Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Matt Wood | Jan 21 2008
Minor milestone in my household coming soon: my son is starting preschool, meaning I'll suddenly have more time on my hands. It's only three mornings a week though; as much as I'd like to hire someone to read to me, it's not enough time to start anything major. But it is enough that I can't waste the opportunity. Four hours of quiet, non-Sprout time in the morning is perfect for getting the high-priority stuff out of the way. I need to come up with a game plan so I don't end up watching SportsCenter and fiddling with iTunes the whole time.
I have my own strategy, of course, but I wanted to ask the wise elders here how I should spend an extra 12 hours a week, and see if we can spot any holes in my plan.read more »
Matt Wood | Dec 11 2007
You’re feeling stress about your RSS feeds? Talk about self-created problems. The real solution to managing RSS feeds is to stop reading RSS feeds. It’s simple ... when a purely optional “convenience” technology is causing stress, it’s time to re-evaluate at a pretty fundamental level.
I read this and thrashed and spluttered like Yosemite Sam for a while before I admitted it: he's right. It is a self-created problem, and I need to understand what makes me feel the need to consume the equivalent of a Carnegie library every day, instead of just finding a more efficient way to choke it down.read more »
Matt Wood | Nov 27 2007
Besides baseball, coffee, and my music collection, I probably obsess over how I read RSS feeds more than anything. Sometimes it feels like I tinker with the setup more than I actually read the news, but I'm making progress. I won't claim to be completely satisfied with how or why I try to consume so much information from the internet, but lately I've been as content with the process as I can hope.read more »
grant balfour | Nov 12 2007
I have a lot of trouble keeping track of what I'm supposed to be doing. It's not that I necessarily have trouble prioritizing my tasks or scheduling things - I mean I do, but that's not the main problem.
The main problem is that I've got too many things I really need (want) to do - too many long-term projects with potential - and I'm never exactly sure when they're a few weeks away from a grand payoff and when they're just wasting my time.
I suppose this is a crisis of faith.read more »
Chanpory Rith | Nov 9 2007
I heart instant messaging, but I heart it too much. If you're a chat addict like me, you understand the lure. It's convenient, connecting you to faraway buddies with little cost. It's safe, releasing you from the worry of looking pretty or sounding sexy. And its deliciously fun. How can you not love video effects, screensharing, and presentation-hosting in Leopard's iChat?
Despite the benefits, instant messaging can turn you into a mindless chat drone. Too much chatting replaces real interactions and, soon, people turn into pixels.
To bring richer conversations back into your life, here are 7 bad chatting habits to stop right now. I've formatted them as a "not-to-do" list:read more »
Matt Wood | Nov 8 2007
Since my days are set to the sleeping patterns of a toddler and the biorhythms of a dog, I have to squeeze my "work," i.e. writing, interviews, blogging, etc, into naptime and the few hours after the boy goes to bed and before I collapse. I'm pretty good about getting the important, bill-paying stuff done, but unfortunately that means what suffers is Me Time, things like reading books or watching a ballgame on TV without a computer in my lap. When I just spent most of my day stressing out about what I wasn't getting done because I was at the playground or reading Richard Scarry books 49 consecutive times, I can't very well justify not doing my stuff when I'm back home and books are put away.
One day this week, the boy was at Grandma's for the day, so I lined up a ton of things to knock out. Most of my afternoon was going to be spent dealing with some carpenters installing a cabinet in our house, so I also knew I had to get busy in the morning. As any time-constrained person knows, feeling squeezed is the best way to make yourself efficient, and I finished everything I needed to by lunch. Then, lo and behold, the furniture guys called and said they couldn't make it, so I was faced with a free afternoon.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jun 5 2007
What a fantastic post. And so many great suggestions that I'm hesitant to choose a sample...so I'll limit myself to three:
Most of the tips on this page strike me as being very practical, real-world, battlefield advice that works. And even if you can't totally avoid a schedule or totally keep email checking down to twice a day, it won't hurt to soak up the spirit of these ideas and let them move by osmosis into the places where they can do you some good. Shake it up a little.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes 43-folders-esque stuff.
(And triple credit for the Robert Evans reference. Did it make me happy? You bet your ass it did.)
Merlin Mann | Apr 20 2007
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The 4-Hour Workweek
by Timothy Ferriss
I've met with Tim Ferriss a couple times (fascinating guy) and have a galley copy of his new book sitting on my desk right now. With what Brian says (combined with the raves for the book I heard from a couple folks I trust last night), I expect I'll be starting into it today.
Back to Brian's project: while you may not necessarily need to make your world as completely devoid of noise and distraction as Brian has, I encourage you to review his list. There's a gold mine of tips in there for ways you might also choose to wrest back your attention and start responsibly firewalling your time.
Loathe as I am to admit it, I've recently had to adopt one of Brian's dicta and have already used it twice today:
Anything you'd add? Got a felonious time burglar you've recently arrested?
Merlin Mann | Apr 9 2007
The Tech Guy Labs - Leo Laporte, "The Tech Guy" [2007-03-31]
On last Saturday's Tech Guy radio show, Leo Laporte and I talked about some of the basics of David Allen's Getting Things Done system. For most regular visitors to 43 Folders, this is going to be very introductory stuff, but I think it may be useful to folks who are getting started or are just curious about what "GTD" even means.
My segment appears from about 00:59:30 to about 1:08:45. Here's a link to an MP3 of the show, plus a few of the items that were mentioned in the segment:
Merlin Mann | Mar 14 2007
I enjoyed reading this list and was especially into number five:
What would you add to the list of skills you think should be taught in school?
[ via: Anarchaia (3/14/07) ]
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