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

When to do stuff; iPhone usability; Emacs GTD; ScanSnap review; Inbox Zero notes

Recent remaindered links you might enjoy:

Vox Pop: Managing actions from list emails?

Inbox Zero Tech Talk

During the Q&A portion of my Inbox Zero presentation at Google the other day, an audience member stumped me with a question about how to manage action around mailing list distributions (the question starts at about 48:22).

He said he frequently receives email requests and questions that are also distributed to the other 20 people on his team. He describes a "waiting game" in which team members hang back to see if other people will respond first -- at least partly out of not wanting to duplicate effort or flood the sender. I thought it was a really intriguing question, although I said (and still believe) that distributed email would not personally be my first choice to handle this kind of communication.

Well, based on the reaction in the room that day, I gathered that this is a common dilemma for Googlers. Funny thing is that, since the video went up, I've received a lot of email from people outside the Googleplex who share the same problem -- a few of whom were aghast that I wasn't aware what a huge pain this is for knowledge workers. And to an extent, I'll admit those folks were mostly right.

read more »

Piano prodigy on focus and flow

TED | Talks | Jennifer Lin: Magical improv from 14-year-old pianist (video)

This video from the 2004 TED Conference is extraordinary for a few reasons. First, the prepared performances by then-14-year-old composer and pianist Jennifer Lin are lovely and technically very accomplished. And -- wow -- the improvisation she creates on the spot (16:45) is really something.

But, I also wanted to draw your attention to her thoughts on creativity and flow -- discussing how she tries to beat distraction and gain focus in both drawing and composition. Her discussion starts around 13:31, but do stick around after for her improv based upon randomly chosen notes.

[via Metafilter]

Vox Pop: Implementing GTD for Creative Work?

creativepro.com - Getting Design Done

Interesting article here by our old pal, Keith Robinson, introducing GTD to creative types. This is a fascinating topic for me, particularly since I sometimes find it difficult to "crank widgets" when it comes to anything creative.

Keith's an old hand with this stuff, so it's not surprising that he's developed his own tweaks for Getting Creativity Done. Here's a novel idea:

Create a creative time and space for yourself. Make sure it's free of distraction and get into the habit of going there as often as you can. When there, pull out your @creative lists and get to work. I find this is a great way to tackle smaller creative problems. It's how I come up with -- and get started on -- most of my writing. This article is a result of my @creative time.

That's an interesting way to think about contexts. Ordinarily, you'd think of contexts as representing access to a certain kind of tool or as a physical or temporal limitation, whereas Keith is using it almost like a project.

This is challenging stuff that my buddy, Ethan, and I end up talking about all the time. We both agree that you can use GTD to "clear the decks" for creative work -- to move aside all the mundane workaday tasks that might keep you from focusing on blocks of time for creative stuff. But we, like a lot of people, both struggle with how (or even whether) to put truly creative work into our GTD systems. What do you think?

How are you using GTD for creative work? What do projects and next actions look like for a painter, a screenwriter, or a dancer? What's your best trick for getting creative stuff done?

Old-timey phones exchanges; boss Wii shirt; new Backpack; cool RSS filtering

Recent remaindered links you might enjoy:

Video for Merlin's "Inbox Zero" talk

Google Tech Talk: Inbox Zero

This is the video for my Inbox Zero talk I presented in July of 2007 at Google.

Is Inbox Zero an idea that your company should learn about in person? You can invite me to speak to your organization, live and in-person.

read more »

Macworld: Mac Gems Picks

Macworld Feature: Connect with the world

Macworld Magazine asked me to pick out a few of my Mac Gems, and I was happy to respond with four favorites.

Default Folder, for example, is a PreferencePane that I've used and loved since Christ was a corporal:

Default Folder X (****½)

You can tell Default Folder X is a classic because you start missing it the second you sit down at a Mac that doesn’t have it installed. It reduces the tedium of a handful of annoying dialog-box tasks, and it’s worth its price solely for the ability to set a per-program default location.

Google Tech Talk: Today @ 2pm

Google Tech Talk, Today @ 2pm

A reminder to any Googlers out there that I’ll be giving a Tech Talk on Inbox Zero today at 2:00 pm in the Seville room on the Mountain View campus.

Hope I’ll see you there. (And many thanks to Dick Wall for the hook-up!)

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Quicksilver proxies for fast, easy printing

Faster Printing with Quicksilver

Mark Fisher shares terrific tips on how to use Quicksilver Proxies for faster printing:

Use this method when you want to print files that are on the Desktop or are all in the same folder.

  1. Select the files that you wish to print by Command clicking them.
  2. >
  3. Invoke Quicksilver (by default, ?–SPACE)
  4. >
  5. Type the name of your printer until QS displays its name e.g. “Lexmark”
  6. >
  7. Hit the TAB key to select the next pane.
  8. >
  9. Type “open” and select “Open File”. >
    • I recommend making “Open File” the default action for when you type “open”. You can do this by Ctrl clicking “Open File” and selecting ‘Set as Default for “OPEN”.’
    • >
  10. >
  11. Hit TAB to select the next pane.
  12. >
  13. Type “current” until QS displays ‘Current Selection’.
  14. >
  15. Hit ENTER.
  16. >
  17. Your files should start printing.
  18. >

Also check out how to use the "comma trick" to print multiple files. Great stuff.

After the jump is the video for the episode of The Merlin Show where I talked about using proxies to access application menus.

read more »

Life Clever's iPhone bookmarklet links

Powerful bookmarklets for your iPhone

Chanpory points out that, in addition to the iPhone applications that are out there, you can also use bookmarklets inside of Safari to do your functional bidding when you're on the go. He's pulled together a few favorites, and here's a sampling:

5. List all links
Takes all links from the current page and lists them in a new window...

8. Wikipedia
Find an article on Wikipedia...

12. YubNub
This is my personal favorite. It let’s you rapidly access over 10,500 search services and tools via shortcut commands...




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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