Podcast Review: Back to Work

(Credit: Grant/Flickr)

This is one of my all-time favourite podcasts and has become my go to when I am feeling unproductive. Back to Work is a weekly podcast hosted by Merlin Mann (yes, his name is Merlin) and Dan Benjamin. Each week they touch on a variety of topics centering around productivity, communication, barriers and constraints to productivity, and everything in between.

There are currently 312 episodes (313 if you include today’s episode) of Back to Work ranging in run time from 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. That is a whole lot of podcasts. As much as I love to procrastinate, listening to every episode is just not feasible.

To get you started, here are some of my favourite episodes to get you started.

Episode 247, “On a Farm With a Monkey”. This was my very first episode of Back to Work. I absolutely adore it. Throughout this episode Merlin talks extensively about how he makes use of the humble notebook, how to go about making use of your notebook, and the importance of “ruining” your notebook.

Episode 256, “Every Minute Weighs the Same”. Merlin and Dan talk about schedules in relation to one’s mental and physical health, and which voice inside of your head you should be listening to.

251, “Manna Goy” is another deep episode where Merlin conveys his thoughts on being busy, and the misuse of the word. This leads to an in-depth discussion of words, their meaning, and how we use them. This is a valuable episode for students.

Other fun episodes include 257, “Homemade Science Mayonnaise”; 278, “Yelling at an Idea”; 287, “You Are Now Cleared for Salad”; and 308, “When does the Fork Go on the Sat?”

When listening to Back to Work I try and keep something to write with close by. Often I find myself taking notes on Merlin and Dan’s productivity advice. When I find myself frustrated with school work and life in general, I refer back to these notes. A little perspective never hurts.

As much as I love this podcast, there are times when I have no idea what they are talking about. Especially when they get into deep discussions of computer programming (maybe they are not so deep, I wouldn’t know). This doesn’t matter, regardless of what they are talking about I can’t stop listening. What can I say, I love this podcast and you should to. New episodes of back to work are out every Tuesday.

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 23, February 28th, 2017.