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.

Ubiquitous Capture

Crossword-maker Merl Reagle on index cards

YouTube - The Hipster PDA in Wordplay

In the Will Shortz crossword puzzle documentary, Wordplay, Merl Reagle discusses how he uses index cards to collect and track ideas on the go.

[ via: The Hipster PDA in Wordplay - Lifehacker ]

I love two things in particular about this.

read more »

Productive Talk 02: David Allen on patching GTD "leaks"

Productive Talk #02: Patching Leaks

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

In this episode, David and Merlin talked about ways to patch the leaks in your GTD system -- including the role of ubiquitous capture and scrupulous review. (10:33)

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

read more »

Ask 43F: Handling notes in scattered places

Shiran Pasternak writes to ask:

I'm overwhelmed by various note-taking tools you've recommended in the past (so it's your fault). I use, fairly arbitrarily, either TextMate, OmniOutliner Professional (purchased for kGTD, of course), and Notational Velocity...

My main problem is how to retrieve the notes, given that they exist in these scattered applications. Should I then migrate all my notes and use just one of these (or another I may have missed)? Or, should I use a combination of the tools? If so, can you offer heuristics for when to use each note-taking application, and also, if possible, some ideas for how and when to retrieve notes?

This is a really good question -- especially given how many people are suffering from the first-world problem of having way too many cool Mac apps to choose from for this kind of work. The short answer is to slim down the number of tools you're frequently using, but to then be sure you also do something smart and repeatable with everything you've captured. The longer explanation...

read more »

7 Principles of "Idea Dumping"

7 Idea Dumping Tips (How To Manage Diarrhea of the Brain) at LifeDev

LifeDev lays out some good tips for "idea dumping," based on these seven ideas.

  1. ALWAYS carry paper
  2. Be descriptive when writing it down
  3. Plan for not planning on it
  4. Good environments matter
  5. Think big picture down
  6. Organize your thoughts
  7. Know when to stop

Of course I'm a big fan of #1, but I also think there's some terrific advice in #3 (Plan for not planning on it):

One problem with the way we typically brainstorm is this: it’s unnatural. We bang our heads against the wall while chanting “think, think”. If you’re like me, your brain doesn’t like to be told what to do. The second I sit down and “make” myself be creative, my brain goes on lockdown. Nothing in, nothing out. There’s no such thing as forced creativity.

I’ve found that the best way to allow your mind to form ideas is when I’m doing something else. You have to be ready at anytime to jot something down. I know this point is a lot like #1, but I can’t stress it enough.

Back to GTD: Do a fast "mind-sweep"

This post is part of the periodic “Back to GTD” series, designed to help you improve your implementation of David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

Whether you learned GTD from the book or heard it from The David himself (via one of his excellent seminars), you know that the vital first stage of Getting Things Done is Collection.

As laid out in Chapter 5:

Basically, everything is already being collected, in the larger sense. If it's not being directly managed in a trusted external system of yours, then it's resident somewhere in your psyche. The fact that you haven't put an item in your in-basket doesn't mean you haven't got it. But we're talking here about making sure that everything you need is collected somewhere other than in your head.

And, as David succinctly states elsewhere in the book, if you don't use a dedicated inbox in the context of a healthy collection habit, your whole house or office turns into your inbox. And that just doesn't scale. Failing to do so in recent weeks may be why you've fallen off the GTD wagon.

So, just as you learned Collection as the first step in implementing GTD (and to subsequently maintain your system), it's precisely the place to start when you're trying to properly get back into it.

And for the errant GTDer, I feel like the most powerful collection exercise is what DA calls "the mind-sweep."

read more »

Jeremy Wagstaff's Moleskine Remainders

Jeremy Wagstaff has posted some quotes I’d sent about paper, notebooks, and the Moleskine phenomenon. Although I hadn’t intended it as an actual essay, it more or less works together.

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. »