I would rather keep the tough rules and be okay with breaking them than come me up with crappy rules that I never break. – Merlin Mann on Episode 309 of Back to Work

This was a good bit. Here’s more:

I like the ambition of something that would be difficult for me to do flawlessly, but I adore the feeling that it’s ok for me to fail at it but still keep doing it. I’m the one who gets to decide if I keep doing this or not. I do it on my own terms. I’m the judge who gets to decide how I’m allowed to feel about it.

Direct Function of Beauty

If you look at the High Line, that was done with a lot of love and care and definitely with an eye on beauty. Now, one of the functions of that beauty is that, since it’s inception, there has not been a single report of any major crime on the High Line since it started, on any precinct along the highline. It’s interesting, but it’s a function of the beauty of it. If they would’ve done it crappily and quickly and value-engineered like every other thing is value-engineered in [not only] this country, but around the world, that would not have happened.
–Stefan Sagmeister

From episode 11 of the podcast, Nice To Meet You. I’ve had this in my queue for quite a while and finally got around to listening.

Advice is not difficult.

I think giving people advice is very simple. It’s almost too easy to give people advice, and to say, “Okay, you have a problem? Here’s how to fix it.” I think your problem is not a lack of advice, it’s a lack of understanding. And before a lot of advice can be really useful, it’s good to understand why you need that advice.
– Merlin Mann

From episode 294 of Back to Work

If you dropped your notebook
in a lake

I got better at using a notebook when I stopped thinking of it as an important artifact of my life.

If you feel any resistance at all about the value of your notebook as an artifact being higher than the value of your stupid, crappy thoughts that go into it, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Merlin Mann on Episode 287 of Back to Work (~42:30)

I’m happy to say that I’ve been through a fancy, expensive notebook phase and made it out the other side.

I used to stockpile notebooks from Muji and Moleskine. Hard-cover, soft-cover; Squard, lined, blank. My obsession with fresh school supplies carried on. But I was scared to put pen to page, afraid that an errant stroke would tarnish an otherwise perfect symbol of organization and productivity. Four pages in and a smear was all it took to start over with a completely new book.