I want to do a lot of things and naturally I want to do each and every one of them exceedingly well. I know that with a little hard work, I can achieve something that resembles across-the-board precision-accuracy in my mastery of a career, a couple of side-hustles, a summer sport, a winter sport and perhaps a hobby or two. Ah, but it's a delicate balance.
Which is why I tend to lo-o-o-ve tips. And I especially love podcasts about tips. Tips help you do things better, faster, smarter -- which allows you time to do, well, more things.
In the beginning, there was a weekend. It stretched ahead, pristine and unblemished by activity. The weekend was a blank canvas on which fun, frolic, and adventure could be wrought. Then, there was the Make Magazine Podcast, a video show on which Make "makers" demonstrate a "weekend project."
By the end, there was a warbot (!), a dreamy web-cam birdfeeder, or a Speak and Say that makes cool new sounds after some circuit-bending (the perfect gift for an audiophile!).
This show makes you realize there are a number of completely rad things you could be doing with your time -- but they've never even crossed your mind.
Um, okay, but that's a lot of pressure.
Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Remember the days when you tried to be a better writer by sharpening your pencil rather than sharpening your skills? Well those days are gone, baby, because "Grammar Girl," and her colleagues (Mr. Manners, Money Girl, and The Traveling Avatar) are committed to whipping you into shape in just five minutes per episode.
Having read my introduction, replete with signature clauses and grammatical roundabouts, you should be quite clear on why Grammar Girl's show appeals to me. From the passionate drama of an EM dash to the proverbial splitting of infinitives -- discreet tidbits about writing are here to be learned anew. And you will be more receptive to them this time, because you've grown up!
But speaking of generic personal pronouns, I mean proper nouns, I did feel the slightest bit of distress upon learning that Grammar Girl's real name is "Mignon Fogarty." Mignon. Fogarty. It's so excessive a name for the host of such a practical podcast. (Perhaps I should have spelled that proper "nowns.")
This show is for you if you find participles, dangling or otherwise, entertaining.
How am I supposed to get anything done around here? By listening to this podcast about that very topic. And by coming to realize there is something magical and pure about learning to use stickies for higher purposes.
This show is part of the culture, nee cult, that is GTD. If you don't know what that is, run!, run away now, before you are drawn into the abyss that results when you spend all of your free time getting really, really organized so you can finally save yourself some time.
If, however, you've already sipped the kool-aid, you will know that the host of 43 Folders is Merlin Mann, a hipsterish, "personal productivity expert" and de-facto disciple of David Allen, the not-at-all-hipsterish author of Getting Things Done.
Mann conducts interviews with other productivity experts, and explores organizational tips and "life hacks" -- things like getting your in-box to zero.
Mann has his own disciples as well. Folks who take a tip, run off and improve on it, and deliver it back to Mann, who features it on the show. It's amazing to discover the religious zeal that goes into the collective pursuit of perfected productivity.
But this guy's name is Merlin, so you know, watch out. This show is for you if you want to get more organized, but are able to resist the cult-like call of thoroughly obsessive self-improvement. Get in and get out. (Especially if you plan on playing around with a birdfeeder.) Just sayin'.