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robertogreco : merlinmann   26

Why time management is ruining our lives | Oliver Burkeman | Technology | The Guardian
"All of our efforts to be more productive backfire – and only make us feel even busier and more stressed"



"At the very bottom of our anxious urge to manage time better – the urge driving Frederick Winslow Taylor, Merlin Mann, me and perhaps you – it’s not hard to discern a familiar motive: the fear of death. As the philosopher Thomas Nagel has put it, on any meaningful timescale other than human life itself – that of the planet, say, or the cosmos – “we will all be dead any minute”. No wonder we are so drawn to the problem of how to make better use of our days: if we could solve it, we could avoid the feeling, in Seneca’s words, of finding life at an end just when we were getting ready to live. To die with the sense of nothing left undone: it’s nothing less than the promise of immortality by other means.

But the modern zeal for personal productivity, rooted in Taylor’s philosophy of efficiency, takes things several significant steps further. If only we could find the right techniques and apply enough self-discipline, it suggests, we could know that we were fitting everything important in, and could feel happy at last. It is up to us – indeed, it is our obligation – to maximise our productivity. This is a convenient ideology from the point of view of those who stand to profit from our working harder, and our increased capacity for consumer spending. But it also functions as a form of psychological avoidance. The more you can convince yourself that you need never make difficult choices – because there will be enough time for everything – the less you will feel obliged to ask yourself whether the life you are choosing is the right one.

Personal productivity presents itself as an antidote to busyness when it might better be understood as yet another form of busyness. And as such, it serves the same psychological role that busyness has always served: to keep us sufficiently distracted that we don’t have to ask ourselves potentially terrifying questions about how we are spending our days. “How we labour at our daily work more ardently and thoughtlessly than is necessary to sustain our life because it is even more necessary not to have leisure to stop and think,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche, in what reads like a foreshadowing of our present circumstances. “Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself.”

You can seek to impose order on your inbox all you like – but eventually you’ll need to confront the fact that the deluge of messages, and the urge you feel to get them all dealt with, aren’t really about technology. They’re manifestations of larger, more personal dilemmas. Which paths will you pursue, and which will you abandon? Which relationships will you prioritise, during your shockingly limited lifespan, and who will you resign yourself to disappointing? What matters?

For Merlin Mann, consciously confronting these questions was a matter of realising that people would always be making more claims on his time – worthy claims, too, for the most part – than it would be possible for him to meet. And that even the best, most efficient system for managing the emails they sent him was never going to provide a solution to that. “Eventually, I realised something,” he told me. “Email is not a technical problem. It’s a people problem. And you can’t fix people.”"
time  timemanagement  productivity  psychology  gtd  2016  oliverburkeman  stress  busyness  frederickwinslowtaylor  taylorism  merlinmann  technology  thomasnagel  humans  seneca  efficiency 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Better - Merlin Mann
"What makes you feel less bored soon makes you into an addict. What makes you feel less vulnerable can easily turn you into a dick. & the things that are meant to make you feel more connected today often turn out to be insubstantial time sinks - empty, programmatic encouragements to groom & refine your personality while sitting alone at a screen."

"To be honest, I don’t have a specific agenda for what I want to do all that differently, apart from what I’m already trying to do every day:

* identify & destroy small-return bullshit;
* shut off anything that’s noisier than it is useful;
* make brutally fast decisions about what I don’t need to be doing;
* avoid anything that feels like fake sincerity (esp. where it may touch money);
* demand personal focus on making good things;
* put a handful of real people near the center of everything.

[Previously referenced here: http://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:2d41ea9e1e4d pointing to http://kottke.org/08/09/some-recent-merlin-mann-goodness ]
writing  media  culture  2008  sincerity  emptiness  addiction  boredom  noise  relationships  small  slow  meaningmaking  meaning  signaltonoise  attention  productivity  via:lukeneff  purpose  merlinmann  gtd 
august 2012 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe • Suppose you are in a unit with 10 other people....
"Suppose you are in a unit with 10 other people. Your boss thinks every one of you is spectacular. Well it doesn’t matter because at Microsoft, you have to designate two of them as spectacular, four of them as mediocre, and then the rest as terrible. What you’ve done is create a system where every employee is not only trying to do their best, but every employee is trying to make sure that their colleagues don’t. Creating that environment is the exact opposite of what you want to do in terms of encouraging innovation."

