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« The List after Today | Main | The List for Tomorrow »
Friday
Sep042009

Working Live Today

Key:
Tasks on list at start of day
Current Task

Actioned tasks
(numbered in order of completion)
Tasks added during day

[Tasks marked for review]
—————————— = Start of Open List
(1156) timed log entry (at end)

THE LIST

13 Cancel Insurance Policies (1018)
15 Write Henry S. (1053)
[Contribute to P & Y’s Charity]
10 Buy Guillotine
[Weed Old Accounts]
[Ring Ben’s Gutters]
[Get Phoenix Insurance Claim signed]
[Investigate ways of marketing and selling E-book]
[Approaching businesses?]
11 Photo Plus Manual
[Sort out Domain hosting]
14 Photos for Facebook
12 “Taxi Driver”
[“Fanny Cradock”]
[“I Know Where I’m Going”]
[“The Edge of the World”] [1452][1534]
——————————————
Check details needed by Travel Agency
56 Schedule for Newsletters?
16 Restaurant for L’s birthday?
Card for L
Weed Noguchi
57 Portuguese 17
Aeneid
“Then She Found Me”
Write E-book
Write M
67 Read “Ultra Simple Guide”
Camera Manual
Return chalk to T
Brain trainer
17 Tidy Office
68 “Fleurs du Mal”
18 Make Bed
German 24/3
19 Facebook
50 Spanish 12/2
Mow Lawn
Sort out Google bar
Blog “7 Habits of Poor Time Managers”
“Saraband”
Write
20 Bureau Top tidy?
21 MicroPlaza
Reading List (oldest)
Reading List (newest)
G replied?
22 Desk tidy?
23 Exercise
Walk
Tax Return
Photo Galleries
Squarespace Videos
47 Check BP
Journal 10+
24 Investment Managers
25 RegZooka
26 Cut Hedge
27 NumberWatch
28 Carswell
69 “The Cell” (2300)
Paper
1 Comments (0800)
2 Voicemail

29 Fix date for lunch with Carol N
3 Email
4 FTSE (0833)
“Top Gear”
5 Lowest Point Forecast
30 Back Up
31 Reading
6 Doodle
Change Wallpaper
58 Reading List (quality)
7 Pitch C#
8 Wash Up
Autopager?
Firefox extension name?
9 Comments

Voicemail
32 Email
33 FTSE
Lowest Point Forecast
Doodle
34 Pitch C#
35 Wash Up
36 Comments (0904)
PhotoPlus Manual
“Taxi Driver”
Cancel Avon Policy
48 To Think About
37
L replied re Henry?

38 L replied re restaurant?
Check Porsche Tyres
Check Polo Service
Tidy Office
39 Read Newspaper
40 Check Site Visitors for today
Make Bed
Facebook
51 Find Driving Licence
Bureau Top Tidy?
52 Regenerate Friend Wheel
41 Ordo
Investment Managers
Carswell
59 Carol N replied re lunch?
Diaries of Adrienne v. Speyr?
42 Lunch
53 SpyZooka
RegZooka
54 Reading
Pitch C#
Write Henry
55 Book restaurant
43 Reserve District 9 and Tricks
44 Comments
45 Wash Up
46 Email
Voicemail
56 Site Visitors
Ordo
49 Comments
Wash Up (1450)(1709)(1847)(1849)
—————————————————
Check BP
60 Email
61 Comments (1528)
Check weeding schedule for old accounts
Find Phone Number for Ben’s Gutters
Prepare papers for Phoenix signing
Check domain hosting records
“Fanny Cradock”
Spanish 13
62 Tweetdeck
SpyZooka
63 Reading
64 Site Visitors (2046)
Newsletter Template
Portuguese 17/2
Try out issuu.com
Reading List (quality)
65 Email
66 Tweetdeck
Email (2057)
“Fleurs du Mal”
“The Cell”


0800. The list is divided into two unequal parts, divided by a line ———————. Different rules apply to each part. I am starting where I left off yesterday, near the end of the list. The method here is to move down the list taking action on those tasks which feel ready to be done. I will number tasks in the order they are done so you can follow the sequence. The numbers in brackets after some tasks are times, and refer to the log entries at the end of the list (of which this is the first).

0833. This is reminding me why I hate using electronic means of working a to do list! It’s slowing me down no end. The Squarespace editor is also being annoying - a blank line has appeared in the middle of the list which I don’t seem to be able to get rid of. Never mind!

0904. I’ve now reached the end of the list. My next action is to go to the beginning of the list - into the part of the list before the line (——————). Oooooerrrr!!!

