43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Productivity Pr0n

Makebelieve Help, Old Butchers, and Figuring Out Who You Are (For Now)

Here's a video I made about a video I made. Consequently, it's also about writing a book, fake self-help, the long road to developing expertise, and the ups and downs of repeatedly asking the world to tell you who you are.

The video is long. As usual. This is how it works.

read more »

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.

43f Podcast: Kung Fu, Meditation, and Sexual Intercourse

Kung Fu, Meditation, and Sexual Intercourse

There’s as rich a body of literature about (and tools for) Productivity as most any subject you can imagine.

To avoid becoming an unproductive dilettante, make sure your practice of Productivity always takes precedence over your talmudic scholarship on the subject.

AKA: All the reading in the world won’t teach you as much as your first french kiss.

(Running Time: 03:47)

Subscribe to the 43 Folders Podcast on Odeo.com Subscribe to the 43 Folders podcast in iTunes

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen from here:

read more »

David Seah on wall-based productivity pr0n

David Seah explores a treasure trove of lo-fi productivity pr0n, as provided by the vertical-surface-loving folks at Magnatag:

read more »

David Allen on GTD's future (and why it just works, as is)

Productive Talk #08: GTD 2.0?

43 Folders and The David Allen Company present the eighth in a series of conversations that David and Merlin recently had about Getting Things Done.


In this episode, Merlin asks David one of the most popular questions about GTD; if he could write the book all over again today, what would he do differently? David addresses how people’s understanding of GTD evolves on repeated exposures, as well hinting at future plans for making GTD easier for people to start and maintain. He makes some great points on learning to pay attention to your "higher altitudes," and wraps up by underscoring the importance of not having to rethink every task throughout the day. (13:11)

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen here (after the cut).

Merlin's comments

If you bend David Allen's ear for more than 30 seconds about GTD, you'll hear some variation of a phrase that I heard a lot over the couple days we hung out in Ojai: "It's all in the book!"

Say what you will about The David, but he is not a man who suffers from The George Lucas Complex. Much to the consternation of his publishers, his fans, and -- one suspects -- even some of his colleagues, David feels like he has already written the complete and definitive work on the Getting Things Done system. And he very clearly has no desire to futz with that basic system without a good reason; it's sound and complete, as is, and there you go. Next subject.

And, I have to say, in a lot of ways, I've come to really admire this.

read more »

Vox Pop: Sell me on manual email filing

tow.com » MsgFiler

Lots of the kids are excited about the arrival of MsgFiler, which is a neat litte app for helping you file away your messages in Mail.app:

MsgFiler is a plug-in for Apple Mail which quickly files emails into existing mailbox folders. MsgFiler’s fast searching means you just have to type a few characters to find the right mailbox. Move selected messages with a click or open a mailbox without having to navigate the mailbox folder pane. MsgFiler is optimized for keyboard-only usage, perfect for Apple Mail power users.


But I'll just play devil's advocate on this one: if you find yourself inordinately excited about the arrival of this (admittedly clever) application, there's an excellent chance that your email archiving system is unnecessarily complex and, in fact, is in need of a major streamlining. Discuss.

read more »

Vox Populi: Best practices for file naming

If it wasn't apparent from my pathetic cry for help the other day, even I -- one of your more theoretically productive persons in North America -- struggle with what to call things.

Tags, files, and -- dear Lord -- the innumerable assets associated with making web sites, graphics, audio, and video projects; it's all a hopeless jumble unless you have some kind of mature system in place for what you call your stuff and its various iterations. Of course, if you're like me -- and I hope that you are not -- you still have lots of things on your desktop with names like "thing-2 finalFinal! v3 (with new changes) 05b.psd".

For prior art, I still treasure this Jurassic thread on What Do I Know where people share their thoughts on this age-old problem, but, frankly I haven't seen many good resources out there on best practices for naming.

Anyhow, during a recent MacBreak shoot, I noticed that Alex and his team seem to have a pretty fly system for naming the video files that eventually get turned into their big-time IPTV shows. Thus, I turned to Pixel Corps' Research Division Lead, Ben Durbin (co-star of Phone Guy #5) for insight and sane help. And, brother, did he ever give it to me (see below the cut for Ben's detailed awesomeness).

But, just so I don't lose you, do give me your best tips in comments: What are your favorite current conventions for naming files? How does your team show iterations and versions? Do you rely more on Folder organization than file names in your work? How have Spotlight, Quicksilver, and the like changed the way you think about this stuff?

read more »

Merlin on David Allen TechGTD Panel

GTD Connect [TechGTD]

TechGTD panel

Members of David Allen's GTD Connect membership program can login to hear a technology panel that David conducted with tech über-geek Eric Mack, DavidCo CTO Robert Peake, and myself down in Ojai a few weeks back.

We talk about all kinds of stuff related to tech in general, and how we use GTD and technology in particular. One nice thing you learn: Robert, who is the wildly gifted tech stud at DavidCo, is a big Mac user. Pretty cool.

Note that this is made available as part of the GTD Connect for-pay service, so I don't have a way to preview this for folks who aren't a member. But for Connectors who are joined up, I think you'll enjoy the conversation. It was a lot of fun to do.

Sloan get organized for new record

One of my favorite bands, Sloan, has a new record called Never Hear the End of It that just came out last week in Canada (currently only purchasable via import in the US; in Canada, you can buy it on MapleMusic).

While recording the CD, Sloan also shot a bunch of short in-studio videos, including a couple that reveal their innately organizational side.

read more »



An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


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. »