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.

Getting Things Done

GTD is a personal productivity system and book by David Allen that we like a lot. Read: Getting Started with ‘Getting Things Done’.

FMP: Ruby script for text lists

For you plain text nerds, Nick Fagerlund has developed a nifty little Ruby script for managing your lists of tasks or what have you.

The basic idea is to capture anything you need into one text file, with one item per line. He (and I) recommend using a Quicksilver trigger to append to that file of your choice as you work. When adding an item, you use a "category" tag (as in "^category") which you type at the beginning of each line you.

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Schedule (and choose) a dash in iCal

If you're a fan of any flavor of the procrastination dash, this one might come in handy for you. I've started scheduling some of my work in time-based dashes -- right in iCal.

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43F Podcast: Putting Geeks in Context

The 43 Folders Podcast

Putting Geeks in Context

43folders.com - One way around the geek's problem with GTD contexts? Step away from the computer. (4:37)

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GTD Prayer

gilest.org: The GTD Prayer

Giles Turnbull has added a long-overdue liturgical element to the world of Getting Things Done.

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Inbox Zero: Processing to zero

This post is part of the Inbox Zero series.

The truth is that you probably can take the average email inbox -- even a relatively neglected one -- from full to zero in about 20 minutes. It mostly depends on how much you really want to be done with it. The dirty little secret, of course, is that you don't do it by responding to each of those emails but by ruthlessly processing them. Is that how you thought this worked? Answering 500 emails in 20 minutes? Jeez, it's no wonder you're such a mess. Your cognitive dissonance is epic.

Here's the deal: your email has been accumulating because you don't have the time to answer it properly, which is certainly reasonable and accurate. You also fear losing track of the email you haven't responded to -- that it will fall between the cracks. This fear is also reasonable and accurate. But you're just as keenly aware that with the backlog of email you have plus the increasing rate of incoming messages you receive each day, you can't possibly ever catch up. This, sadly, is also entirely reasonable and accurate. It's all reasonable and it's all accurate, but come on: something's gotta give.

Like Kirk's "solution" to the Kobayashi Maru Scenario, there's an easy but non-obvious way to win at this Catch-22: you cheat. You don't answer them all. Not even most of them.

You rewrite the rules. You adapt at a higher level. You have to, or else the Klingons will overwhelm you with their superior fire power and brute force -- and then your email would remain unanswered for eternity. Think how sad that would be.

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Kinkless GTD .83: Enhances Quicksilver and iCal integration, much more

Kinkless GTD 0.83 [Relative Motion] | Kinkless

The wait is over, kids. Ethan Schoonover has just released his .83 version of Kinkless GTD, and, brother, does it ever bring it. (For an intro to what kGTD is, start here, then go here and of course, here.)

So, first great thing: the syncing problems people (including me) were having -- getting changes in Action views and iCal to get reflected correctly back in Projects view -- has been fixed most elegantly. So it's just a lot more usable and dependable right out of the box. But that ain't all E's been cooking up. Among the trove of new and updated features (cribbed from Ethan):

  • Everything syncs: all changes to all columns are now synchronized across all views of a task (Projects/Actions/iCal)
  • Deletions now handled with the good old delete key on your keyboard
  • Singleton tasks section, now a full citizen
  • Better QS action… and fancy “task shorthand” to make it easy to send a task to a specific context/project
  • Task aging

Visit the kGTD .83 release page for full details

Ethan, as ever, has done a terrific screencast explaining how the app works -- DO NOT MISS the video if you aren't "getting" kGTD, because it's super useful in showing exactly how it works -- plus I'm sure there will be lots of lively discussion over on the kGTD forum, so for today I'll just focus on my favorite improved feature: what Ethan calls "fancy “task shorthand.'"

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43F Recap: Best of Getting Things Done

GTD coverToday, I’ll be attending David Allen’s GTD: The Roadmap here in SF. Although, I’ve been yammering about Getting Things Done for months, this will be the first time I’m getting the story straight from The David. Really looking forward to that.

I know new folks arrive here every day, so it seems like an opportune time to look back at some of my favorite GTD posts from the earlier days on 43F. They’ll be familiar to many of you but — as someone who re-read Getting Things Done this weekend — I think it never hurts to go back and review.

Also, I’ll report back soon on what I pick up today.

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Lifehacked by Matt Haughey; mindfulness, ho

Interview with a Lifehacker: Merlin Mann - Lifehacker

Last Friday, Lifehacker guest editor, Matt Haughey was kind enough to do an email interview with me. It's mostly about Getting Things Done, but I was pleased to be able to sneak in something I've been meant to call out more formally here on the site.

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BayCHI podcast and slides available

Tuesday, March 14, 2006: Monthly Program (BayCHI)

Last Tuesday, I joined OSAF's Mimi Yin to talk about GTD at the monthly BayCHI program down at PARC. A podcast of both our presentations plus our slides are now available for download from the program page. Many thanks to Steve Williams for getting it all up so fast.

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pigeonA few things I've learned I don't need to know about the second they happen:

  • a new comment has been added to a 43 Folders post
  • a friend of mine has posted a new photo to Flickr
  • a very long message from a mailing list I never read has been delivered to my inbox
  • someone on LiveJournal is still disappointed with their (job|love life|roommate|hair|lunch|other)
  • Technorati reports a new post somewhere in the world tagged "web 2.0"
  • the temperature in San Francisco has dropped one degree Farenheit
  • my FedEx package is still in Memphis

And, yet these are all things that I used to monitor manually via my RSS reader. Refresh all. Refresh all. Refresh all. Refresh all. Refresh all. Madness.

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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. »