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.

Life Hacks

My email diet

GmaillikeI love using Gmail, but until it works with my über IMAP acount, I wouldn't seriously consider switching over.

Still, Gmail's made me see the value of having very few actual folders for storing new and archived mail. It makes it much easier to track and organize your mail on the fly, plus Google's search and labeling tools let you confidently shunt items out of your inbox constantly without fear of having stuff disappear. So I decided to try a little experiment.

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Getting started with "Getting Things Done"

This article was originally posted during the first week of 43 Folders' existence, and, pound for pound, it remains our most popular page on the site. Please be sure to also visit related pages, browse our GTD topic area, plus, of course you can search on GTD across our family of sites.

GTD coverI’ll be talking a lot here in coming weeks about Getting Things Done, a book by David Allen whose apt subtitle is “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” You’ve probably heard about it around the Global Interweb or have been buttonholed by somebody in your office who swears by GTD. (It probably takes a backseat only to the Atkins Diet in terms of the number of enthusiastic evangelists: sorry about that.)

Like I did the other day with Quicksilver, I wanted to provide a gentle, geek-centric introduction to Getting Things Done, so that you can think about whether it might be right for you. It also gives you time to pick up your own copy of the book and get a feel for how David’s system works. (You can support 43 Folders by buying the book from Amazon, but it’s also up at ISBN.nu and, of course, on shelves at your local bookstore). You’ll also eventually want to grab some of the other GTD essentials, like a ton of manila folders, a good label maker, and a big-ass garbage can. It’s time to get your act together, hoss.

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Introducing the Hipster PDA

This article was originally posted during the first week of 43 Folders' existence, and, pound for pound, it remains one of the most popular page on the site. Please be sure to also visit related pages, browse our Hipster PDA topic area, plus, of course you can search on the Hipster PDA across our family of sites.

Recently, I got sick of lugging my Palm V around, so I developed a vastly superior, greatly simplified device for capturing and sharing information. I call it “The Hipster PDA.”

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Taking (some of) the chaos out of public transit

Nextbus Screen ShotNextBus provides real-time, per-stop predictions for several public transit systems across the U.S. (view all); we San Franciscans who rely on MUNI are fortunate enough to get accurate arrival times for any stop on the light rail line (F, J, K, L, M, N or S) as well as all stops along the mighty, ambling, urine-soaked 22-Fillmore line (don’t laugh: it stops a couple of blocks from Bottom of the Hill).

Unlike the speculative “schedules” that MUNI publishes, NextBus “uses satellite technology and advanced computer modeling to track vehicles on their routes.” So no guessing, standing in the rain, or watching as the last streetcar of the night pulls out of the station without you in it. As someone who lives 1/2 a block from a stop, I can tell you this actually, really works. And, inexplicably, hardly anyone I know seems to know about and use it.

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Your Amazon wishlist when you really need it

If you're like me, a trip to a record or book store often results in a complete brain fart; I can't remember why I'm there, what I want, or what I potentially might have wanted. It's farcical, and it often leads to stupid impulse buying instead of picking up what I'd really needed.

I get around this parietal deficiency by using my Amazon wish list as a parking lot for some of the books and records I want to buy (no, I don't want you to buy me anything; I'm just showing you).

Then, evey month or so, I print out and re-stash a miniature version of the list in my notebook so I'm always up to date when I'm out of the house and happen by a store.

So try this:

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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