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.


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#141: Counterclockwise. Like a Gentleman.

October 15, 2013 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

TOPIC: Learning the Wheres and Whens of Productivity

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about learning from how you work to improve your basic productivity infrastructure, with specific attention to using Perspectives in OmniFocus.

Whether it's consolidating shopping lists, eliminating task rot, or leveraging geolocation, there are innumerable tricks for lightly tweaking a system in powerful, non-fiddly ways.

Also: learn Dan's Unified Field Theory of Grocery Shopping.


#140: Silicon Circus

October 8, 2013 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

TOPIC: Special Guest, Matt Alexander

This week, Merlin is joined by Bionic co-host, Matt Alexander. They discuss ““technology ecosystems,”” life as a self-described trans-atlantic, tech scenes that thrive and don't, dating someone from Florida (and her Mum), and getting back into Marvel comics.

Special guest Matt Alexander.


#139: Tap Your Meat Stack

October 1, 2013 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 25 minutes

TOPIC: Grab Bag, plus Tasks vs. Calendar Items

This week Dan and Merlin administer an epic grab bag episode, chockablock with new app, book, podcast, and music suggestions.

Also, a return to the evergreen topic of where stuff goes. How to decide whether a given thing goes on a calendar, a todo list, reference files, or an alarm. Great ninja stuff.


#138: Mindfulness...Whether I Want It or Not

September 24, 2013 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

TOPIC: Informal Background Self-Quantization

This week Dan & Merlin discuss the merits of self-quantization. Which is fancy way of saying, "Merlin got a new Fitbit."

Why is anecdotal self-reporting a sucker's bet? What are the benefits of making your life a little video game? And, why is Merlin's scale accessing APIs via the internet?


#137: Alice Two Arrows Bob

September 17, 2013 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

TOPIC: Etiquette, Intros, and Endorsements

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the surprisingly complicated topic of email introductions.

Who emails whom? Who gets cc'd and for how long? How much homework are we making (or accepting)? And, thorniest of all, how do you ““introduce”” someone you'd reeeeeeally rather not introduce?


#136: Scared of Your Own Life

September 11, 2013 at 1:15PM • 58 minutes

TOPIC: Fear of Your Own TODO List

This week, Dan and Merlin cover a topic suggested by listener, @jeff_nordstedt: not wanting to look at your todo list.

From capture to completion, there are a million ways to fall off the path. The boys take a deep dive on what those ways might be as well as how to get yourself straightened out and, as you say, back to work.

Honestly. It's why people hate TODO lists. Well. That and the odor.


#135: There's No "I" in Success

September 3, 2013 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 20 minutes

TOPIC: Joss Whedon GTD; Meeting Redux

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about getting specific with your productivity and why every meeting needs an agenda.

Now, take a drink.


#134: A Boss You Don't Even Know About

August 26, 2013 at 8:30PM • 1 hour 29 minutes

TOPIC: Talk Shows, Baseball, and Inboxes.

This week, Dan and Merlin cover a range of topics related to expertise, experience, professional repetition, and management, culminating in a tour of Merlin's current email filtering strategy.


#133: I'm Glad Your Computer Died

August 20, 2013 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

TOPIC: How many keys do you really need?

This week, Dan and Merlin return to the question, "What do you want ten times more of?" and weigh the risks and benefits of increasing the amount of complexity in your life.


#132: C+ Objective Stack

August 13, 2013 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 14 minutes

TOPIC: Fraud vs. Failure

This week, Dan and Merlin dive into what makes us feel like frauds and what makes us feel like failures.