—The downfall of innovation at Microsoft | Marketplace.org [ http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/downfall-innovation-microsoft ]

"I first learned about Microsoft’s practice of “stack racking” within teams about five years ago. Ever since then, the company’s fortunes have made a lot more sense to me.

And, not in a good way."
beenthere  hownottodoit  whattoavoid  ranking  adverserialworkplace  competition  howwework  workenvironment  2012  innovation  culture  workplace  kairyssdal  administration  leadership  tcsnmy  control  fear  hierarchy  management  microsoft  merlinmann 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Instapaper 4: Deciding to Read | 43 Folders
"…my life always gets better when I decide to read things–and then actually read those things I decided to read…We’re all busy…bombarded with 10,000 potential calls on our attention every day. Some days, we handle that better than others. Some days, we don’t handle it all.

All I know, is that, throughout my life, deciding to read has made that life better.

It made my life better at 7 with Henry Huggins. It made my life better at 16 with Slaughterhouse-Five. It made my life better at 20 with Absalom, Absalom!. And, it made my life way better at 25 with A Confederacy of Dunces (cf.).

…following over a decade during which I read way more href tags than actual prose paragraphs–my life has gotten better, in part, due to Instapaper. I’ve finally gotten my hands around this “too much stuff” issue…

…20-some years after a college career sucking down over 1,000 pages a week, I am finally returning to reading a lot more. Because, I am deciding to read a lot more…"
merlinmann  reading  learning  instapaper  infooverload  readitlater  2011  education  cv  self-assignedreading 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Celebrity – Marco.org
"In addition to inspiring me to be a better writer and inadvertently killing my conference-presentation confidence for a year, this famous little 2009 SXSW session leveled my juvenile notion of celebrity. After the talk, since I wasn’t allowed to leave, I was introduced to many more great people famous for their blog, software, humor, or music,3 and it went similarly well with all of them.

Among people who are well-known to subsets of internet geeks, nobody’s walking around with entourages or bodyguards…At the end of the day you still go outside and nobody knows who you are.”

…It turns out that we’re all just regular people who like similar things and are in the same little circle of interest.

So next time you’re at a geeky conference and have an opportunity to meet someone whose work you admire, just go up and introduce yourself, because they’re just a regular person, they never get “recognized” during the other 360 days each year, & they’ll probably really appreciate it."
marcoarment  celebrity  conferences  writing  merlinmann  adamlisagor  johngruber  instapaper  sxsw  daringfireball  2011  2009  presentations  introverts 
september 2011 by robertogreco
"Broken Meetings (and how you'll fix them)" on Vimeo
"There's a big elephant in the office today that's becoming harder to ignore—meetings.

Even the best meetings can eat up massive person-hours, but those really awful ones will just kill you. You know the type.

Those time-wasting, rudderless, repetitious, zombie meetings where "deep dives," "drill downs," and "face time" often mean much is debated, little is accomplished, and everybody leaves feeling broken--AND, often as not, late for their next meeting.

In the premiere of this all-new presentation, Merlin Mann attacks Bad Meeting Culture with the same brand of practical, funny, and thought-provoking advice that his popular Inbox Zero talks brought to the topic of email."
productivity  meetings  management  merlinmann  2010  work 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Cranking | 43 Folders
"This is not me quitting the book. No fucking way. This is me doubling down on the book--on my book.

I will finish my book very soon. Not because of (or in spite of) any contract, and not because of (or in spite of) any editor, and certainly not because of (or in spite of) any tacit demand for empty cranking.

I will finish my book because I want to finish it. Because it is very, very important to me to finish it.

But, again, let's be clear-- what I finish will be my book. And, it will be done my way. And, yes--you Back to Work fans knew this one was coming--my book will have my cover that I choose. It will not have fucking pussy willows or desert islands or third-rate kerning. It will be, to quote my editor (who is awesome), "messy."

