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.



#303: A Liver Runs Through It

December 20, 2016 at 3:15PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

TOPIC: Is Tim firing us?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the challenge of dealing with email that's only kind of from a real person. There's some follow-up on Apple and wishing they'd just give us a "Get out of here!"

Merlin recommends some podcasts and a terrific new clipboard manager from Tapbots.

Dan talks about why he finally gave in and treated his eyes to a bigger phone. Just don't get him started on progressive lenses.


#302: Rabbi for the Rabbi

December 13, 2016 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 15 minutes

This week, the boys talk about slicing sand, unboxing videos, Overwatch, and some recommended TV viewing. Odds and sods, as you say.

Main topic is follow-up re: listener feedback on recent Apple conversations.


#301: Not on My Timeline

December 6, 2016 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 41 minutes

TOPIC: Vaio Life!

This week, Dan and Merlin respond to listener feedback and talk about the tightrope walk of caffeine consumption.

Merlin suggests a new AudioDharma talk, which leads to a discussion of whether you have to be an X to learn about Y. Spoiler Alert: you don't.

Dan updates us on his son's hot new gaming PC, and your hosts can't stop themselves from ruminating (again, again) on why Apple's hardware choices feel be so frustrating…and disappointing.


#300: A Room Where I Don’t Matter

December 1, 2016 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 51 minutes

TOPIC: Kipple and Boomboxes

This week Dan and Merlin start by talking about purging junk and answering listener feedback about kids and phones and teachers dealing with email.

Main topic this week is whither Apple? Based on how the company is evolving, who do we think their future products will be for?


#299: Unhook from the Comparison

November 22, 2016 at 6:45PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

TOPIC: Your "backstage" vs. their "onstage"

This week, Merlin shares some useful thoughts (via Patrick Rothfuss) on being careful about how we compare ourselves to others.

The hosts also share some terrific listener suggestions for fantasy books for kids.

Also, Dan has strong feelings about poultry.


#298: Night Boot for Big Beef

November 15, 2016 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 25 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin do another of their beloved Odds 'n Sods episodes, with tons of great recommendations for movies, TV, apps, services, and nighttime medical appliances.


#297: It Takes Craftspersonship

November 11, 2016 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 28 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin are a little out of sorts, so, after some chat and followup, they talk about some of the things that make them happy. Plus, awesome Mac key commands.


#296: Surely You Can't be Sirius

November 1, 2016 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 43 minutes

TOPIC: Leaving Dropbox Vegas

Merlin survives a sleepover, and Dan has a concern about Dropbox.


#295: I’m Not Talkin’ for Clapping

October 25, 2016 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

  • Dan's still a little under the weather
  • What home automation is good at right now (and what it mostly isn't)
  • Updates on Hiya and call-blocking apps not working so much
  • Merlin is getting pretty good at making Trump hands
  • Hey! Follow-up and listener questions!
  • Listener Greg wisely reframes the communication problem
  • If you want to help people: offer something specific
  • John Siracusa just wants toast in a reasonable amount of time
  • Listener Johnathan has trouble getting timely responses from his busy manager
    • Tip: It pays to ask around and maybe escalate
  • Everybody feels vulnerable about something
  • Listener Brian doesn't want to pester people about his side project
    • Tip: Scale up and act like a magazine editor
  • Ooooo…The Monty Hall Problem!
  • Listener Matt needs tips on being a new dad
    • Tip: You're not as bad at this as you think (or fear)


#294: Sufficiently Advanced Friendship

October 18, 2016 at 5:30PM • 1 hour 48 minutes

TOPIC: How to pester people responsibly.

  • Dan's a little under the weather.
  • Maybe kids should be in balls. Who knows?
  • "Wrap a hot towel around your head."
  • Westworld. It's definitely a thing.
  • Follow-up…
  • TaskPaper 3.5 is awesome.
  • Yes. There are good board games. Sorry about that.
  • How Merlin made Candyland more interesting. But only a little.
  • Followup on smoke detectors. What a mess!
  • More advice on covering up dumb LED lights.
  • Merlin has an amazing rice cooker.
  • Harry Potter talk. Movies we like, etc.
  • Cool new Harry Potter prints.
  • MAIN TOPIC: How to pester people responsibly.
  • Trouble getting a response: what's the real problem here?
  • Merlin learned a lot from being an unsuccessful project manager.
  • If your results are at odds with your expectations? Something isn't working.
  • Dan talks about his new interest in informal journaling.
  • Writing is a 3D printer for your thoughts.