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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.


PigPog PDA: A simplified Moleskine GTD system

PigPogPDA - PigPog Creativity Wiki [Introduction]

Michael Randall lays out a paper GTD-based system that should appeal to a lot of folks here.

What Is It?

  • A Moleskine hack.
  • An extreme Moleskine hack.
  • A simplified GTD system (What system? See our GTD Introduction), with relatively little actual organising. May be useful if you fancy Doing GTD Without Doing GTD.
  • A complete personal management system for those who’s needs aren’t too complicated.
  • A rather over-the-top system for dealing with just the capturing and processing end of GTD.


I was finding GTD a bit much for various reasons, but didn’t want to stop entirely - I needed to be Doing GTD Without Doing GTD. This is the system I came up with in the end. It’s simpler than GTD, and wouldn’t scale to the sort of level that GTD will, but it works pretty well for me, so it seems reasonable to think it might work well for other people too.

Read on for details of a clever system for turning a Moleskine Reporter into a kind of über-notebook, in which capture, processing, and related work are handled using sticky-note flags and some light templating.

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Good tips from the wiki

A sampling of some entries I’ve particularly liked on the unsorted life hacks page of the 43F Wiki.

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Turn an old Zip's case into a Hipster PDA

This is very cute—turn an old Zip disk cast and some custom-printed templates into a sexy little Hipster PDA variant or a mini-tickler file. Clever!

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Psyching yourself out

Open Loops: Your Central Nervous System: Your Biological Key to Productivity

Interesting article on ways to jumpstart your brain into action by changing something physical.

By mimicking the sympathetic reactions to a threatening environment (sitting up straight, standing, moving quickly, deeper breathing), it appears to be possible to activate the sympathetic system, which then takes over.  We are ready to act, or in our case, be productive.  We can also change our environment to one that causes the sympathetic system to activate, one that is more spartan, threatening, or simply uncomfortable.  The result?  We take action.  We are more productive.

This doesn’t surprise me a bit, and if it’s all true, it might confirm my hunch that sitting still and staring at a screen all day is a recipe for lethargy, lame thinking, and productivity inertia.

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More Quicksilver Power Tips

As long as we’re on a run with Quicksilver tips, here are a few of the ways that I use Quicksilver that include pieces of the program that many folks aren’t familiar with yet.

Note that these are intermediate to advanced tips, so, again as ever, please look over the documentation (such as it is) and my setup guide—make sure you're using the latest version, read up on Quicksilver, load up on plugins (available via “Preferences > Plugins” in the Tiger version), and make sure you’re running in beta mode before asking for help.

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Quicksilver: AppleScript to quickly add Entourage Tasks

Entourage - Fast Task.scpt

A hacker who wishes to remain anonymous has answered my prayers by creating a modest one-line AppleScript that lets you pipe input from Quicksilver into a new Entourage Task with zero cruft—no Category, no Project, no date, and no reminder. Perfect for fast capture any place, and something I’ve craved for over a year.

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Want to keep surfing? Pay the Webolodeon

Danny's Greasemonkey script bugs you every few minutes to see if you really still need to be surfing the web.

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Guest Check PDA

Guest Check PDA: closed
Originally uploaded by atduskgreg.

This is a clever variation on the Hipster PDA that I picked up over on the HPDA wiki page. Use a cheapie, pocket-sized pad of restaurant “Guest Checks” to take notes. The hack is to use the kind with old-school carbon copies, so you’ll always have an archival copy of any notes you take.

Check out the full set on Flickr.

Tiger: New Safari tabs at your Command

As Mr. Gruber mentioned yesterday, 2.0 (Tiger) versions of Safari have added the ability to COMMAND-Return from within a web page’s form field in order to send the resulting page to a new tab (go ahead: try it in the 43F search field in the right column of this page). It also appears that you can COMMAND-Click most forms’ Submit buttons to similar effect. This builds on a feature available since (at least) the previous version of Safari in which you can COMMAND-Return in both the Address Bar and the Google Bar to generate a new, populated tab. (n.b: these also work in Safari 1.3 for Panther [Thanks, Roger.])

These may not seem revolutionary on the face of it, but as someone who’s already committed them to Safari muscle memory, I can assure you they’re wildly useful. A few random examples.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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