Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Sep 1 2008
Like a lot of people I have a bad habit of CMD-Clicking tab sets in my browser, which then spawns a dozen or more new panes of potential distraction, pointless horseshit, and 10,000 excuses not to focus on what I really want to be making right now.
I whipped up this (rather plain and inefficiently coded) page this morning, and stuck it into every tab set that I tend to abuse: as the first tab I see.read more »
Brian Oberkirch | Aug 6 2008
Merlin Mann | Mar 6 2008
I really enjoyed this Morning Edition story on "Prospect Theory," or the idea that loss aversion can be an effective motivator in goals related to health improvement like weight loss and smoking cessation:
Related to that question I was asked at Macworld: I wonder if a gym membership might be even more motivating if you received a daily email updating you on the wasted dollars you'd spent by not working out in the last n days.
When I started paying most of my own college tuition, I remember realizing that every class I skipped was equivalent to throwing away about a day and a half of the money I'd earned from waiting on tables. It was very motivating for me, and I started missing a lot fewer classes as a result.read more »
Brian Oberkirch | Jan 11 2008
"Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work." -- Chuck Close
It may be that I like hearing about the work habits of writers and artists I like almost as much as I like their work. How do you force yourself to do work no one (really, like, no one) is clamoring for, in addition to doing the long apprentice work you need to do to build your chops? As most of our work gets less structured and more creative, it might prove helpful to take a look at how artists get their stuff done.
And, sorry, all those romantic notions you have of absinthe spoons, manic episodes and Kerouac-like rambling on a long roll of butcher paper really aren't operative. Creative work is mostly showing up every day and enduring a million tiny failures as you feel your way to something a bit new.read more »
Matt Wood | Jan 7 2008
Making life easier isn't always about massive, miraculous changes in habit, or chucking vast quantities of your belongings. Sometimes, preventing just one little hassle can make your day.
You know how the little bit of soap left in the cup after you dump it in the wash always manages to leak down the side of the bottle when you recap it? Usually, you don't notice it until the next time you do the wash, and have to pry the jug loose from a sticky, lint-colored pool. To prevent this from happening, toss the cap in along with the wash instead of recapping the bottle right away. It comes out squeaky clean, and you just have to shake off a little water before screwing it back on the bottle. I suspect this would work with the top of a dish soap bottle too, though you'd have to ask Ray, the gallant cleaner.read more »
Matt Wood | Oct 26 2007
When we moved into a tall and narrow townhouse last summer, its advantages--more space, bigger rooms--came at the expense of having everything spread out on separate floors. Even though I'm quick to point out the bulbous calves and firmly sculpted buttocks I (further) developed from the all-day exercise of trudging up and down the stairs, I've also learned to avoid unnecessary trips.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 26 2007
NYT's David Brooks on outsourcing memory, reference, and decision-making to things that theoretically do it better:
And, ironically enough, if you didn't catch the Grapes of Wrath reference, it's easy enough to find it. Because, if you're like me, sometimes you also outsource your pop culture knowledge to Google, Wikipedia, and IMDB.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 11 2007
Merlin Mann | Oct 11 2007
You've probably heard the advice to photocopy your wallet's contents; in the event that you lose your wallet, this makes it easy to know what you need to cancel and replace. Smart.
I recently received a new credit card and had forgotten what a hassle it is to change the info across all my various online accounts. Here's a few suggestions based on things I did this time around that should make it easier (or at least more interesting) the next time this happens.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 9 2007
Scott Underwood from IDEO was kind enough to invite me down to their Palo Alto HQ for a tour of the renowned design group (they designed Apple’s first mouse!) and to participate with him in one of the company's internal "Know How" talks. It was very informal (and -- because this was during my recent "100-year sinus infection" -- I was completely high on cold medicine).read more »
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