My book will help and comfort the people that I want to reach. And, yes, much like my editor, my book will be awesome."
parenting  writing  productivity  freedom  balance  priorities  meaning  values  merlinmann  2009  via:lukeneff  life  wisdom  storytelling  memory 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Your Shit, My Stuff, Goldilocks, and Making the Bed You Sleep In
"There’s no name for this way of thinking, but if I had to steal a term, I’d use Merlin Mann’s Appropriatism. It’s not minimalism, it’s not maximalist, it’s just-right-ism. Goldilocks was on to something. The idea sits somewhere in the middle, exactly at the crux of whatever works the best with the least amount. The core precept of all of it is this:

“Add things until it starts sucking, take things away until it stops getting better.”

We’re looking for that sweet spot, the thing that fits just right, plus or minus zero. With that said, this isn’t a zen, simple living blog post. By being an apostle for nothingness, we lose touch with reality. Philosophy is worthless if it is not practical. My intent is to be helpful and useful, not dogmatic. Your mileage may vary, if only because of differing needs."
frankchimero  merlinmann  appropriatism  minimalism  steadfast  hot-swap  access  optimization  freedom  personalization  needs  needsassessment  fit  beauty  utility 
january 2011 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe — The Cringing Point
"I grit my teeth when Gladwell makes a terrific observation, then staples on some random non sequitur of a case study to “prove it,” then lovingly attaches—as my friend T puts it—“some ridiculous bromide” about What It All Really Means.

What kills me is I agree w/ basically every brilliant observation he’s ever made. His instincts are stunningly sharp & zeitgeisty, & you simply can’t dispute his ability to synthesize totally random cultural datapoints. He thinks very very well…

Guy’s a million times more intelligent & successful then I’ll ever be. But I kind of hate how he’s seduced a generation of self-satisfied people w/ bachelor’s degrees into gorging on his horn-rimmed buffet of insouciantly bloggable cocktail party facts. It’s like meth malteds to thin-boned lads who worship at his probably large Canadian feet.

Smugness is such a hungry, hungry habit, friends, & everybody loves a big ole plate of contradictory. Or do they? Because a recent study shows surprising…."

[via and in response: http://tumblr.quisby.net/post/1204381782 ]
malcolmgladwell  writing  merlinmann 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Visiting dConstruct 2010 | Coldbrain.
"That kinda sums up the past few years of my life. I’ve been collecting all these new interests and passions and obsessions and trying to get myself beyond ‘advanced beginner’ in all of them. It’s taking time, because being a generalist means soaking up so much information from so many areas. It’s exhausting, and I wish I had this mindset 5 or 10 years ago, so I could be that much further down the line. I have to remind myself that it is as much about the journey, though."
matthewculnane  dconstruct  2010  generalists  brendandawes  tomcoates  merlinmann  davidmccandless  samanthawarren  johngruber  daringfireball  hannahdonovan  jamesbridle  nerds  learning  process  journey  journeynotdestination  constellationalthinking  timcarmody 
september 2010 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe: Episode 27: Missionless Statements
"In this special episode, Dan Benjamin talks with two of his heroes, Merlin Mann & Jeff Veen about independence, free thinking, email, productivity, & changing your game."

[There is more here (on shared values, innovation, organizations, management, entreprenuership, change, etc.) than my notes reflect—all worth the listen.]

[Video also at: http://5by5.tv/conversation/27 ]
dunbar  dunbarnumber  groupsize  classsize  productivity  management  administration  tcsnmy  lcproject  jeffreyveen  merlinmann  danbenjamin  email  communication  leadership  problemsolving  technology  enterprise  independence  freethinking  gamechanging  time  small  slow  ambientintimacy  relationships  understanding  efficiency  human  humanconnection  campfire  offhtheshelfsoftware  values  organizations  groups  sharedvalues  culture  failure  innovation  cv  risktaking  risk  freelancing  motivation  danielpink  meaning  autonomy  drive  missionstatement  vision 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero — Text Playlist
"I do a bit of that myself, but I keep what I perceive to be a more valuable, important morgue file: one made of the best writing on the web I come across. I take this list and revisit and reread it every 4 to 8 weeks. You could almost consider it a playlist of text: it’s very select (I artificially limit it to 10-15 articles), I typically read them all in one sitting, and the order and pacing is very purposeful. Most revolve around what it’s like to be making things in 2010, and a lot of the people that I respect the most have pieces in it. It’s almost a pep talk in text form. I visit it when I’m down, when I’m lazy, when I’m feeling the inertia take over."
frankchimero  textplaylist  via:lukeneff  mustread  toread  writing  lists  motivation  meditation  inspiration  creativity  blogs  blogging  art  sistercorita  vonnegut  merlinmann  mairakalman  robinsloan  thewire  lizdanzico  jonathanharris  rands  kurtvonnegut  coritakent 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Coldbrain. (Stock, flow, generalists and specialists)
"Generalists...produce content that covers range of topics...necessarily scattershot, & people will dip in & out when content matches their own interests. But if you find a generalist whose interests match your own, it’s all gold. That’s rare.

