637 episodes

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

Back to Work 5by5

    • Technology
    • 4.7 • 2K Ratings

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

    Episode 638: A New Kind of Bullet

    Episode 638: A New Kind of Bullet

    A classic odds n' sods episode.
    Links:
    Paterson Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Adam Driver Movie - YouTubeWilliam Carlos Williams - Wikipedia"Paterson" by William Carlos WilliamsNTFS for Mac on Setapp | Read/write support for NTFS on MacRename files, folders, and disks on Mac - Apple SupportTailscale · Best VPN Service for Secure NetworksRuby on Mac: Get Ruby working on your Mac in minutes with a single command. — With Ruby on Mac: Run a single command and you'll be up and running in 15 minutes or less.

    • 2 hr 14 min
    Episode 637: The Minimally Viable Log Cabin Channel

    Episode 637: The Minimally Viable Log Cabin Channel

    Merlin conducts a deep dive on being busy versus being time-constrained, and Dan has some updates on his task management odyssey.


    Links:
    wisdom/wisdom.md at master · merlinmann/wisdom · GitHub — "It's only advice for you because it HAD to be advice for me."Automation Academy: Introducing ThingsBox, an All-In-One Shortcuts Capture System for the Things Inbox - MacStoriesHowler Bros | Official online store – HOWLER BROTHERSextratone/siri: complete list of siri voice commandsOn Not Writing About New College - ungainly — "New College finds smart dingalings and helps them learn how to learn."Life Lessons From Bokonon: Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” | bound2books

    • 1 hr 35 min
    Episode 636: Honoring My Pivot Table

    Episode 636: Honoring My Pivot Table

    Dan is navigating the landscape of task management apps, and, shockingly, Merlin has some thoughts.


    Links:
    Paperlike's iPad Screen ProtectorLà-bas (novel) - WikipediaÀ rebours - WikipediaGary Gulman: Born on 3rd Base | Now Streaming | Max — Gary Gulman: Born on 3rd Base. The comedian offers up hilarious insights with a generous helping of his inventive humor and absurdism.Decadent movement - WikipediaFin de siècle - Wikipedia — a French term meaning "end of century,” a phrase which typically encompasses both the meaning of the similar English idiom "turn of the century" and also makes reference to the closing of one era and onset of another. The Ramones - "End of the Century"

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Episode 635: Buffet de Canard

    Episode 635: Buffet de Canard

    Dan and Merlin kick off the new year with a wide-ranging look at how tools and motivations evolve with how we work.


    Links:
    The Cornell Note Taking System – Learning Strategies CenterUnderstanding Paper Tooth - What to Look for in an Artist Charcoal Pap – Nitram Art Inc.Richard Artschwager: The artist who doesn't fit any category | Documentary "Shut up and Look" - YouTubeAmazon.com: Paperlike 2.1 (2 Pieces) for iPad Pro 12.9" (2020/21/22) - Transparent Screen Protector for Notetaking and Drawing like on Paper : ElectronicsPaperlike's iPad Screen Protector

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Episode 634: Nominally Future-Resistant

    Episode 634: Nominally Future-Resistant

    A fairly epic episode covering health tracking and self-quantization.


    Remember: data doesn't have to hurt.
    Links:
    calibre - E-book managementBacon Ray - Indie Rock from Tallahassee, Florida — "Bacon Ray is a soon-to-be defunct indie band from Tallahassee, Florida." (August, 1999)Homepage - Quantified SelfApp and Tracker For Better Sleep and Daily Energy | Rise ScienceAthlyticAutoSleep Track Sleep on Watch on the App StoreChronicling – An iOS, iPadOS and watchOS app to track anythingDaytum — Daytum helps you collect, categorize and communicate your everyday data.Five: Our Most Powerful Wireless Hi-Fi Speaker | SonosAmazon.com: tomtoc Portfolio Case for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2022/2021/2020, Protective Sleeve with Accessories Pocket, Carrying Storage Bag for iPad Pencil/Adapter/Hubs/Cables/Magic Keyboard, Fits Surface Pro 12.3 : ElectronicsBeam: The Smart TV Soundbar with HDMI Input | Sonos

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Episode 633: A Self-Aware Old Man

    Episode 633: A Self-Aware Old Man

    Your hosts talk about how we perceive the world and the challenge of mindfully updating our perceptions.
    Links:
    Twinkly

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
2K Ratings

2K Ratings

Daniel Rutherford ,

Updated for 2023!

After taking a break and checking in again, this show has gotten a lot more fun throughout the last year - I really like the energy of Merlin rolling with Dan lately and it feels a little bit like the early days just without the productivity focus.

I’ve gotten some great recommendations from recent episodes and am back to being a fairly regular listener. If you took a break and happen to see this review, I urge you to check it out again - it’s like catching up with old friends after a while.

I don’t know what specifically happened behind the scenes but I feel like both hosts are doing better behind the scenes and it’s really coming through over the mic. Hope you will continue this show for a long while despite the rocky podcast ad industry.

Sherif S. ,

eh

Dan gets to finish maybe 1 in 4 of his sentences.

(I’ve been listening for many many years, I’m not a newcomer who doesn’t know what this podcast is about).

gx4bbx3 ,

It’s been fun, but the AI talk is offputting

Back to Work has always been amusing at the very least and extraordinarily helpful when they do actually talk about productivity and work. And right now it’s a crucial time as the specter of “AI” looms overhead, with people on both sides of the “issue” claiming this and that. I think it’s fine that Merlin (and to a lesser extent Dan) are very interested in these chatbots as they are here to stay and people do need to begin wrestling with them, for better or worse, as it encroaches (forcefully by the hands of mostly corporations and bad actors) into all aspects of our lives. We should be learning how to use this stuff to make our lives and our work easier if we can, and Merlin and Dan tinkering with this stuff can be helpful. But I think Merlin is still too dismissive and lacking empathy for the people who are genuinely losing their jobs already because executives are already rushing ahead to using the chatbots to generate content, even in spite of the clear indications that this stuff isn’t ready for prime time and there are no guardrails or limitations for a lot of this stuff legally. It feels a bit like the biggest proponents are in their own world and fail to acknowledge the damage that this stuff is doing, and merely say that people need to adapt, as if that’s reasonable in all circumstances or easily doable. So hearing about AI chatbots with this almost naive enthusiasm and air of dismissal for its opponents has become tiring as I read about a company laying off dozens and then 2 months later looking for an AI editor to handle 200-250 articles a week. Maybe I’ll be back to see if the approach to this stuff changes, but for now I need to hit pause on any new episodes.

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