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.



#62: Cultural Molasses

April 9, 2012 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 2 minutes

TOPIC: Karmasucks, No-Sayers, and Black and White Thinking

Dan and Merlin consider the karmasucks and black and white thinking that lead to inertia and a culture of derision.

Anyone can laugh at an agenda, and it only takes one turd in the punchbowl to ruin the party, so don't ask permission, ask yes or no questions, and keep your judge behind your explorer.


#61: I Handed Him My Luke

April 2, 2012 at 4:15PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

Dan and Merlin talk about Dancing Han Solo, going to college in Florida, and developing smarter patterns for Getting Things Diaried.

Whether you're calling collect, person-to-person, or station-to-station, it's time to get serious, get realistic, and just get it on the calendar.

Send the invite, work those Telephone Thursdays, and make that call E6W ("Every 6 Weeks"). Pick the system that supports your intentions. Then use it.


#60: Living Inside an Unfinished Thing

March 26, 2012 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

Dan and Merlin consider how to rethink your work as a platform. It's not just a job, or just a career, or (God forbid) just a brand--it's about deciding when you need to take your time and attention pro.

How the stuff you've made and done can be leveraged into the next things you'd like to make and do; how to find the orthogonal angles and unexpected branches; how to learn what you need to learn; and how to take your work so seriously that you'll dare a quick dip in the douche pool.


#59: Brains All the Way Down

March 19, 2012 at 5:45PM • 2 hours 1 minute

This week, Dan and Merlin tackle the problem of changing cultures at work. It's not a snapshot, it's not a kitchen table, and it may actually have surprisingly little to do with you.

Which is complicated.


#58: Girl with the QR Tattoo

March 12, 2012 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 12 minutes

TOPIC: Changing Inputs

Dan turns Merlin's technical difficulties into a discussion of discovering and paying attention to things that have a high ROI.

It's not about who you think you are, or the latest and loudest thing. You'll miss something even if you follow 1000 blogs, so remember who you really are.

La pregunta: ¿Que hacer?


#57: Start with Anger, End with a Sign

March 5, 2012 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 33 minutes

Merlin and Dan talk about successful lawn care secrets and getting angry over dog poop, paper towels, duck crossings, and the Dark Side.

No one ever saw the error of their ways because they saw a note from Management. Instead of counting piles and grabbing coals, maybe act a little more like Mr. Rogers.


#56: One Giant Beholder Dinosaur

February 28, 2012 at 4:45PM • 1 hour 27 minutes

Merlin and Dan talk about your attachment to old coffee cups, Captain America glasses, and Grandma's underwear cabinet—all the physical (and emotional) clutter that keeps you from making the things you love and having the life you want. The Kipple.

See: it's not a red snapper problem, it's an emotional problem. So, quit being scared of your fridge, or your inbox, or your todo list. Just suck it up, buy some contractor bags, and never organize another thing that's not worth keeping.


#55: The Pickles Never Touch

February 21, 2012 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 47 minutes

This week Dan and Merlin ponder why there's so much variability in the quality of our work. 

Whether we're making code, scrubbing toilets, or stinking up the Arby's, what explains our individual drive to do something better?


#54: Freemium Mason

February 16, 2012 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 35 minutes

Merlin and Dan talk about returning to paleo, the nature of wieners and discouragement, crown vic habits and anxiety addiction.

You won't beat it without a cocktail of grit and care with just the right amount of sacrifice.


#53: The Wages of Security

February 7, 2012 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 55 minutes

In the most average episode ever, Merlin and Dan talk physical and digital work environments so you can get going in the right direction and don't have to spend all day on it.

And, when do you know you don't want 10 times more of something and what do you do about it? There's no guarantee of security, even if you show up sober, so start acting like an entrepreneur and choose what you want 10 times more of.