I see good & bad examples of both approaches every day, & I bet you do too.
There’s a 3rd way, & I rather like it. It’s about producing flow relating to a range of your interests, & saving your stock for things you passionately care about...about being consistently interesting, but caring enough about your audience to spend time digging deeper into topics to create last content. It’s about treating your readers as a diverse bunch of broadly educated people, interested in reading intelligent content & commentary.

Gruber, Kottke, Merlin & so many other people that I love all do this. It’s incredibly obvious in hindsight, but until today, I hadn’t quite appreciated the subtle reasons why I like them so much. Something for us to aspire to."
matthewculnane  snarkmarket  stockandflow  robinsloan  generalists  passion  cv  writing  interesting  interestingness  curation  interested  kottke  daringfireball  merlinmann  specialists  specialization  interestedness 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Yes. Another Backup Lecture. | 43 Folders
"The Holy Trinity... Seriously: * If it’s not automated, it’s not a real backup. * If it’s not redundant, it’s not a real backup. * If it’s not regularly rotated off-site, it’s not a real backup."
merlinmann  apple  macosx  mac  osx  howto  diskwarrior  daringfireball  backup  harddrive 
march 2010 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe - "...that kind of a machine..."
"I can’t believe I’ve made it this long without ever hearing this audio, described as Vonnegut’s “first public reading of the classic Breakfast of Champions, three years before it was published, on May 4, 1970 at the 92nd Street Y.” ... When you hear Kurt Vonnegut reading this aloud you appreciate the necessity of science fiction; it’s a way we crazy people have of talking about the world without talking about the world. I didn’t always get that, but now I really think I do."
merlinmann  vonnegut  literature  sciencefiction  scifi  writers  books  kurtvonnegut 
september 2009 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe - Sentencing Review: Deposition of the Captain
"Your honor, at the risk of repeating myself in slightly different words, I do not like that Sam-I-Am. And, no, your honor, I most assuredly do not like his godforsaken green eggs and ham. No, sir. I do not like them at all. And, I do not like that Sam-I-Am."
merlinmann  humor  drseuss  greeneggsandham  books 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Fake Rocks, Salami Commanders, and Just Enough to Start | 43 Folders
"*Fear of Apathy. “I can’t start this until I’m positive the work will never become dull or difficult.” *Fear of Ambiguity. “I can’t start this until I know exactly how it will turn out (as well as the precise method by which I’ll do it).” *Fear of Disconnection. “I can’t start this until I’m totally up-to-date and current on everything.” *Fear of Imperfection. “I can’t start this until I know the end product will be flawless.” *Fear of Incompletion. “I can’t start this until I’m already done with it.” *Fear of Isolation. “I can’t start this until I know making it will never be lonely.” *Fear of Sucking. “I can’t start this until I’m already awesome at it (and know that even horrible people whom I dislike will hail me as a genius).” *Fear of Fear itself. “I can’t start this until I’m guaranteed that making it will never be scary.”"
art  creativity  procrastination  fear  productivity  merlinmann  inspiration  motivation  excusemaking  excuses  process  work  writing  humor  gtd  making  doing  glvo  barriers  failure  starting  learning  tcsnmy  diggingin  cv  iteration 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Kutiman, Big Media, and the Future of Creative Entrepreneurship | 43 Folders
"Unsolicited tip for media company c-levels: if your reaction to this crate of magic is “Hm. I wonder how we’d go about suing someone who ‘did this’ with our IP?” instead of, “Holy crap, clearly, this is the freaking future of entertainment,” it’s probably time to put some ramen on your Visa and start making stuff up for your LinkedIn page.

