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.


Productivity tarbabies and dark nights of the geek soul

Being a whistle-stop tour of 43F posts on the highs and lows of honing your productivity mojo. With special attention to the times when all that fiddling makes you less productive and more stressed out. Sampling from 10 months of posting on keeping your footing when the TODO lists get too numerous, steep, and weirdly fractal.

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Poets, dadaists, and word nerds: Rejoice

Cool site with a bunch of tools, games and articles that will appeal to word nerds.

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TOPICS: Heh, Tips, Writing

43F Google Group: How big is a project?

Google Groups : 43 Folders [How big is a project?]

Good thread on the Google Group about what constitutes a project, especially in terms of the GTD sense of the word (defined in the book as “a desired result that requires more than one action step”).

I also used to find it confusing that there seemed to be an implication that you should only have one “next action” per project, which, gratefully, was completely a misreading on my part; you should have at least one next action per project, but you can and should have as many captured next actions as you know of.

As I read it, the important part is that, if they’re on your TODO list, they need to be the next physical thing you could do to keep things moving—as opposed to stuff that can’t or shouldn’t be done yet for whatever reason (time, dependencies, waiting on other people, etc.). That deeper “back of the envelope” planning should happen in project support materials so that your TODO list is exclusively stuff that’s tee’d up and ready to go.

Related posts:

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Making it harder to steal your stuff

Terrific collection of very clever tips for avoiding identity thefts and general larceny.

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TOPICS: Life Hacks, Tips

Beginner's Mind, Metropolis, and all our unnecessary parts

a million monkeys typing » The Beginner’s Mind

Metropolitan Clock

Douglas’s post reminds me of that unintentionally hilarious scene in Metropolis where the Beleaguered Iconic Worker is pushed to exhaustion in the clearly meaningless work of moving the clock hands around on the Big Futuristic Machine he’s charged to attend. (God, I wish I had a screengrab to share; it’s a stitch to watch. Found one. Thanks, Douglas.)

There have definitely been times in the past couple years when I’ve felt the same way about maintaining “my system”—driven as if by a motor from one list to another, dashing to connect all the pieces into some theoretically unified field theory of my life. It’s nutty.

The irony is that I, like many of you, tarry in this productivity sweat shop in order to achieve what David Allen has called “mind like water,” or the ability to adapt to change and disruption in a relaxed manner. So often, of course, the result is the virtual opposite. You get so stressed out about moving the meaningless clock hands on your Big Futuristic Machine that you forget what they’re supposed to be attached to.

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iTunes' built-in podcasting; revisiting public radio podcasts and RSS feeds

Podcasting baked into iTunes now, plus a reminder about our public radio podcast meta-index.

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TOPICS: Podcasts, Tips

Unpacking the anxieties on your TODO list

Writer’s Block, Geek-Block, and Procrastination

I like this practical, tactical approach to “cringe-busting” a list of tasks that you’ve been procrastinating. Basically, you write down each thing you want to do as well as the anxiety that’s kept you from doing it.

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Robert Daeley: Do Zen Monk Robes Have Pockets?

Robert considers the vast amount of stuff most of us carry around every day—where can we lighten our loads and empty our pockets?

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TOPICS: Life Hacks, Lofi, Tips

Last call: Printers that handle index cards well

43F Google Group: Research for a Post: Printers that handle index cards well

A few weeks back, I posted a message to the Google Group, asking for advice on the best printers for printing onto standard index cards. There have been a lot of suggestions (HP and Brother models seem to be popping up a lot), but there hasn’t been a decisive winner as far as I can tell.

I’d love to post a summary of the three or so best printers people are using—I hope some time in the next week—so this is your final chance to chime in on the model that’s rocking your world. I know a lot of you have been printing to tons of index cards lately, so there must be some printers that can handle the little fellas better than others.

Just to toss this out, here’s a few of the things that I would be looking for in this printer:

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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