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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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Stever Robbins on email overload

HBS Working Knowledge: The Leadership Workshop: Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

Great article on dealing with a high volume of email that focuses on what you can do to craft email messages that are easy to process, read, and answer. So full of goodness, I’m not sure what to highlight, so I’ll just quote a tip for beating back one of my pet peeves, the wishy washy project update:

Make action requests clear.

If you want things to get done, say so. Clearly. There’s nothing more frustrating as a reader than getting copied on an e-mail and finding out three weeks later that someone expected you to pick up the project and run with it. Summarize action items at the end of a message so everyone can read them at one glance.

When I manage a project and send this sort of email, I frequently start with a set of open and recently closed items as well as when they’re due (if we know) and by whom:

[ ] Ralph - 2005-04-01 - Build ramp near chicken stand
[x] Potsie - 2005-03-01 - Find out where Arnold’s chicken stand will go
[ ] Fonz - Get bike tuned up
(x) Pinky - Sent lucky scarf as requested

(more on my little codes here)

Anyhow, Stever’s article has super advice throughout, and, if I may say, it’s a nice companion to the recent email articles posted here:

(via injoke.org, BoingBoing, and many others)

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

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