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Nerdiest Interview Ever: MPU Workflows Part II

MPU 046: Workflows with Merlin Mann II « Mac Power Users

I have the life that I have because I've made a lot of weird decisions, and they've worked out well.

Not gonna lie to you. I'm a huge nerd. Surprised?

Yep. I can recite big chunks of The Big Lebowski from memory. I can argue for an hour on the merits of Dick York over Dick Sargent. And, I can—and frequently do—catch myself thinking Catwoman, Batgirl, Princess Leia, and Emma Peel should have a light-hearted pillow fight that ends with an hour of genial french-kissing.

Pretty much like you, probably. I dunno, maybe your version includes Kitty Pryde. Po-tay-to/Po-taht-o, right?

Perhaps most saliently, by virtue of having spent a solid 2,399 days as a Fake Productivity Guru, I have been provided with an unquestionably Janusian monkey's paw of a gift; I now know a lot about workflows. Nerdy, nerdy workflows.

I can tell you a few things that almost always work, I can tell you a handful of things that almost never work, and—best or worst of all—I can tell you thousands of things that might work. Sometimes. Maybe. Kinda. For some people. For now.

And, at the risk of gay-marrying my arrogance to my hypocrisy, I can tell you that I also know enough about the unholy diarrhea of potential options for Theoretical Productivity to share two big patterns:

  1. Getting your workflow right matters.
  2. Getting your workflow right to the exclusion of the actual work is a fool's game.

But. Managing to get the most useful and most elegant and least fiddly mix of 1 and 2 right is super-hard. Especially for nerds. Especially for me.

So, as I type this today, I believe there can be no greater testament to these claims—or, at least, no greater place to test the veracity of these claims for yourself—than in this TWO AND A HALF HOUR-long interview for Mac Power Users.

It is reeeeeeeeally nerdy. Almost intolerably nerdy. Just…overwhelmingly nerdy.

But, man, is it ever really good, and really fat with the most insanely granular details of How I Work.

Lo, even these 928.5 days after officially retiring from productivity pr0n, my desire to not "vend stroke material for your joyless addiction to puns about procrastination and systems for generating more taxonomically satisfying meta-work" is tempered by a (widely under-reported) practical streak.

Yes: I continue to despise empty advice about rearranging deck chairs on The Titanic. But, yes: I do also still very much enjoy talking about how all the tips and tricks can or can't work in the context of work you care about. That matters. It really does.

So. Here goes. A one hundred and forty six minute-long, Joyce-ian amble through the Big Stuff and the Little Stuff. David and Katie were very patient.

How I name text files. Why I break iOS apps. Why I love the letter "x." Why I won't row out to islands any more. How a 115,000 word book manuscript is "like a house full of confederate money." How "The Cloud" broke in New Zealand. How I use MultiMarkdown, Scrivener, TextExpander, OmniFocus, TextMate, Notational Velocity, Dropbox, and an explosive combination of Elements, Notesy, Nebulous, Simplenote, CF Outliner, iThoughts, Instacast, Good Reader, and wow wow wow.

How I try not to fiddle—how I sometimes succeed and often don't. But, how I try.

Anyhow. There you go. A perfectly nerdy bookend to last year's first Magnum Opus MPU interview on these same topics, Mac Power Users Episode 46 is just insanely nerdy. And, what have you.

I hope you like it. I hope it's useful. I hope you don't use it to replace real work.

And, as ever, I really hope Batgirl starts having more sexy pillow fights.

Enjoy. And, God save you.

MPU 046: Workflows with Merlin Mann II « Mac Power Users

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.”




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