1018. Within the first part of the list, I keep circling round the list until nothing further seems ready to do.

1053. I’ve now been round the first part of the list three times, and there’s nothing further that seems ready to do. So now I start on the second part of the list. I only do one pass of this before going back to the first part.

1450. Now reached the end of the list for the second time today. So back to the first part of the list (the “backlog”)

1452. None of the tasks in the “backlog” stand out for action so I have marked them all up for review (on paper I would have used a highlighter for this). At the same time I have drawn a line at the end of the list so that the whole current list becomes the “backlog”. All new tasks will now go below this line.

1528. Now reached the end of the list for the third time today. Notice how fast I moved through the list this time. Back to the beginning of the list.

1534. What I have now done is delete all the items marked for review. You will see that I have re-entered some after rephrasing them. One I have re-entered as it was (A recorded TV program that I haven’t yet had time to see). The rest I have dropped altogether because I decided the time wasn’t yet ripe for them.

1709. Reached end of first part of list - back to the beginning. On another subject, this page has been loaded 5,973 times today (and it wasn’t all by me!)

1847 End of first part of list again - back to beginning.

1849 I’ve been round the first part of the list again without any tasks seeming ready to do - so on to the second part.

2046. Page has been accessed 7,507 times today.

2057 Reached the end of the list again. Back to the beginning. I’ll select a next task, but what I’m really going to do is go and watch NCIS on tv!

2300 That’s it for today. 70 tasks completed. 8,604 page views. I hope that’s given everyone a good idea of how powerful the system is. Now I’ve just got to copy everything I’ve done today back into my paper notebook!

(Comments on this post are now closed. If you can’t see the existing comments, click on the post heading “Working Live Today”)

Reader Comments (188)

Morning, Mark.

What is the rule for placing the line?
September 4, 2009 at 8:11 | Unregistered CommenterWooba
Mark,

Are you working in AF or AF2?
September 4, 2009 at 8:18 | Unregistered CommenterCatus Lee
Morning Mark.

I guess placing that line is one of the most important parts of AF4. So I'm really curious to read the rule.
September 4, 2009 at 8:19 | Unregistered CommenterJiru
Since Facebook is on your list, which Mark Forster there are you? I didn't see you in the search results I looked through. There is a Mark Forster in the Autofocus Group, but he ... doesn't look anything like you. My profile is here: http://www.facebook.com/andreas.michael.hofmann
September 4, 2009 at 8:30 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
I guess the the stuff above the line is the "backlog".
September 4, 2009 at 8:32 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Re facebook: never mind, it seems that is you in the Autofocus Group. ^^
September 4, 2009 at 8:36 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Boy, I wish I was self-employed and could put, and then action, "Doodle" on my list...! ;-)
September 4, 2009 at 8:45 | Unregistered CommenterRichard
good guess, andreas. would make sense if below the line was an open list. i don't think mark is going to tell us much, at least early on. we'll probably have to infer things.
September 4, 2009 at 8:52 | Unregistered Commenterclay
Richard:

<< Boy, I wish I was self-employed and could put, and then action, "Doodle" on my list...! ;-) >>

Like many of the entries that has a cryptic meaning which only I understand!
September 4, 2009 at 8:57 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Andreas:

<< There is a Mark Forster in the Autofocus Group, but he ... doesn't look anything like you. >>

He looks like I looked in 1975!
September 4, 2009 at 8:58 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Andreas:

<< I guess the the stuff above the line is the "backlog". >>

Correct, though I prefer not to call it that.
September 4, 2009 at 8:59 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Catus Lee:

Are you working in AF or AF2?

The fourth (unpublished) version. See http://www.markforster.net/autofocus-index/
September 4, 2009 at 9:01 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Wooba:

<< What is the rule for placing the line? >>

It goes at the end of the whole list when the previous "backlog" is completed. So three days ago that line included the whole list.
September 4, 2009 at 9:02 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark
It's 4:14 am here......I'm drugged and riding out the pain via your live blog. Thanks for the entertainment. The tv only has junk shows and infomercials. I have my music going also. Because I'm still grateful to not have a backlog since you bailed me out of mine a few years ago......I'm am curious as to how you define a backlog these days.....

You stated:
It goes at the end of the whole list when the previous "backlog" is completed. So three days ago that line included the whole list.

