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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.

Personal Productivity

Drew McCormack on GTD for scientists

Getting Things Done (GTD) for Scientists - MacResearch

I enjoyed this post by Drew McCormack on how he discovered GTD and has started using it for his work as a scientist:

The thing to realize is that most people don’t get lessons in organizing themselves at school or college, and they certainly haven’t been prepared for the rapid pace of modern life. GTD is nothing more than a few lessons on how best to organize things. At the center of it all is what could be regarded as a multi-dimensional ToDo list. The idea is to get every project you have, however big or small, out of your head and into the list. That allows you to relax about things, and be more productive at the same time.

"Multi-dimensional ToDo list." I'm totally stealing that.

Also, I mention it here because this post provides that rarest of voyeuristic nerdthrill: getting to peek at how someone else is using Kinkless!

Any tips or stories from the science nerds out there on how GTD is and isn't working for you?

The Merlin Show: Chris Wetherell; High-res feed

We're wrapping up our launch week of The Merlin Show with a terrific interview and a new feature announcement.

First, don't miss today's interview with Chris Wetherell, in which we hear how our favorite drumming Google engineer has learned to embrace email mediocrity and has created a "walled garden" using his Treo. Great stuff (and viewable from this page, after the jump).

Next, I wanted to announce the High-resolution podcast feed for The Merlin Show. It's available for subscribing at http://feeds.themerlinshow.com/TheMerlinShowHi (or just subscribe via iTunes).

read more »

The Merlin Show: Two JVs and more

Two JVs & a Nick

No, I haven't yet interviewed Nick Mirov, but The Merlin Show's launch week juggernaut rolls on with interviews featuring two "JV"s: Google's Jeffrey Veen and San Francisco indie rock institution John Vanderslice (the latter of whom also has a show tonight at The Independent at which you should say hi if you see me). Clickable versions of both episodes provided after the jump.

Also, I've posted my first in a series of credit highlights, beginning with John Roderick, the man behind the wonderful music you hear over our credits (it's called "Blue Diamonds" and you can download it here).

Finally, if you haven't yet subscribed for free, it's a great time to hop in. Also, kindly note that, if you subscribe via iTunes, you can help me potentially overtake several popular public radio shows. Which would be really cool.

read more »

Vox Pop: What's your "Mac Whine?"

We've started a new feature over on MacBreak Weekly that I really hope becomes a regular thing: "_Mac Whines_!"

Yeah, sure, I'm an unapologetic Apple fanboy (I, mean duh), but some stuff about my Mac experience makes me crazy. Have you got a beef with your Mac or OS X you want to shout from the shiny counter of the "Genius" Bar? Yeah, me too.

I'll open with:

  • inexplicable iCal "snooze" options (per MBW 30 -- which, incidentally, may also be my favorite MacBreak Weekly to date)
  • near-hangs whenever a mounted network volume is no longer available
  • no way to (temporarily) enable password-free user switching
  • The Finder. The goddamned Finder.

What's your Mac Whine?

The Merlin Show: Interview with Jonathan Coulton

002: Interview: Jonathan Coulton | The Merlin Show

My new video podcast launches today with an interview I recently did with Jonathan Coulton.

JoCo is an internet troubadour and former developer who may be best known for wonderful songs like "Code Monkey" and "Skullcrusher Mountain," although he also has gigs podcasting for Popular Science as well as playing guitar for his best friend (and sworn nemesis) John Hodgman.

We talk about life as an independent artist, including how Jonathan captures ideas and may or may not be similar to Michael Jackson.

We'll have a new episode of The Merlin Show every morning this week, then slide into an (approximately) once-a-week schedule for new episodes.

Please consider subscribing via iTunes or Democracy, or just point the "podcatacher" of your choice at http://feeds.themerlinshow.com/TheMerlinShow

Coming Monday: The Merlin Show

The Merlin Show

The Merlin Show arrives Monday, February 26th, at thirty theoretically productive frames per second.

Subscribe for free via the iTunes

Active Voice's free Hipster PDA templates

Active Voice Writing & Editorial Services in Baltimore -- Downloads

Cool-looking collection of CC-licensed Hipster PDA templates include iconic "capture notes," research notes, and (here's a new one for me) a "yarn sorting card." Neat stuff.

Simply drag and drop them to your desktop, or right-click and "save as." Templates are formatted as .png graphics and can be printed as-is or inserted into a formatted document. They can be resized to fit everything from a 3x5 card to a daily organizer to an 8.5x11 sheet.

Kvet.ch features an excellent article on how to print D*I*Y Planner HPDA cards (see the end of this page) directly to 3x5 cards for Mac users. The technique should also work nicely with the templates offered here.

Blogs: Watching passionate thoughts evolve (in public)

cover of 'The Blogging Church' by Brian Bailey

The Blogging Church
by Brian Bailey

A few months back, Brian Bailey asked me to contribute a short essay for his new book, The Blogging Church: Sharing the Story of Your Church Through Blogs (neat idea for a book).

As I'm sure Brian realized at some point, a lot of the advice in the book (creating an online image, deciding who the blog's for, and improving your blog over time) will also be of interest to small business and garden-variety bloggers. I enjoy Brian's writing and think he has a sound grasp on what makes blogs work (or not). Good stuff, and red meat for anyone thinking of taking their church (or their business or their kittens) to the web.

Here's an excerpt from what I sent him.

read more »

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 ]

Vox Pop: What we talk about when we talk about "priority"

Since the Bronze Age of personal productivity, conventional wisdom has taught us the importance of priority in deciding how to plan and use our time. And, in the abstract, anyhow, that notion of putting your time and attention into those things that are the most valuable to you seems so "obvious" as to be a tautology, where "productivity = acting on priorities." (Of course, whether people's execution of the things they claim are important always maps to their stated intentions is another matter for another post a really big book.)

But, we can probably agree that in the post-Lakein world of productivity and time management, everything from Covey's Quadrants to the Pareto Principle to the four criteria to -- what? I dunno -- firewalking, has been used to help us train our attention on the things that need us most and provide the greatest value in our world. Priority.

But, in practice, what the hell does "priority" really mean?

read more »



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. »