Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Feb 9 2005
My theory is that the secret code for most self-improvement systems—from Getting Things Done through Biofeedback and the Atkins diet—is not hard to break; any idea that helps you to become more self-aware can usually help you to reach a goal or affect a favorable solution. That’s pretty much the entire bag of doughnuts right there.
Self-improvement juju works not because of magic beans or the stones in your soup pot; it works because a smart “system” can become a satisfying cipher for framing a problem and making yourself think about solutions in an ordered way. Systems help you minimize certain kinds of feedback while amplifying others.
Also, when you’ve undertaken most any kind of program, there’s usually a built-in incentive to watch for change, monitor growth, and iterate small improvements (think: morning weigh-in). While I don’t doubt that some systems empirically work better than others, I suspect that success with any of them has much to do with how we each think, behave, and respond to our environment.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 5 2005
O'Reilly's Make: Magazine premieres with Danny O'Brien and my first "Life Hacks" column.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 4 2005
It’s been a while since we’ve had a round of remainders—good stuff I've wanted to mention that never found their way into a full post. Here's a few to chew on over the weekend.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 22 2005
More of the neato little search shortcuts I like to use. Includes UPS/RSSread more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 21 2005
Locker CD holder is a simple way to keep your cards together.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 19 2005
Mark's article gets to the core problems that cause people to get derailed, distracted, and perpetually off-target.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 18 2005
Handy way to "set it and forget it."read more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 15 2005
50 Strategies for Making Yourself Work is a terrifically useful and very entertaining list of hacks, tricks, ciphers, and fake rules for helping yourself write. Or more specifically, it helps you get unstuck, unblocked, and out of that hated procrastinating mire. It’s actually a much better version of my “Hack Your Way out of Writer’s Block” that I somehow missed in putting my ideas together.
I have to say, I’m really pleased to have discovered this article today, because it comports with some stuff I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and with the approach that sums up my feeling about “43 Folders-esque” ideas: in order to find what works for you, it helps to understand why the old stuff doesn’t.
By now, everybody knows that I swiped the basic idea for 43 Folders from my pal, hero, and personal muse, Danny O’Brien. His work on the original Life Hacks presentation was centered around research into why some people, especially those overachieving alpha geeks, seem to get so much more accomplished over the same 24 hours we mortals start with each day. Some of them, like Rael, just seem preternaturally organized and focused. Others, like Cory, are blessed with an ungodly gift for effective multi-tasking.
But many of the other productive nerds, as you soon realize, have just gotten really good at identifying their weaknesses and developing the compensatory psychic muscle needed to shore up their vulnerabilities. Forgetful? Write stuff down. Easily distracted? Set timers. Saddled with pointless interruptions? Leave the office. Find the bad code in your system and eliminate the bugs. Find the fastest, easiest, most elegant solution that could possibly work. Can it really be that simple?read more »
|EXPLORE 43Folders||THE GOOD STUFF|