Because I work from a weekly format, I'm shocked that you define work less than 3 days old as a backlog! LOL! How do you define it? Even DIT standards allowed up to 4 days to catch up on the loose ends!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 9:19 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
<< He looks like I looked in 1975! >>

I figured as much by now. ;-)

I you don't mind another man saying so, you're pretty handsome!
September 4, 2009 at 9:25 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Is "task marked for review" the same as "tasks on notice" or "tasks on review"?
September 4, 2009 at 9:29 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Hi Mark,

Good morning - and what a good idea to try this here. It would be really useful if you can explain in your running commentary today the rules that you are following, and anything that crops up around why you do and don't do certain tasks. Without knowing what the new process is that you are following it is difficult to appreciate how and why the list is being covered. Also why and how there are two lists, or two parts to the list.

Regards,
Jonathan
----
The list is divided into two unequal parts, divided by a line ———————. Different rules apply to each part. I am starting where I left off yesterday, near the end of the list. The method here is to move down the list taking action on those tasks which feel ready to be done.
September 4, 2009 at 9:29 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan
Learning:

<< Because I work from a weekly format, I'm shocked that you define work less than 3 days old as a backlog! >>

Perhaps that is the reason Mark prefers not to call it a backlog.
September 4, 2009 at 9:31 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
I presume (based on what Mark has said previously) that the completed tasks are only being shown for our benefit - and are not part of the system.

It's fascinating then that Mark is doing all of this electronically. Looks like you could run the whole system within a single electronic note...or even a standard, simple task list as long as you can move the line up and down within it.
September 4, 2009 at 9:41 | Unregistered CommenterFrank
Good Morning Andreas H.
This is quite fun....given my options...*blush*....
This is precisely the reason I couldn't follow DIT. I'm a great proponent of planning my weekly outcomes and that necessitates me ignoring the trivia while I'm focused on other work. I'd go completely bonkers if I had to follow the dictates of random stuff streaming in to decide how I spend my limited resources. Even before I was disabled and had a far more rigorous schedule (I lived out of my calendar for ambitious pursuits, competitions and social life and totally off list for my pleasures and passions) Even then, I ignored the trivia unless I had dead space time...(small units of time between important aims or events)
Even though I was quite ambitious, my Bohemian spirit prevailed ultimately. If it was important enough, it put on the calendar. If not, it had to wait until I had dead time.....and I was intent on having very little of that! LOL!
Perhaps, this is why I had such a hard time adjusting my lifestyle to my limitations....It's cruel folly for me to aim very high these days! *blush* My energy and attitude would be severly hampered if I had to chase down backlogs that were less than 3 days old! LOL!

BTW.....how is your back healing? I sincerely hope that you are enjoying better times.
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 9:49 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
p.s.
Andreas H....could you give me the URL for the hot version of Mark? I'm starving for things to distract me from the flooded brain and sharp pain leaking through the heavy drugs....ahhhh....
1975.....one of the great years!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 9:57 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Learning, my back is doing fine. I have been painless for some weeks now. I'm really lucky there was no lasting damage. I feel a little guilty that I was so lucky when you were not. My best wishes go out to you.
September 4, 2009 at 10:00 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Learning, Mark's facebook profile is here: http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Forster/728856766 ;-)
September 4, 2009 at 10:02 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Hi Andreas
PLEASE! Don't feel guilty! I'm GRATEFUL that you are not suffering any more! My gratitudes keep me fueled to keep on.......so actually I sincerely THANK YOU for giving me such GREAT NEWS! Knowing this about you has actually made me feel much better. Andreas, I thank you for that!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 10:09 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Thanks, Andreas!
Mark, is that you circa 1975? You look like you were a famous rocker or actor!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 10:13 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Does “Taxi Driver” mean Mark's now watching a movie and we can check back in 1 1/2 hours? :-)
September 4, 2009 at 10:17 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Apparently not. ^^
September 4, 2009 at 10:25 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
So far, this system is resulting in my most unproductive friday ever. ;-)
September 4, 2009 at 10:30 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Hi Andreas
Maybe he has to put it in the post to return it.....Netflix or an equivalent....my sister loves her Netflix.....I can't follow movies without backtracking them over and over. My short term memory limitations can't hold the characters or plot! *blush* Therefore, I rarely attempt to watch a movie unless it seems like it would be worth hours and hours of effort to follow it. The last one I watched was Johnny Cash's bio. It was called "Walk the Line"....yes...it was worth it!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 10:30 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Fascinating! Better than a webcam, I'd say... ;-)

I suppose the dismissal rule will be that once you enter the backlog and find no task standing out in the first pass-though, you dismiss the whole backlog and draw the new divider line below the open list.

