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.



#471: One-Drawer Project

March 31, 2020 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 6 minutes

In this very intimate episode, Dan and Merlin share some ideas for positive yet do-able projects to improve your life and world in these dumb, scary times.

Also, covered in this episode: recommendations for Max Richter's Sleep and an insane new podcast production app called "Descript".


#470: Battery Car Man

March 24, 2020 at 5:30PM • 57 minutes

Difficult times and the Venn overlap between anxiety and OCD. Hang in there, everybody.


#469: Israel, Jr.

March 17, 2020 at 2:15PM • 1 hour 18 minutes

DISCUSSED: “CATS — Now and Forever!”; BokBok.wtf; on civic responsibility; Dan browses worms, and Merlin finds him a spider; Dan wants some keyboard advice, and Merlin just needs a ride; some thoughts on engaging versus escaping right now; praise for Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo; suggestions for leveraging the wonder of libraries today; Dan is working on a big Minecraft project, also some listener letters.


#468: Cancellation Christmas

March 9, 2020 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

DISCUSSED: heck, yeah, there's a lot of uncertainty; the woeful knock-on effects of COVID-19, from SxSW to presidential handshaking; Dan graciously accepts Merlin's apology; it's so important that you not touch the fish's face; Dan's Podcast Method is back, baby; you can tell an ecosystem is healthy when the advice about it diversifies; Dan explains the Kelvin Timeline and why he hates it; a Celebration of Bones emerges; Merlin is intrigued by Otter and a little unsure about Jumbo; Dan wants you to know it's still him; breaking handshake news; the boys get a nice letter from a listener; Merlin kinda busts a gut about where his head was at when Back to Work launched; audio is afoot; recommended starter episodes are offered; and, finally, praise for Lost and Japanese Queer Eye.


#467: I Loved My Garden

March 3, 2020 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 15 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin's uvula thing is back; some handy one-liner suggestions; the boys are loving uBar, and this leads to a dive on how they use the macOS Dock; praise for Witch; Ultraman is back, baby!; 500,000° is very, very hot; some nebulous, initial thoughts about a bracing call to focus on doing the work (and not how it looks to others when you're doing the work); a listener letter on alternatives for music hosting and streaming in the Apple ecosystem; wow, hard drives sure got super-cheap, huh?; nostalgia for those awesome old Jasmine BacPac hard drives; and, finally, a listener needs your help finding good episodes about surviving and thriving while working in a corporate environment.


#466: The Maturation of Pillow Forts

February 25, 2020 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 18 minutes

DISCUSSED: Skype steals focus, and Merlin ate your poem; music is pretty great; some odds and sods and recommendations; everyone should have a bell; learning to trust your system (and yourself); listener mailbag; Dan loves his new backpack; more on bulwarks against madness.


#465: That 20-Minute Sting

February 18, 2020 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 25 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin isn't quite awake yet and has some audio struggles in the midst of a new project; Dan is bringing back The Podcast Method; committing something to media can still be very special; podcasts are cool, and you should make one; praise for Temple Grandin, a Jason Snell video, and a big upgrade over the stock Home app for iOS; solid syncing has raised a lot of boats; updates on the iOS text editor landscape; and, finally, thoughts on the future of sustainable iOS app development.


#464: Winter's Not Done with Me Yet

February 11, 2020 at 12:45PM • 1 hour 35 minutes

DISCUSSED: new muting!; infrastructure is hard; on dogs; Dan gets a podcast recommendation from his fish guy; who we're 'shipping on Star Trek; a free musical performance for a beloved sponsor; some good TED talks; do we like ligatures in monospace fonts?; Dan is getting restarted with OmniFocus, and Merlin has many, many thoughts and suggestions; finally, your hosts conclude by communicating The Pig Joke. Classic.


#463: Begloved in Otherness

February 4, 2020 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 4 minutes

DISCUSSED: thoughts on hand-washing and habit-building; Dan has a really good scarecrow joke; Merlin still can't figure out how many 12-year-olds Dan owns; Dan has a question about laptops and backpacks; the Tao of Backpacks; how to listen to a podcast; Dan has a question about iPhone cases; what we talk about when we talk about ad blocking; Merlin recommends a TED talk and a podcast about delight; Dan's new Picard podcast is going well; Dan has questions about OmniFocus; finally, Dan has questions about Los Angeles and, then, repeatedly ruins Merlin's very good endings.


#462: A Contract About Your Future

January 28, 2020 at 12:45PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

Merlin is pretty out of it this week, and Dan shares some listener questions.