Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Aug 10 2006
Cindy Krischer Goodman's recent article on time management for the overcommitted and overwhelmed contains a gem from Stephanie Winston, who points out how senior executives learn to manage around the interruptions in their lives:
I think this is one reason why I like getting up early; time like that is so much easier to claim and defend before the world's demands start banging down your door.
Merlin Mann | Jun 30 2006
Merlin Mann | Jun 8 2006
NYT talks with Ed Reilly of the American Management Association on technology's "double-edged impact in the workplace."
For my money, though, this one is the quote of the week:
Merlin Mann | May 9 2006
Richard Kuo posts on email efficiency are quite good and cover a few of the best practices for managing your crazy email world (a few of which I covered as well in Inbox Zero). I bring it up here because one of his articles walks you through screengrabs explaining how to shut off noisome auto-check and notifications options in Outlook.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 15 2005
I forget where, but someone once mentioned that you could probably emulate fullscreen mode in most OS X apps by using the "Universal Access" PreferencePane (if I'm stealing this idea from you uncredited, send the link and I'll correct the error with my thanks).
Anyhow, this rules. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty fast to set up, and if you're as easily distracted as I am, it's a handy way to minimize distractions and force yourself into focusing on just one thing.read more »
Paul Ford | Oct 24 2005
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
Gary Benchley, Rock Star
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.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 19 2005
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Merlin Mann | Oct 18 2005
Paul Ford, eloquent as usual, on the two kinds of distractions--the wide kind that are the equivalent of a kitty toy for distractible humans, and the narrow kind, which stimulates you to follow a train of thought into tunnels it's nary entered. Paul concludes, in part:read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 18 2005
Clive's excellent article from Sunday's New Your Times Magazine has brought us a lot of new folks looking for ways to adapt to the overloaded, always-on, interrupt-driven world in which most of us are living. I've bubbled up a few older entries on these topics that you might find useful:read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 14 2005
_New York Times_ Select subscribers (coughFreeTrialcough) can login to preview an article by Clive Thompson that runs in the Sunday Magazine. It's called "Meet the Life Hackers" and it's a terrific overview of how people, companies, and products are responding to information overload and our (sometimes self-imposed) culture of interruption.
Danny and I pop up, as well as heroes like Mary Czerwinski and the late Bluma Zeigarnik. Clive did a hell of a job with a big and complicated topic, and I'd encourage you to check out the full article when it becomes available for free (Saturday night?). It's really good--I'd never heard, for example, about the research on interrupting telegraph operators. Awesome.
Update 2005-10-15 19:04:08
Now available online for free: Meet the Life Hackers - New York Times
Extended excerpts on Danny and the Genesis of the life-hacking movement:read more »
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