Back to Work

Back to Work

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

Hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.



#340: It's-a Me, Dan!

September 5, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

This week, Dan has useful updates on Windows backup options and answers questions about building a Hackintosh. Both of your hosts extoll the virtues of their new Apple TV remote case dinguses.

The big topic this week is Nintendo Switch, and Dan has a lot of great stuff to share about his family's first weekend with their new console. (Spoiler: everybody likes it!)

Your hosts respond to listener questions about iOS wishlist items and how to freshen up a moribund OmniFocus setup.


#339: True Love Weighs

August 29, 2017 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

TOPIC: Don't provoke Dan.

This week, Dan and Merlin (once again) complain about what works and what just kiiiinda works with smart devices. Who's winning the voice control game, and who's struggling to play catchup? Ecosystems!

Next up, the boys talk about some surprisingly handy and useful cases for that befuddling Apple TV remote. Also, Dan needs your help to back up Cash's Windows box. Merlin has an important request, too.

Also provided are scientific updates on how much a scale weighs.

Finally, Merlin offers a whole goddamned book's worth of awesome productivity advice via a cheap notebook and five (5) daily bullet points.


#338: Ambush Site

August 22, 2017 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

TOPIC: It's like elevator buttons.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk a lot about komodo dragons. Also, homework sucks, seed codes rule, and @Movesapp drools.

How do we get so scared about things? How cool did flying used to be?

Your hosts respond to listener questions about the state of self-tracking, and the scourge of extraneous device notifications.


#337: Cognitive Bottleneck

August 18, 2017 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

TOPIC: How do you know when you're legitimately overwhelmed?

This episode, your hosts catch up on Florida, schedule and sleep consistency, ladders vs. walls, travel mania, and the fraught landscape of personal device security.

Your hosts respond to listener feedback and questions regarding feeling overwhelmed and dealing with dumb clocks.


#336: Town Centre Plaza Spot

August 18, 2017 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 5 minutes

TOPIC: Keep your hand away from the giant's mouth!

This week, Dan and Merlin look back on summer and forward to the new school year. Also, some excellent ad hoc Business Analysis about the past and future of malls and other retail outposts.

Your hosts respond to listener feedback and questions regarding domain name speculation and options for tracking multiple currencies


#335: Personal Assistant to Darius

August 1, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

TOPIC: Start treating yourself like a dummy today.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about iOS 11, the trade-offs of running betas, and waking up to how we're using devices differently. Merlin has thoughts on the usefulness of the will to live.

Dan has a new approach to dealing with PR pitches, and the boys undertake an exciting new social experiment.

Your hosts answer listener questions about the mechanics of calendar scheduling and best practices for building new habits.


#334: The Little White One

July 25, 2017 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 15 minutes

TOPIC: Mapping Your Focus and Motivation

This week, Dan talks about a cool new addition to his Fireside.fm service, and Merlin interviews him about how he likes to choose, plan, and evolve the features of an app.

Two questions this week, both from Listener Jonathan.

First, your hosts address the era of Peak TV, including how they choose their TV services and how they recommend narrowing in on finding the best stuff to watch (and when).

Next, the evergreen topic of calendars and todos returns. How do you decide what goes where? And how do combine focus and motivation to derive a functional map of your time terrain?

Dan considers acquiring a house mammal.


#333: Your Whiteboards Will Not Survive Reality

July 18, 2017 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 20 minutes

TOPIC: Help! My bosses are doing a really dumb thing!

This week, Dan and Merlin help a listener and his youngster get started with Spider-Man. Also, hey, support your Local Comic Shop!

Listener Molly asks how to help prevent a terrible, damaging change from happening inside her company.

Dan talks about War for the Planet of the Apes, and Merlin knows when to exit on a good bit.


#332: Piggybacking on Anger

July 11, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 40 minutes

TOPIC: Making the spice flow.

This week, Dan and Merlin dive into the thriving ecosystem of Florida's ad hoc roofing and lawn care professionals. Merlin gets The Boeing Contract, and Dan leaves a check under the mat.

Your hosts admit they don't really understand the big kerfuffle over 1Password, but they admit to feeling the pain of being an indie developer today. Dan just wants the beef ribs he'd been promised.

Around 1:19:30, the spoiler horn fires off for a squee-filled celebration of Spider-Man: Homecoming. (Seriously. Just go see this movie.)


#331: Hidden in Wigs

July 7, 2017 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 31 minutes

TOPIC: Time Tetris in Difficult Mode

This week, Dan and Merlin do a VERY deep dive on one listener's question about life with an excruciating shared Google Calendar. Merlin, unsurprisingly, has a lot to say about this. No. Like, really. A lot a lot.

Other topics include Food Lion bleach meat, God's only sandwich, Adventure Time Mashup Pack (Finally!), Agape love, and, importantly, "What’s Happening To Sleep Train?"