Back to Work

Back to Work

United States

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 & Dan Benjamin.

Episodes

337: Cognitive Bottleneck  

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  

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  

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  

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  

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  

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  

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?"

330: Frowny Face for You  

TOPIC: Drawing effective water. In this week's tight and bright episode, Dan and Merlin do dome followup on food bars and CBD oil, then discuss how to get better at letting people just enjoy what they like. In this week's main topic, your hosts address how to think more productively (and more realistically) about what you need from a task management app.

329: Stop all the OTUS  

TOPIC: Thirty cable boxes. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about beloved late night talk shows, Planet of the Apes, and the future of TV. Dan introduces his new thought technology about "Protoforms." Your hosts also respond to listener questions about using Chromecasts and how to start the day.

328: Donkey in a Biscuit  

TOPIC: Asterisks and Question Marks. This week, Dan and Merlin cover corgis (and other pets), asking for lettuce wraps, high-floor sandwiches, bread in a tube, John Wick (no spoilers), and the wonderful comic infographics of Kate Willaert. There is some ecosystem talk regarding ride sharing statistics and Apple's announced addition of podcast listening analytics. How many bits of identifying information are you sending? Your hosts answer Listener Tim's question about when to accept that you can't do everything and should just let go of old project ideas.

327: Slightly Semitic Bird  

TOPIC: She was only 15 years old! This week kicks off with some thoughts on yesterday's WWDC Keynote and some potentially promising signs for Apple's future. Dan declares YouTube videos from The Trip to be the greatest thing Merlin has ever shown him, and he is correct. Merlin is infatuated with Nebo. Then, the boys answer listener questions about calendars, GTD and Buddhism, and how to choose a browser.

326: The Ronald McDonald of Feeds  

TOPIC: "The results have been increbidle." This week, Dan and Merlin opine about various Apple feelings and wondering where the heck things are going. Merlin is sanguine. Merlin is mad at KFC, and Dan reminds us how great 1974 was for movies. Finally, your hosts respond to listener feedback.

325: The Real Celebrity Chefs of the Hollywood Hills  

TOPIC: Again with the motivation. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what motivates the companies who make set-top boxes vs. the providers of the content for those dinguses. What attracts fans to a given platform, and why are we getting so resistant to straight-up buying movies and TV shows? ("I learned it by watching you!") In listener feedback, your hosts examine whether and how various apps and services can be deployed in the service of building better habits.

324: Delivery Status Not Updated  

TOPIC: Odds 'N Sods In this sprawling "odds 'n sods" episode, Dan and Merlin discuss: superheroes, scary movie trailers, (yes, more) egregious package delivery drama, customer service Buddhism, some excellent kids books, updates on the pretty good Hulu Live TV service, commercials for prescription drugs, politics and blood pressure, the joys of Nuzzel.com, auditing your online authorizations, why Meh.com are jackals, spray-on hair, delivery tracking services, and, yes, some deep updates on emails pitching visits from guests.

323: A Horse Named Chili  

TOPIC: Lady in a tube. This week, Dan and Merlin unexpectedly end up doing a pretty deep dive on Amazon voice products and the evolving ecosystem around them. Which is way more interesting than it sounds. Deep dive.

322: The Passive Voice of Water  

TOPIC: Curiosity before fear. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the experience of Apple stores and repairs, The Handmaid's Tale, Dan's invertebrate-sensing skills, and some follow-up on "look left, go left." Listener Molly asks about how to become a morning person, and Listener Lance wants help with the anxiety of moving someplace new.

321: Need Some Velocity  

TOPIC: Velocity! This week Dan and Merlin talk about lice, Kenny Rogers, strange memory phenomena, an intriguing new oil, and popcorn nugs pricing. A question from Listener Ben leads to suggestions for finding velocity.

320: Log Cabin Portal  

TOPIC: Triangles Everywhere! This week, Dan and Merlin shuck and/or jive about stealing, Publix, airlines, driver’s ed, douchebagerié, Twitter bots, and more. Main topic this week is a question from Listener Brian about project management. Merlin expounds at length at this dark art and what it can teach us about life.

319: Contract with the Universe  

TOPIC: Oh my GOD, this is torture. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about—amongst other odds and sods— the Mean FedEx Guy, the weird future of gig economies, and Adventure Time. Then, there's some handy tips on how to leverage iOS Accessibility settings for a better and more efficient experience on your device. Listener Michelle writes in to ask about dealing with colleagues who use the hallway as an ad hoc one-on-one meeting. What strategies can we employ to be civil and collegial about careless interruptions without lowering our standards or losing our minds?

318: Emotional Goggles  

After some brief shucky-jivey, the boys resign themselves to discussing the big Apple announcement. They ponder why and how the message was delivered in the way it was as well as what it means. Dan has thoughts on modularization and Merlin reveals a new unified field theory. Then, yay, lots more responses to excellent questions from listeners.

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