Back to Work

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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.

5by5


    • Oct 27, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 1h 25m AVG DURATION
    • 1,011 EPISODES

    Listeners of Back to Work that love the show mention: merlin mann, back to work, merlin's, lizard brain, toasters, 5by5 network, 5 by 5, dan talk, macbreak, time and attention, restroom, gtd, mac power users, aaaa, it's an excellent, normal speed, 5by5 podcasts, existentialism, marlin, need to lie.



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    Latest episodes from Back to Work

    552: Youth is the Anomaly

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 90:27

    Dan has all the waiters singing at him, and Merlin tries to buy the non-existent SIMS 4 for the Mac. Main topic is considering how best to set up a device that provides structure and motivation without all that beeping, beeping, beeping.

    551: Life Is for Using

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 85:48

    DISCUSSED: Your hosts talk about music, Apple Watch, and getting out of your kid's way. Also: life and MacBooks Pro.

    550: Ampersands and Raisins

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 99:53

    DISCUSSED: Dan and his son are up to Daniel Craig in their Bond journey, and this leads to an exploration of how our feelings about movies and their characters can change over time; considering the media you're scared to rewatch since it's probably not as good as you remember; your hosts dive further into browser extensions and why they're so critical to filtering your world. The Leftovers Neil Breen License to Clown

    549: A Typical Feisty Boy Child

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 81:36

    DISCUSSED: Exploring rural voices; the things that kids (and we) have had stolen away over the past couple years; what movie would get your butt back into a cinema seat?; an opinionated dive into Safari's new approach to tabs (and why it feels so concerning); and, finally, Merlin shares a bunch of Safari extensions that do new stuff—or do old stuff in a cool or interesting way.

    548: The Results of This Dog

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 74:26

    DISCUSSED: Merlin considers a black market medical purchase; the anatomical anomalies of the problematic sleeper are considered; some favorite YouTube finds are discussed; and, finally, your hosts begin scratching the surface of iOS 15's many clever and life-enhancing new features.

    547: Backyard Butt Doctor

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 68:47

    547: Backyard Butt Doctor

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 68:47

    546: Snow Day for Nerds

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 56:57

    Reporting live from the show floor and looking at options for time tracking.

    546: Snow Day for Nerds

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 56:57

    Reporting live from the show floor and looking at options for time tracking.

    545: The Cat's Fine

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2021 64:22

    DISCUSSED: The rules of "Rabbit Rabbit"; exploring the magic of Domino's probability-altering powers; forests versus trees and past versus future; Chevy Chase and a familial ninety-ten inversion; and, finally, praise for Lulu Miller's mind-blowing thoughts on the downsides of imposing "order" onto chaos.

    545: The Cat's Fine

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2021 64:22

    DISCUSSED: The rules of "Rabbit Rabbit"; exploring the magic of Domino's probability-altering powers; forests versus trees and past versus future; Chevy Chase and a familial ninety-ten inversion; and, finally, praise for Lulu Miller's mind-blowing thoughts on the downsides of imposing "order" onto chaos.

    543: Clownitentiary

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 71:29

    DISCUSSED: Nicholson movies; Synology yums and yucks; difficulties of shows about music; upcoming rabbit rabbit plans.

    543: Clownitentiary

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 71:29

    DISCUSSED: Nicholson movies; Synology yums and yucks; difficulties of shows about music; upcoming rabbit rabbit plans.

    542: MRSA Mann

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 78:10

    DISCUSSED: Catching up; Merlin's Travel Results; praise for Best in Show, SCTV, and public libraries; Dan has a new computer.

    542: MRSA Mann

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 78:10

    DISCUSSED: Catching up; Merlin's Travel Results; praise for Best in Show, SCTV, and public libraries; Dan has a new computer.

    541: Proprietary Escape Key

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 84:51

    A celebration of M1 devices, the benefits of learning how to learn, and considering when a new learning curve might be worth the climb.

    541: Proprietary Escape Key

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 84:51

    A celebration of M1 devices, the benefits of learning how to learn, and considering when a new learning curve might be worth the climb.

    540: Extreme Medical Sloth

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 69:50

    Find the tool you need—but, keep asking yourself, "Soooooo…now what?"

    540: Extreme Medical Sloth

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 69:50

    Find the tool you need—but, keep asking yourself, "Soooooo…now what?"

    539: Where the Ghosts Live

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2021 79:11

    Things get pretty silly, yet somehow land on some extremely Back to Work points about time management, compression, values, and moving your own goalposts. For some reason, McDonald's becomes an important controlling metaphor.

    539: Where the Ghosts Live

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2021 79:11

    Things get pretty silly, yet somehow land on some extremely Back to Work points about time management, compression, values, and moving your own goalposts. For some reason, McDonald's becomes an important controlling metaphor.

