Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Jul 25 2005
Really good article on the problems and implications of the interruption-driven lifestyle. Full of great bits, including this:
I really do encourage you to read the whole article, because it gets to the heart of a problem that’s contributing to most everyone’s stress and feeling of being constantly overwhelmed. And you might want to follow it up with seeing how Billy G. reportedly carves out a “Think Week” each year.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jul 14 2005
Being a whistle-stop tour of 43F posts on the highs and lows of honing your productivity mojo. With special attention to the times when all that fiddling makes you less productive and more stressed out. Sampling from 10 months of posting on keeping your footing when the TODO lists get too numerous, steep, and weirdly fractal.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jul 13 2005
As usual, I’d really hoped to play down the goofy “cult” label, but, oh well, I imagine that’s the angle some editor destined the story to have. So it goes.
Still it’s a good piece if it helps a few new folks get it together, and I certainly can’t complain about the exposure (and very considerate deep-linkage).
Thanks for the opportunity, Robert.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jul 12 2005
Like the popular GTDTiddlyWiki (earlier on 43F) it runs offline and in your own browser (Firefox, please; no likey Safari). Where it differs is in its task-centric approach which is, in some respects, a truer GTD-based approach than the TiddlyWiki implementation.
Tasks, Contexts, and Projects are entered and tracked in a handy “dashboard,” so it’s very quick and easy to see which tasks can be accomplished at a given time. One addition I love is the ability to have parent contexts. So, an entry into my “@printer” context is also automagically included in “@mac” etc. Overall, just a great feature set for such a young application.
Since the comparisons with GTDTidddlyWiki are unavoidable, it’s worth mentioning that these are two very different approaches that you’ll want to consider based upon your own needs in a tool.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jul 1 2005
Here’s a quick roundup of a few cool items I’ve picked up (or had recommended to me) over the past few weeks.
Merlin Mann | Jun 30 2005
I also used to find it confusing that there seemed to be an implication that you should only have one “next action” per project, which, gratefully, was completely a misreading on my part; you should have at least one next action per project, but you can and should have as many captured next actions as you know of.
As I read it, the important part is that, if they’re on your TODO list, they need to be the next physical thing you could do to keep things moving—as opposed to stuff that can’t or shouldn’t be done yet for whatever reason (time, dependencies, waiting on other people, etc.). That deeper “back of the envelope” planning should happen in project support materials so that your TODO list is exclusively stuff that’s tee’d up and ready to go.
Merlin Mann | Jun 28 2005
Douglas’s post reminds me of that unintentionally hilarious scene in Metropolis where the Beleaguered Iconic Worker is pushed to exhaustion in the clearly meaningless work of moving the clock hands around on the Big Futuristic Machine he’s charged to attend. (
There have definitely been times in the past couple years when I’ve felt the same way about maintaining “my system”—driven as if by a motor from one list to another, dashing to connect all the pieces into some theoretically unified field theory of my life. It’s nutty.
The irony is that I, like many of you, tarry in this productivity sweat shop in order to achieve what David Allen has called “mind like water,” or the ability to adapt to change and disruption in a relaxed manner. So often, of course, the result is the virtual opposite. You get so stressed out about moving the meaningless clock hands on your Big Futuristic Machine that you forget what they’re supposed to be attached to.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jun 28 2005
Merlin Mann | Jun 27 2005
The Hipster PDA has been extended and improved beyond my wildest dreams thanks to things like GTDTiddlyWiki, Douglas Johnston’s DIY Planner, and John Norris’s very creative templates. With this growth and interest have come a lot of requests from readers for the best, cheapest, and most Mac-friendly printer for printing directly to ordinary index cards. I’ve shared this interest since, frankly, I’ve been buffaloed as well—crippled by the crappiness of my old Epson and unsure what to try next. So I did what I always do: I asked for help.
Even as I started asking for reader advice on inexpensive printers that handle standard index cards well, I had a feeling this was going to be a tough post to put together. This was borne out by the very wide range of suggestions you all submitted—over 30 different models by most all the major companies were mentioned (although only 4 got mentioned more than once)—as well as the plain fact it’s virtually impossible to give meaningful advice on a product you’ve never used. Duh, right?
Anyhow, to put this together, I’ve adopted a blended approach. First, I took everyone’s suggestions (and warnings), compiled a tally count, and then did a bit of extra research on CNET, Epinions, etc. (including a couple phone calls to sales support and some assorted friends).
But, in the end, I decided to put my real-life money where my mouth theoretically should be: I popped in to CompUSA on Saturday morning and bought the recommended model that looked best to me—the Canon Pixma iP3000—and then spent the rest of the weekend testing it out. See how much I love you guys?
The Winner: Canon Pixma iP3000 Photo Printer
This sexy little number looks like a toaster oven from 2001 and has an awful lot of cool features given its sub-$100 price tag. Most importantly for our purposes, it takes a big pile of regular old, drug-store index cards and prints whatever you want onto them at a clip of about 10 seconds per card. It also has a 150-sheet, cassette-loading paper drawer (similar to those on the old LaserWriters). This means that you can load up the tray with plain printer paper without removing your blank cards from the top loader —no juggling, and no disruption to your “normal printing.”
It’s a great photo printer and a fast, middle-quality text printer, but if you’re looking for a cheap way to print index cards from your Mac, I think this is a great choice.read more »
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