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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.

Inbox Zero



Nothing wrecks your living room decor quite like a giant, rented hospital bed.

The one my Dad laid in for a couple months in the fall of 1974 was an alarmingly stiff and sturdy affair, the frame of which was forged of impossibly heavy iron, with half a dozen jaggy coats of putty-flesh latex paint doing a shit job of concealing the dings and dents kissed by dozens of clutches of burly rental guys trying to navigate unaccommodating residential doors.

Jammed cattywampus between a teddy-bear brown sectional, an antiqued rococo credenza, and what had until recently been my Father's favorite armchair, the hospital bed left little room for easy socializing, let alone aesthetic speculation. This was a living room where a very ill person would mostly die soon.

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Makebelieve Help, Old Butchers, and Figuring Out Who You Are (For Now)

Here's a video I made about a video I made. Consequently, it's also about writing a book, fake self-help, the long road to developing expertise, and the ups and downs of repeatedly asking the world to tell you who you are.

The video is long. As usual. This is how it works.

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On Peanut Shells and Email Archiving

Real Estate Connect San Francisco 2008 | Inman News

Later this morning, I'm honored to be delivering the keynote address at the Inman Real Estate Connect conference here in San Francisco -- coincidentally, a conference I attended in 2000 as the "Senior Producer" (whatever that means) for the real estate dotcom I was working for.

I'll be doing my Inbox Zero talk and touching on some of the ways that real estate agents can use the system in their go-go, always-on sales environment.

There are several new slides in today's deck that I'll be premiering with this version of the talk -- the one above reflects something I've been returning to a lot lately in helping people to spend less time fiddling with their messages: stop obsessing about "organizing" your email.

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The Annoying Productive Guy At Work: Shaming Users One Color At A Time

I was recently put in charge of on-site tech services after a two year apprenticeship as the assistant. Surveying the mess left to me by my former boss, I'm amazed at how many open projects he allowed to grind to a dead stop on his watch. I suppose it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Bloated from the effects of rapid growth, my company suffers from years of rampant position-creation and ill-considered solution grafts. Left to grapple with a culture of contradictory goals, incomplete training and an end-to-end process similar to Sartre's "No Exit" ("hell is other departments"), I'm surprised my predecessor got anything done at all.

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43 Folders Series: Inbox Zero


Inbox Zero

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.

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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. »