Episode 108

What Can I Spray?


February 26th, 2013

1 hr 28 mins 58 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

TOPIC: Shaving a Yak

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about The Hierarchy of Fiddling. When does self-improvement silently shade into navel-gazing, and how do we realize that it's happening?

Some fixes mean applying a fast change that produces outsized results (a true "life hack"). But, most of our more circuitous excursions into the world of ““productivity”” lead straight into a recursive black hole of lost time, sheer frustration, and soul-sucking existential onanism (let's call that one a "life whack").

Learn how to live with your dirty debit card, just satisfice with your dish-washing skills, and quit trying to solve non-problems with non-solutions.

Yes, learn the key commands, but, don't feel like you need to learn all the key commands. Iterate with mindful sanity.

And, like it says on the tin: always focus on how you'll get back to work.

Links for this episode:

  • [SPONSOR] TextExpander: Mac and iOS Typing Shortcut Utility Saves You Time
    Save time and effort with TextExpander! Whether it's a simple email signature or several paragraphs of a standard response, you'll love how easy it is to use TextExpander to avoid typing the same thing over and over.
  • yak shaving - Wiktionary
    (idiomatic) The actually useless activity you do that appears important when you are consciously or unconsciously procrastinating about a larger problem. I thought I'd get more work done if I just fixed a problem with my .emacs file, but then I spent the whole afternoon yak shaving.
  • Yak Shaving
    Stuck in the middle of a stack of stuff you're supposed to do? Sharpen your wool clippers, and stop getting distracted by the pointless activities which surround any serious problem--unless you want to, that is.
  • Shaving the yak. « BRYONY COLE
    Yak-shaving is that time when you set out to do something and end up completely off-track – bogged by little details, that actually seem crucial and dependent on the goal at the time, but later turn out to be irrelevant.
  • bikeshedding - Wiktionary
    bikeshed +? -ing. The word originates in Berkeley Software Distribution culture and implies technical disputes over minor, marginal issues conducted while more serious ones are being overlooked. The implied image is of people arguing over what color to paint the bicycle shed while the house is not finished. The word has its origins in Parkinson’s Law of Triviality. [edit]
  • Squarespace Commerce is Here — The Official Squarespace Blog
    Giving our customers the ability to manage and sell products on their websites has been the most requested Squarespace feature of all time. Thanks to the powerful architecture of Squarespace 6, we've built a truly integrated commerce solution that gives our customers amazing power and flexibility within a single platform.
  • 5by5 | Systematic #33: Merlin Mann - Failing gracefully
    Merlin Mann guests to talk about failure, success and self perception in an organic and enlightening conversation.
  • 5by5 | Back to Work #4: Failing with Style
    Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin talk about trying to change other people, how things really aren’t that bad, balancing fear or being driven by fear, leaving capacity for when you get The Pitch, procrastination (eventually), and giving yourself permission to fail in an interesting way. You’re not gonna get black lung from a spreadsheet.
  • Consilience (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge is a 1998 book by biologist E. O. Wilson. In this book, Wilson discusses methods that have been used to unite the sciences and might in the future unite them with the humanities. Wilson prefers and uses the term consilience to describe the synthesis of knowledge from different specialized fields of human endeavor.
  • Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge: Edward Osborne Wilson: 9780679768678: Amazon.com: Books
    Historically, all of the sciences were once united under the rubric of "natural science." Over time, they became fragmented and specialized. Nevertheless, Wilson argues that there is a genetic and neurological basis for knowledge and that all subjects of human inquiry can be reunited under the umbrella of "consilience."
  • Sugar ant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The sugar ant (Camponotus consobrinus)—also known as the banded sugar ant—is a relatively large ant, identifiable by their orange-brown bodies, black head and mandibles. The sugar ants' name comes from their liking for sugar, but they are attracted to other savory food.
  • Mounds (candy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Mounds is a candy bar made by Hershey's, and is the sister product of Almond Joy. Like Almond Joy, it consists of a coconut based center; however, it is enrobed with dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate and does not contain almonds.
  • World War Hulk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The plot is the culmination of a series of events that began with the Hulk being tricked into space by the Illuminati and a life model decoy of Nick Fury, the Hulk's subsequent exile seen in Planet Hulk and his imminent return to Earth to seek revenge on the Illuminati.
  • Image Comics | Saga #10
    Marko and Alana's long-lost babysitter Izabel finally returns to the fold, but at what cost?
  • Like I say. Help yourself: Three. Hours.... | kung fu grippe
    Like I say. Help yourself:Three. Hours. DUNGEON.http://i-0.us/three-hours-dungeon
  • Jim Eno - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jim Eno (born February 8, 1966 is the drummer and one of the founding members of the Austin, Texas band Spoon. He is also a record producer and a semiconductor chip designer.
  • Arnold Robbins - O'Reilly Media
    Arnold Robbins, an Atlanta native, is a professional programmer and technical author. He has worked with Unix systems since 1980, when he was introduced to a PDP-11 running a version of Sixth Edition Unix. He has been a heavy AWK user since 1987, when he became involved with gawk, the GNU project's version of AWK. As a member of the POSIX 1003.2 balloting group, he helped shape the POSIX standard for AWK. He is currently the maintainer of gawk and its documentation. He is also coauthor of the sixth edition of O'Reilly's Learning the vi Editor. Since late 1997, he and his family have been living happily in Israel.
  • Exchequer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The Exchequer is a government department of the United Kingdom responsible for the management and collection of taxation and other government revenues. The historical Exchequer developed judicial roles. A similar office existed in Ireland during British rule from 1299 to 1877.
  • Merlin’s Awkward Hair Odyssey - a set on Flickr
    One's man's frequently unfortunate journey of discovery.
  • Particoloured - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Particoloured, particolored or parti-color – showing different, often bright, colors or tints.
  • Twitter / hotdogsladies: Cheese Dog Life Hack
    "[LIFE HACK] A chili cheese dog can be very messy to eat with your hands. So, eat it over your french fries and—hey—free chili-cheese fries!"
  • Repulsion (1965) - IMDb
  • Safe (1995) - IMDb

This week's episode for Back to Work is sponsored by Smile's TextExpander.