    538: Tossed Salad of Remembrance

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 6, 2021 91:25

    DISCUSSED: Dan begins a journey into new worlds of voice control and home automation.

    538: Tossed Salad of Remembrance

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 6, 2021 91:25

    DISCUSSED: Dan begins a journey into new worlds of voice control and home automation.

    537: Insane Corner of My Own Design

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2021 70:02

    DISCUSSED: Some ups and downs of living the smart speaker lifestyle. Also: the dramatis personae of The Land of Make Believe; feeding the demon dogs; and learning to be careful with the words we put in front of other words.

    537: Insane Corner of My Own Design

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2021 70:02

    DISCUSSED: Some ups and downs of living the smart speaker lifestyle. Also: the dramatis personae of The Land of Make Believe; feeding the demon dogs; and learning to be careful with the words we put in front of other words.

    536: Fonzie Slap

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 80:48

    DISCUSSED: Merlin and his wife realize the moment they crossed a line; in Follow-Up, your hosts celebrate the late great Fred Willard; in further Follow-Up, the state of the union in smart voice devices is considered; and, finally, the long arc of calendar talk starts to wind down with some hard talk on disambiguation and actually really getting real.

    536: Fonzie Slap

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 80:48

    DISCUSSED: Merlin and his wife realize the moment they crossed a line; in Follow-Up, your hosts celebrate the late great Fred Willard; in further Follow-Up, the state of the union in smart voice devices is considered; and, finally, the long arc of calendar talk starts to wind down with some hard talk on disambiguation and actually really getting real.

    535: Long-Term Play Value

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 84:50

    DISCUSSED: Dan finally gets more three-six-five, and Merlin gets extremely deep in the stack. Also, just a little more calendar talk, including a model for deciding where something goes.

    535: Long-Term Play Value

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 84:50

    DISCUSSED: Dan finally gets more three-six-five, and Merlin gets extremely deep in the stack. Also, just a little more calendar talk, including a model for deciding where something goes.

    534: Manga and Others

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021 115:41

    DISCUSSED: Merlin runs into some problems reporting live from the show floor; is social media making us as happy as we'd like to think?; thoughts on pro wrestlers and the films of John Carpenter; finding the triggers for action that you didn't know you needed; recommendations for videos and Firefox extensions; why we use the web browsers that we use; your hosts dive into their favorite announcements coming out of WWDC; how exactly do you decide where something should go?; Dan reveals he has become the third kind of calendar person; exploring the ineffable (but indisputably real) value of finding technologies and experiences that you actually enjoy; and, finally, Merlin shares a novel misunderstanding with a voice dingus.

    534: Manga and Others

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021 115:41

    DISCUSSED: Merlin runs into some problems reporting live from the show floor; is social media making us as happy as we'd like to think?; thoughts on pro wrestlers and the films of John Carpenter; finding the triggers for action that you didn't know you needed; recommendations for videos and Firefox extensions; why we use the web browsers that we use; your hosts dive into their favorite announcements coming out of WWDC; how exactly do you decide where something should go?; Dan reveals he has become the third kind of calendar person; exploring the ineffable (but indisputably real) value of finding technologies and experiences that you actually enjoy; and, finally, Merlin shares a novel misunderstanding with a voice dingus.

    533: A Container for Your Future Plans

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2021 106:00

    DISCUSSED: Part one of a deep dive into calendars.

    533: A Container for Your Future Plans

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2021 106:00

    DISCUSSED: Part one of a deep dive into calendars.

    532: That's Not My Ghost

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 96:41

    DISCUSSED: Merlin is full of beans this week.

    532: That's Not My Ghost

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 96:41

    DISCUSSED: Merlin is full of beans this week.

    531: Where Grog Got Eaten

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 73:42

    DISCUSSED: A classic, old-school “Odds 'n Sods” episode that includes: Apple's audio upgrade announcement; AirTags and the promising future of UWB; lots of thoughts on anxiety; caffeine weaners; tongue-rolling; and a salt and pepper of media recently enjoyed (and now recommended).

    531: Where Grog Got Eaten

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 73:42

    DISCUSSED: A classic, old-school “Odds ’n Sods” episode that includes: Apple’s audio upgrade announcement; AirTags and the promising future of UWB; lots of thoughts on anxiety; caffeine weaners; tongue-rolling; and a salt and pepper of media recently enjoyed (and now recommended).

    530: Nouns in America

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 67:58

    DISCUSSED: Merlin has been cracking nuts, and Dan is enjoying a beverage; in Follow-Up, Dan has made great progress with his new voice assistant; Merlin has thoughts on choosing a dingus ecosystem that's right for you; words mean things, and often you want the right “procedure word”; Merlin has some good Back to Work-adjacent media recommendations; do we really want to rebuild The Embarcadero Freeway? Really?; and, Dan has some new scholarship on the films of Stanley Kubrick.

