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.

Personal Productivity

Guest: Mike Harris looks at "Remind"

How much do I love my readers? So much.

Mike Harris very kindly sent me a suggestion about having a look at Remind, a swell little Unix program for doing CLI stuff to give yourself, well, reminders. It’s really quite powerful, that.

Despite my initially flipping the bozo bit by asking for technical support about installing Remind, Mike responded with one of the most useful emails I’ve received in a year. So good, that I asked him to move a couple things around and turn it into a full-length guest feature for 43 Folders. So he did.

Many thanks, Mike. I'm still getting my head around a lot of this, but already see many uses for this. Fellow Unix noobs: this looks like a pretty good first project, eh?

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Remainders: Coin envelopes, sprints, binder clipping & more

Our usual Friday skip through the meadow of Merlin's marginally-productive brain.

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Quick tips on processing your email inbox

Follow-up to the email productivity post. Short overview of how I process my inbox.

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Entourage & txt: In which the farmer and the cowman become friends

I love that Entourage lets you link  files to any item (task, contact, appointment, etc.). I use this feature all the time to point to text files on my Mac.

Why bother? Why not just use the built-in notes capability of Entourage? Ah, if you were a fan of text files you wouldn’t need to ask that, and if you were a fan of Quicksilver, the gears would already be clicking.

Among many features—as we all know by now—Quicksilver lets you append or prepend to any arbitrary text file without changing out of your current app. Once learned and ingrained, this will become one of your favorite things to do on the Mac, bar none; but Entourage doesn't currently support it. Still, this tip helps you get around it in a satisfying way—letting Entourage handle all the busy work, while your beloved text files do all the heavy lifting.

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Five fast email productivity tips

There’s been a lot of great discussions about email productivity going around on sites I enjoy, so I thought I’d throw in five no-brainers that I’ve seen help a lot of folks.

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A 'Getting Things Done' Valentine

Deez Steeles: Getting Things Done as Marriage Counciling

GTD 4U This is a wonderful post, and it illustrates something I hear from people all the time—how they feel more tuned-in to their personal life once they find a way to climb out from underneath their pile of ephemeral crap, and, frankly, how they are finally able to pull their head out of their ass long enough to pay attention to the really important people in their life.

In my case, my positive outcome is that my marriage is strong, and my wife knows and feels like she is the #1 priority in my life.  So then I can identify the next physical thing I need to do in order to accomplish those goals: it might be buying flowers, or taking an evening to cook dinner and spoil her, or booking a little weekend getaway.  Now, my wife doesn’t really like the idea of being treated like a “project,” against which tasks are assigned.  But, I would say that I’m just using GTD as a tool to make sure that I am constantly reminded to take actions to make her a priority.  That can’t be bad.

That’s pretty cool. Nice Valentine’s Day message for you GTD fans (and a savvy reminder never to let your loved one know they’re a project).

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Using Categories & Tasks in Entourage

Snapshot of a few categories in Entourage 2004 Categories are a powerful tool for organizing any of the information you store in Entourage 2004—whether it’s email, contacts, appointments, or notes—but I think they really shine as a way to provide context for your task list. I use Categories almost synonymously with the idea of "contexts" that David Allen discusses in Getting Things Done—as a way to identify the location, conditions, tools, or focus needed to work on a given item. As I said the other day, I try to use my Categories to provide ready answers to the "How," "Where," and "When" of a given task as clearly and uniquely as is reasonable. You want to be analyzing and thinking about this stuff when you’re planning it, so you won’t have to process it again when it’s time to actually do it.

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Friday remainders, 2005-02-11

You know the drill--items that never or shouldn't find their way to a full post. Digital Chow Mein.

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In further praise of Markdown

In which my affection for Markdown bleeds into the domain of longhand. Hilarity ensues.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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