Time and Attention
Merlin Mann | Apr 27 2010
Audio (mp3): "Merlin Mann - 'Rutgers Time & Attention Talk'"
This is a talk I did at Rutgers earlier this month. I kinda like it, but for a weird reason. Something something, perfect storm of technology Ragnarok, and yadda yadda, I had to start the talk 20 minutes late with no slides. Nothing.
So, I riffed.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 3 2009
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Merlin Mann | Dec 9 2008
danah boyd is finishing her dissertation, then going on vacation for a month. While, she's gone, she's not accepting email. At all. Got that?
No apology. No "vacation message" to pretend she'll read it later. And no implied promise that the stuff people send to her will magically be tended to by an invisble army of interns and elves. While she's away, every message she receives is simply discarded with a friendly response as to why. danah writes:
If you roll your eyes at such fancy, uppity, big-city behavior, consider the alternatives most of us suffer in order to pretend we're listening. Even when we know we're not.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 10 2008
["what is this?"]
Here's something I wrote last week for this site's new "About" page:
Call it a motto, or a charter, or -- if you have to -- a "mission statement." But, for both of us, it's a stake in the ground that keeps me focused on what I feel best suited to do for you with this site right now.
I want to help you identify and remove any obstacle that keeps you from making things that you love. And then I want to help you figure out how to make those things even better. That's pretty much it.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 1 2008
Like a lot of people I have a bad habit of CMD-Clicking tab sets in my browser, which then spawns a dozen or more new panes of potential distraction, pointless horseshit, and 10,000 excuses not to focus on what I really want to be making right now.
I whipped up this (rather plain and inefficiently coded) page this morning, and stuck it into every tab set that I tend to abuse: as the first tab I see.read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 20 2008
Some days, I can't decide how I feel about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say: "
So, although I'm trying not to audibly roll my eyes at a pop-psychology Top 10 list about creativity's "dialectical tension," I definitely am interested in one of his observations about the "paradox" of creative people.
read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 16 2008
Last night, I got home from a lovely one-day trip to do some speaking, and I was catching up on a couple emails before I went to bed. One of the messages was a thoughtful note from someone who works in the US Government (and whose name, job, and identifying elements I'm changing to protect his or her privacy).
"Sally," I'll call her, likes the 43 Folders stuff, but has legitimate concerns about how all this "attention management" stuff might send a wrong or hostile message to her colleagues. It's a great point.read more »
Matt Wood | Aug 15 2008
Earlier this summer, I was in the kitchen, trying to cook dinner. I had a pot on the stove and a fire going on the grill outside. I was fumbling with a bag of frozen peas when my three-year-old started shouting at me to fix one of his toys. “Hold on a second, son,” I said. “I can’t do two things at once.” He looked me, dead serious, and said, “But you have two hands, Daddy.”
Too Many Pots on the Stove
My life usually feels like this. I set out to do make something nice, and I end up with a scorched side dish, charred burgers, and crunchy peas. The output barely resembles that delicious-looking picture in Cooking Light, but hey, the toy trains are running on time!
My immediate solution has been to limit the inputs and not try to do so much at once. If I can’t cook a nice meal with a preschooler underfoot, then I won’t even try. Chicken nuggets and grilled cheese for everyone, and you’ll like it, thank you very much. While this approach to dinner fulfills various statutes regarding child neglect, it’s also not very satisfying. Apply this approach to work and it certainly creates more time to do Important Things, but it makes for soggy, microwaved output as well.read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 14 2008
Who Moved My Brain? Revaluing Time & Attention (slideshare.net)
As I've been going over my slides for the Time & Attention talk, I realized I hadn't shared how the material has evolved since it premiered at Macworld in January. Which is to say, "Kind of a lot." So, I've posted the updated deck.read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 6 2008
This article is Part 3 of a 3-part series about attention management for people who do creative work called, Making Time to Make.
Could an email recluse like Neal Stephenson just cowboy up by agreeing to a monthly chat session or the occasional visit to a fan forum? Sure, he could. Could a volunteer intern scan Neal’s email once a week for particularly wonderful notes? You bet. Could he even conceivably just drop all the blast shields, open a chat room, “livestream” from his desk, and then spend the rest of his life answering questions from people with nothing better to do? Maybe. Sure. But, probably not. He’s already told us as much, hasn’t he?
The point, from my perspective, is that Stephenson possesses the man-sized pant stones to declare precisely what the people who enjoy his work should expect from him. And, in so doing, he has drawn a clear line that some might find hard to love, but that is very easy to see, understand, and respect. No, he didn’t hire someone to answer his email, or get a kid to pretend to be him on Twitter, or install a Greasemonkey script that “autopokes” people on Facebook (I’ll leave you to guess which two of these I do).
Neal Stephenson essentially said, “Listen, gang, here’s what I’m going to make for you: novels.” And then, he went back to typing. To working. On work.read more »
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