Personally, I've always had issues with productivity, creativity and focus. In an effort to improve all of those things for myself, I've joined Dan Benjamin on his epic quest to serve as sherpa to Merlin Mann on his personal journey from "internationally renowned productivity guru, published author, public speaker, and industry thought-leader" to "guy who says makes sarcastic comments about comic books and sentimental comments about the experience of raising his young daughter on the internet".
(Seriously though, I love you guys.)
The show is somewhat dense with references to previous material, so I began at Season 1, Episode 1, went through each episode in order; I'm now caught all the way up to real time.
However, many potential listeners are busy people who do not necessarily have the time to go all the way back to the beginning and methodically work through every single episode. For those people, I have composed this helpful guide to many of the key productivity concepts laid out in the progression of the show.
Since this is a ThoughtStream®™ and nothing so pedestrian as a "blog web article", I'll continue to update with additional material as new references develop.
Hopefully after reading this guide you will be able to understand these references and cultural touchstones as well as I can.
The first, most important, and most repeated idea on the show - if you take only one thing away from this summary, it should be this - is that you absolutely need a distraction free writing environment; possibly two. For some people, as many as five or six.
It is not possible to live a meaningful or fulfilling life without a distraction-free writing environment.
Go ahead, caller.
Hi there. Long time, uh, ahem, long time, (cough) long time (listener?).
First time [indistinct].
Here's the thing, Dan.
You should really cut all this out.
Do you think this is what people tune in for?
Let me check.
Is this ping-pong? I don't want to work ping-pong.
We'll talk about it on the After Dark.
Merlin Mann is extremely, extremely old.
It's your show.
Do you think we should button this up?
Don't worry, we'll cut all this out.
Should we get started? Should we start the show?
That's fine for Merlin.
Look at me, I'm Merlin Mann, I live in San Francisco and do things which are both stereotypically associated with San Francisco the city and also the personal habits of the obscenely rich.
Time and attention. Time and attention and care. Care and time and attention. Care and attention and time and care and attention and time and care. And attention.
(Sound of shuffling index cards.)
Getting Things Done is trademark DavidCo 2001.
Look at me, I'm Dan Benjamin, I'm a Buddhist who reads Wikipedia pages about Buddhism.
TextMate TextMate TextMate.
I don't want to get too fiddly.
(30 minutes of extremely fiddly stuff.)
Merlin Mann is old.
I love you, Dan Benjamin.
I love you too, Merlin Mann.
My sister in law, who broke my glasses one time (not that I'm mad)...
It'll be in the show notes.
You should get a flu shot, since it can both cure and prevent all diseases.
Did you watch The Film again?
Do you remember when I used to be Merlin Mann?
Yes! You used to talk into your shoe…