comes from and how GTD can help get you back to cranking widgets. (13:21)

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen from here:

read more »

Introducing "Productive Talk" Podcast: 43 Folders meets David Allen

Sample from 'Productive Talk: 43 Folders Meets David Allen'

Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), 43 Folders and the David Allen Company will be bringing you "_Productive Talk_," a joint podcast series featuring audio of conversations that David and I had during a recent visit near his offices in Ojai.

This was a lot of fun for me to do, especially since it gave me the chance to ask David many of the questions that you and I have both had about Getting Things Done -- so, as you might expect, there's a heavy focus on implementation and best practices, as well as how to troubleshoot problems in your own GTD system. Lot of good stuff that I think you'll enjoy and will learn from as much as I did.

Subscribers to the 43 Folders Podcast (subscribe now) will receive new episodes of "Productive Talk" automatically, although you can also just stop by either 43 Folders or The David Allen Company's site for all the latest web-based updates.

Tomorrow's inaugural episode is on procrastination, with more episodes coming once a week or so for the next few weeks.

Here's a little sample from an upcoming episode to give you a taste of what's coming:

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Finding "Getting Things Done Fast"

You could argue that the holy grail in GTD media these days is the woefully out-of-print “Getting Things Done FAST” CD set that DavidCo put out a few years ago. It’s eight (8) CDs of audio material covering the popular multi-day seminar that David did a few years back.

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What would you ask David Allen?

Forums - Ask David any question

Over on the DavidCo forum, Lisa asks:

If you could ask David Allen any one question about GTD, what would it be?

It mightn't surprise you to know I'd want to learn a bit more implementation and about how David sees contexts working best for people whose work mostly happens in one place (recently).

But I'm especially curious to hear what you guys would ask, given the chance. What would you ask David Allen about Getting Things Done?




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. »