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Merlin Mann | Sep 1 2006
Glenn Wolsey has a great little post on how he's set up and is using Mail.app. He's got some very smart stuff here, including an intriguing approach to minimalist mailbox management:
The "Interesting" folder is a new one to me, and, although I personally favor a more verb-y approach to my email buckets, that would be a cool way to bubble up stuff you don't want to miss after a big round of processing.
As we covered in Inbox Zero, it's all about liberating the actions out of your mail. Like any of this stuff, if the system makes sense to you and gives you transparent affordances for instantly knowing "where it goes" and "what you need to do about it," then you're on to something.
Nice work, Glenn!
Merlin Mann | Aug 31 2006
Michael Angeles on his super-slim lofi setup and a very cool-sounding pen:
Merlin Mann | Aug 30 2006
Merlin Mann | Aug 24 2006
Good advice on developing a tunnel for how you draft stuff that will eventually go on your blog. I think #3 ("Let it develop") -- while it could benefit from a bit more explanation -- is the really interesting part. Try not posting immediately, and return to the draft later on:
5ives: The text file behind the curtain
I do something similar with 5ives, where this kind of process is really conducive. I have a running, two-year-old collection of ideas, partial lists, orphan titles and lots of "one fun line I could build a good list around." Goofy as many of them are, some actually sat around since the site began until they evolved to the exact choices, wording, and order that I liked.
Tip: Use text folding
Since this kind of collection method can get messy (over 100 partial piles of junk in one text file), I like to use text folding inside TextMate. This makes it easy to "roll up" lists in such a way that just the title shows, then you can individually click a little "reveal" arrow to see the hoisted contents. Something like this (note the arrows in the gutter):
The beauty part is that I can still append text to the bottom (or prepend to the top) using Quicksilver since it's all just plain old text. Neato.
[ via Gina on Lifehacker ]
Merlin Mann | Aug 23 2006
I linked to this very swell Life Clever article via del.icio.us the other day, but there's so much savory goodness in here, I feel like revisiting it.
Like a lot of good stuff, this article is about more than it first seems, since a tidy desk can be a MacGuffin; this is ultimately about a tidy approach, or, if you prefer, a tidy mind.
It means that you can create a physical workspace that supports your style of thinking and your approach to action, rather than having it be a purely aesthetic artifact of, say, your OCD or your secret fetish to work in an operating theater. Most importantly, you know where stuff goes because you know where your brain will want to look for it at the right time later on, right? And, as you eventually learn, if you can't immediately grok whether a given piece of paper is trash, actionable, or just for reference, you will be, as Walter Sobchak says, "entering a world of pain."
Like Martin Ternouth's excellent paper-based system, Chanpory's tips encourage you to build fences between projects and tall walls between statuses. For example, think about how a frequent usage of an "Incubate Box" might change the chaotic state of your thinking (as expressed in the mystery-meat piles on your desk):read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 23 2006
Words of wisdom from the vacationing Pope:
Merlin Mann | Aug 21 2006
Two sites of potential interest to fellow lovers of home and productivity pr0n (both via Mrs. Mann and her humiliatingly addictive Domino Magazine).
The Museum of Useful Things is a Cambridge MA-based store and site with sexy, IKEA-esque tools for an organized and interesting home life. I mean who couldn't use a diner-style napkin dispenser, new wave potato masher, or kitchen timer on a lanyard? Prices generally look pretty reasonable, too, making this a good place to hunt for gifts for a housewarming or for students heading off to college.
If MUT is similar to IKEA, then russell+hazel is a little more Design Within Reach-y (in terms of dollars). But they carry a ton of nifty, good-looking products for a design lover's home and office. I like the looks of the Three Subject Notebook, the Notebook Jacket, and this foxy Leather Stash Sack. Plus they let you shop by color, which you gotta love.
Got a favorite source of home and office pr0n you've been ogling lately?
Merlin Mann | Aug 21 2006
GTDGmail looks like a promising entry into the increasingly crowded gene pool of web-based productivity software.
The Firefox extension runs on top of your Gmail account, giving you an email-centric approach to implementing Getting Things Done that includes contexts, statuses, a very nifty search feature, and more. This could be just the thing for people who have to live in email, but who don't want to live in an unprocessed inbox.
From the GTDGmail site:
Edit (2006-08-21 07:32:57): Well, that was mean and Michael Arrington of me, wasn’t it? :) I was incorrect in thinking GTDGmailhad gone functionally public (although the project seems pretty well known already). Keep an eye out for the full release (and do forgive me for the unintentional tease).
Edit (2006-08-21 18:01:06): Yay! Looks like it's available now: GTDGmail :: Mozilla Add-ons :: Add Features to Mozilla Software. Thanks, Aaron.
Merlin Mann | Aug 17 2006
I enjoyed this recent ATC story about the interview skills guru, John Sawatsky. "The Sawatsky Method" contrasts sharply with the confrontational attack dog methods most of us associate with people like Mike Wallace:
Even for non-journalists, if you need to conduct the occasional interview, Sawatsky's got some golden tips.
Merlin Mann | Aug 16 2006
LifeDev lays out some good tips for "idea dumping," based on these seven ideas.
Of course I'm a big fan of #1, but I also think there's some terrific advice in #3 (Plan for not planning on it):
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