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.



24,000 Times Per Year

Seth’s Blog: What Matters Now: get the free ebook

A few months ago, Seth Godin asked about 70 people to talk about a word or phrase related to their own idea of What Matters Now. He collected them all into one big ol’ file, and now you can download a PDF of all those contributions, including pieces by folks like Elizabeth Gilbert, Kevin Kelly, Steven Pressfield, and, improbably enough, yours truly.

My essay’s called, Enough.

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"Right Now, What Are You Doing?"

Right Now: What Are You Doing?

Right Now: What Are You Doing? I've started to become a lot pickier about where my attention goes as I observe what it means to my work when it drifts. But, I still have a long way to go. Long way.

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.

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It means "Just Enough."

I'm not sure how anyone feels about the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis - the idea that the words we use shape the way we think or exist - but I'm much happier knowing that the word "lagom" is out there.

I am entering it into my person lexicon forthwith.

Video: Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness and "falling awake"

YouTube - Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at U Mass, and he's highly regarded for his role in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine. He's also an illuminating writer and speaker on the ways that mindfulness meditation can improve health and reduce stress.

I really enjoyed this hour-plus talk Kabat-Zinn delivered at Google last year. It's a terrific introduction to meditation that includes a long portion where you can "meditate along," learning how to follow your breath and become more aware of being in the moment. (I doubt I'm the only one who'll benefit from that bit of help today).

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Ask MetaFilter on Worrying

How to Change my Worrywort Perspective | Ask MetaFilter

The thing I love about Ask MetaFilter is that it makes you feel like you're not alone. Just when you start thinking you're crazy for feeling a certain way, someone pops up with a question about the exact same thing. Over the weekend, a poor soul calling himself a "world class worrier" asked the hive mind how he could just let it go and find his inner Bobby McFerrin.

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The Seed of Mindfulness

Merlin's Mindful Eating and Keeping Weight Off reminded me of the best tool I've found for prompting mindfulness in virtually any situation.

It's the Powerseed, and while it is marketed primarily for weight loss, it turns out to be a useful reminder/timer for virtually any activity where mindfulness is important. It's a sleek, battery-powered pod about as big as the end of your thumb. It offers both visual and audible cues, and operates in a couple of different coaching modes. The basic idea is that it is a discreet coach that prompts you to "check-in" with yourself. It signals both short and long regular intervals, which are useful for being aware of time passing, as well as performing different routines are each mark.

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Mindful eating and keeping weight off

Reason Magazine - Secrets of Weight Loss Revealed!

This review of two recent diet books underscores what most of us already know all too well: while it's easy enough to drop a few pounds for a short while, it's nearly impossible to lose a lot of weight for a long time.

What caught my attention for anyone wishing to apply some fancy book-learning directly to the affected area was this chunk of insight on eating mindfully -- alongside a smart bit of life-hacky weight loss advice:

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Everything I needed to know, I learned in the 1600s.

It's taken as a given that we now deal with more information than previous generations ever imagined, living lives in which "number of clicks" is a meaningful measure of time. As Spanish productivity guru Balthasar Gracian says:

There is more required nowadays to make a single wise man than formerly to make Seven Sages, and more is needed nowadays to deal with a single person than was required with a whole people in former times.

Except he wrote that in the 17th century.

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Jason Goldman on sliding-scale obstacles

Goldtoe Lemon.Nut: The 170-day Weekend

Goldman's back from taking a few months off, and shares a nugget that I like a lot:

When you have fewer responsibilities, those you do have take on a disproportionately larger weight. I found that no matter how little I actually had to worry about, I'd find some task or obligation that would become the "one big thing" nagging at me from void. Sometimes this one big thing would be laundry. The point is that you can always identify one obstacle in your life that, if removed, would make everything better (an annoying co-worker, a bad debt, a rash). Turns out this probably isn't true at all.

Amen, brother, and cf: 83 Problems.

[ via Nelson Minar's Linkblog ]

Epictetus on baths and mindfulness

Hackszine.com: Everyday Stoicism or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy the Show

My current pal and former tortured editor, Mr. Brian Sawyer, has posted a wonderful quote from Epictetus over on Hackszine.

When you are going about any action, remind yourself what nature the action is. If you are going to bathe, picture to yourself the things which usually happen in the bath: some people splash the water, some push, some use abusive language, and others steal. Thus you will more safely go about this action if you say to yourself, "I will now go bathe, and keep my own mind in a state conformable to nature." And in the same manner with regard to every other action. For thus, if any hindrance arises in bathing, you will have it ready to say, "It was not only to bathe that I desired, but to keep my mind in a state conformable to nature; and I will not keep it if I am bothered at things that happen."

Reminds me we're probably about due to pick up on our discussion of mindfulness (Previously on 43f: Mindfulness: The practice of being “here”). I know I'm due for a refresher course.




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. »