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.

Personal Mantras: Got one?

Personal Mantras - 43FoldersWiki

I’ve been digging the personal mantras that people have been adding to the wiki.

It’s interesting to see the different approaches and interests people have been taking; for some it’s an affirmation, for others it’s a motto or creed, and for many it appears to be a persistent reminder about the right thing to do.

My mantra—if you can call it that—is “Smaller, smaller.” It’s a principle more practical than spiritual, I suppose. I say it to myself several times a day to try and always remember that small things are easier to do than big things, and that most big things are really just a pile of small things if you break them up right. In real-world terms, “Smaller, smaller” means:

  • sub-projects
  • small-sized teams
  • modest, achievable goals
  • granular tasks, TODOs, and, yes, “next actions”
  • fast deadlines
  • frequent, but very short, check-in meetings
  • understanding how one piece leads to the next
  • making it hard to fail

There’s been very few times that “Smaller, smaller” has done me wrong. No matter how ambitious a project, idea, or problem is, there’s usually a way to break into very small pieces. Anyhow, that’s mine.

Got a personal mantra or motto of your own? Why’d you choose the one you did?

(And, no, “I believe I’ll have another beer” probably doesn’t count.)

TOPICS: Inspirado, Tips
Dan Hulton's picture

"Do things not in *spite*...

"Do things not in spite of them being difficult, but because they're difficult."

Hokey, sure. But it's the shift in attitude that's important. Don't do difficult things to get them out of the way, do them because doing them is rewarding.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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