Because, this is what your new Elvis looks like, gang. And, eventually somebody will figure out (and publicly admit) that Kutiman, and any number of his peers on the “To-Sue” list, should be passed from Legal down to A&R."
43folders  merlinmann  creativity  music  media  entertainment  ip  innovation  intellectualproperty  newmedia  youtube  video  online  future  kutiman 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Real Advice Hurts | 43 Folders
"We can’t get good at something solely by reading about it. And we’ll never make giant leaps in any endeavor by treating it like a snack food that we munch on whenever we’re getting bored. You get good at something by doing it repeatedly. And by listening to specific criticism from people who are already good at what you do. And by a dedication to getting better, even when it’s inconvenient and may not involve a handy bulleted list."
practice  learning  doing  tips  competency  43folders  merlinmann  life  advice  criticism 
december 2008 by robertogreco
The Wire: Writing Into Your Arc | 43 Folders
"In sum, The Wire pays back the attention you invest in it like few pieces of art created in my lifetime. It’s vicious about telling every letter of the story with muscular precision — even when it chooses to do so at pace many would consider pointlessly deliberate: “dull.” And, because the story rarely stops to explain what’s happening for the folks who just wandered in from the first segment of Family Feud, it demands that you bring the same care and thought to watching the show that its creators brought to making it. Thinking, on both ends of the art. That is engagement. Like great literature, yes, you can return and enjoy this series on many levels and based on whatever you have to bring to it at a given time. It’s not only smarter than anything else that I’ve seen on TV, it’s also smarter than I am. Which I love."
43folders  merlinmann  thewire  storytelling  television  tv  culture  writing  blogging  hbo  screenwriting  creativity  advice 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Some recent Merlin Mann goodness
"Merlin Mann has been on a tear lately. He's been rethinking what he wants to do with 43 Folders -- a site he started four years ago to think in public about Getting Things Done (and other stuff) -- which rethinking has resulted in a bunch of good writing on weblogs, creative work, and online media. Some links and excerpts follow."

From Merlin Mann:

"What makes you feel less bored soon makes you into an addict. What makes you feel less vulnerable can easily turn you into a dick. And the things that are meant to make you feel more connected today often turn out to be insubstantial time sinks - empty, programmatic encouragements to groom and refine your personality while sitting alone at a screen.

Don't get me wrong. Gumming the edges of popular culture and occasionally rolling the results into a wicked spitball has a noble tradition that includes the best work of of Voltaire, Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, and a handful of people I count as good friends and brilliant editors. There's nothing wrong with fucking shit up every single day. But you have to bring some art to it. Not just typing.

What worries me are the consequences of a diet comprised mostly of fake-connectedness, makebelieve insight, and unedited first drafts of everything. I think it's making us small. I know that whenever I become aware of it, I realize how small it can make me. So, I've come to despise it."
kottke  merlinmann  gtd  change  writing  blogs  creativity  organization  time  attention  passion  meaning  boredome  purpose 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Social Networks: The Case for a "Pause" Button | 43 Folders
"You can pause your newspaper delivery, and the newspaper never complains. Unfortunately most people online haven’t figured out that they’re just another publisher in a crowded space. Which is kind of a shame, because I think accepting that mantle of “publisher” might improve many peoples’ contributions as well as add a useful layer or two to their epidermis."
friending  jaiku  merlinmann  facebook  socialnetworking  microblogging  43folders  socialnetworks  interaction  twitter  attention  friendfeed  infooverload  feeds  flow  news  rss 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Twitter / Merlin Mann: Some days, the web feels li...
"Some days, the web feels like 5 people trying to make something; 5k people turning it into a list; and 500MM people saying, "FAIL.""
via:kottke  twitter  creativity  motivation  merlinmann  internet  web  online  fail  behavior 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Cool Tool: It's All Too Much: How to declutter your life by Peter Walsh
"For a world of expanding stuff, this book is the necessary anti-stuff tool. If you are reading Cool Tools, you need to read this. It will help you distinguish between that which is fabulous for you personally and that which is just more junk to organize.
books  simplicity  organization  life  clutter  efficiency  kevinkelly  merlinmann 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Inbox Zero
"Merlin Mann, a well known productivity guru and creator of the popular 43 folders website ... all » will talk about Getting Things Done, the importance of getting your inbox to zero, and strategies for dealing with high volume email."
email  google  gtd  lifehacks  productivity  merlinmann  video  talks 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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