    530: Nouns in America

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 67:58

    DISCUSSED: Merlin has been cracking nuts, and Dan is enjoying a beverage; in Follow-Up, Dan has made great progress with his new voice assistant; Merlin has thoughts on choosing a dingus ecosystem that’s right for you; words mean things, and often you want the right “procedure word”; Merlin has some good Back to Work-adjacent media recommendations; do we really want to rebuild The Embarcadero Freeway? Really?; and, Dan has some new scholarship on the films of Stanley Kubrick.

    529: Different Flavors of Fear

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 86:24

    DISCUSSED: Dan is actively gaslighting Merlin, and this can be proven; please stop stealing focus; praise for Ferris Bueller in general and the knees of Sloane Peterson in particular; passing thoughts on fear, procrastination, impostor syndrome, and solving the right problem; Merlin is delighted to discover a much-improved Little Snitch; Dan has thoughts on his Ford's weird button; in gadget updates, Dan has found some useful headphones and has thoughts on trying to use his new Google dingus; finally, just in general, try to keep your hands away from the dragon's mouth.

    529: Different Flavors of Fear

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 86:24

    DISCUSSED: Dan is actively gaslighting Merlin, and this can be proven; please stop stealing focus; praise for Ferris Bueller in general and the knees of Sloane Peterson in particular; passing thoughts on fear, procrastination, impostor syndrome, and solving the right problem; Merlin is delighted to discover a much-improved Little Snitch; Dan has thoughts on his Ford’s weird button; in gadget updates, Dan has found some useful headphones and has thoughts on trying to use his new Google dingus; finally, just in general, try to keep your hands away from the dragon’s mouth.

    528: Half a Parachute

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2021 90:52

    Merlin has a whole new setup, and Dan has a whole new TV.

    528: Half a Parachute

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2021 90:52

    Merlin has a whole new setup, and Dan has a whole new TV.

    527: Classic Mentos Situation

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2021 64:12

    DISCUSSED: Merlin is reporting live from the show floor; sleep is complicated; food is complicated, too; Dan tries to build muscles the right way; he also has strong feelings about TV shopping; Merlin just wants someone to tell him which is The Good One.

    527: Classic Mentos Situation

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2021 64:12

    DISCUSSED: Merlin is reporting live from the show floor; sleep is complicated; food is complicated, too; Dan tries to build muscles the right way; he also has strong feelings about TV shopping; Merlin just wants someone to tell him which is The Good One.

    526: Above-Average Practices

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2021 60:33

    DISCUSSED: some important movie follow-up; films (and other media) can be a powerful way to talk about things we aren't supposed to be talking about; Merlin has some links to help think about what comes next as we get back to ““normal""; plus, follow-up on Dan's Kindle journey, including some really useful tips.

    526: Above-Average Practices

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2021 60:33

    DISCUSSED: some important movie follow-up; films (and other media) can be a powerful way to talk about things we aren't supposed to be talking about; Merlin has some links to help think about what comes next as we get back to ““normal""; plus, follow-up on Dan's Kindle journey, including some really useful tips.

    525: The Pollution of Modernity

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2021 90:54

    DISCUSSED: fake southern accents lead to some movie talk; Merlin apologizes; Dan does not want to spend a night in The Box; please utilize the restroom that conforms to the color of your gender; a guardsman pitches Merlin's wife; Merlin goes off on a surprisingly long tangent on kung fu movies--especially the work of The Great Gordon Liu; Dan needs a syllabus to get Cash even more into Godzilla movies; there are some words on DC movies; your hosts begin a dive into the Kindle ecosystem that turns into a dive into ""The Kindle Ecosystem""; Friend-of-the-Show, Moisés, provides some beneficial real-time follow-up regarding the king of monsters; Merlin needs some movie backstory but also wants wants to make it extremely clear that he is very attracted to an English actress.

    525: The Pollution of Modernity

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2021 90:54

    DISCUSSED: fake southern accents lead to some movie talk; Merlin apologizes; Dan does not want to spend a night in The Box; please utilize the restroom that conforms to the color of your gender; a guardsman pitches Merlin's wife; Merlin goes off on a surprisingly long tangent on kung fu movies--especially the work of The Great Gordon Liu; Dan needs a syllabus to get Cash even more into Godzilla movies; there are some words on DC movies; your hosts begin a dive into the Kindle ecosystem that turns into a dive into ""The Kindle Ecosystem""; Friend-of-the-Show, Moisés, provides some beneficial real-time follow-up regarding the king of monsters; Merlin needs some movie backstory but also wants wants to make it extremely clear that he is very attracted to an English actress.

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