This is... awesome! Makes RAF looking old and clunky.
September 4, 2009 at 10:34 | Unregistered CommenterAndreasE
Hi Andreas
"So far, this system is resulting in my most unproductive friday ever. ;-)
September 4, 2009 at 10:30 | Andreas Hofmann"

ROTFL! It's only 5:30am here so I have no agenda yet....except to walk the dog when the sun rise.....I LOVE that ritual....even at a snail's pace. Plus, no one is around to see me with my embarrassing looking three legged cane! LOL! When people are about, I try not to use it.............talk about ridiculous ego decisions! LOL!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 10:37 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Hi Learning, must be something different, because he re-added it. Or he put it in an envelope and when he next comes to it, he'll put stamp on it or mail it.

Well, perhaps it's not the most important aspect to pay attention to. ;-)

Does the cycling through the backlog (what *do* you prefer to call it, Mark?) work like cycling through a page in AF1/Forward Mode? If you do a complete pass without actioning anything, you leave the backlog?
September 4, 2009 at 10:38 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
hi Andreas
Maybe he's waiting for a bundle of things to carry to the mail box.
I'm starting to feel like a voyeur! *blush*......I'll walk the dog to shake off that feeling! Just kidding!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 10:54 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Hi Andreas
You stated:
"I suppose the dismissal rule will be that once you enter the backlog and find no task standing out in the first pass-though, you dismiss the whole backlog and draw the new divider line below the open list."

HOLY MOLY! Are you asserting that everything above today's italicized entries would become the new backlog?
And what is the fate of the original backlog items?....or does it all become an even bigger lump or............scary thought..........the current backlog gets dismissed?
That sounds like lightening speed! A mid day nap or an impromptu social visit could throw off the whole thing! LOL! WAY too fast for the like of me! LOL!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 11:04 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Just in case anyone's interested, the SiteDelta addon for Firefox works really well for watching this live experiment - makes it very obvious how Mark is working the list.
September 4, 2009 at 11:05 | Unregistered CommenterFrank
p.s.
You stated in another post:
"Does the cycling through the backlog (what *do* you prefer to call it, Mark?) work like cycling through a page in AF1/Forward Mode? If you do a complete pass without actioning anything, you leave the backlog?"

I would guess not....not having a consequence of not acting on it procedurally would be too willy nilly.....His recent blog posts and comments infer that he's incorporating more procedural discipline into the new system to ensure progress and prevent willful avoidance/neglect.
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 11:09 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
"I suppose the dismissal rule will be that once you enter the backlog and find no task standing out in the first pass-though, you dismiss the whole backlog and draw the new divider line below the open list."

I think that would be too drastic...probably dismissing whatever is left at the end of the day might be better...though even that is pretty drastic.
September 4, 2009 at 11:09 | Unregistered CommenterFrank
Wow, this really brings home to me why I have to prioritize and dismiss a lot to keep up and MF does not.
September 4, 2009 at 11:25 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline
Hi Frank
I totally concur with your sentiments!.......but then again, he's working off his list from 8am to 11pm..................that's PLENTY of time to knock out quite a bit of work! He has stated previously that he almost lives out of his list. Therefore, it's hard for me to guess how he's thinking. My goal is to get myself OUT of my list ASAP each day! I'll have to defer to your AF knowledge and experience in these matters.
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 11:25 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
I don't find this drastic. You might very well work on a backlog (=the part of the list ABOVE the divider line) several days. You just have to find anything in it to work on.

But "dismiss it if on the first pass no task stands out" would be a very AF-like rule.
September 4, 2009 at 11:26 | Unregistered CommenterAndreasE
>>Are you asserting that everything above today's italicized entries would become the new backlog?<<

No. The whole second part of the list will become the backlog the moment the momentary backlog gets dismissed.

That's only my assumption, of course.
September 4, 2009 at 11:28 | Unregistered CommenterAndreasE
Morning Jacq
I don't understand what you mean.....how does Mark's way differ from yours other than prioritizing....???? Is he displaying a superior method that my uneducated eyes (non AF mentality or experience) are missing?
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 11:31 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Hey Learning,

I scored a copy of "The West Wing" (the pilot episode) if you are interested. I have not done more than that (i.e. find an upload site where I could place it so you could download it at your leisure) in case you are not interested upon further reflection.

However, if you are, send an email with your email address to my new dummy email address:

Erik.Satie@softhome.net

and I'll work out the details. (I was in a fit of musical whimsy when I made that one up! ;-) I've done it before so it should not be a big deal.

Fun stuff, this watching Mark go about his routine. It gives an interesting insight into how the world looks to him. He certainly DOES put everything on his list. LOL ;-)
September 4, 2009 at 11:32 | Unregistered CommenterMike
I'll be back.......suns coming up....don't want to miss it....
I'm sure I'll be gifted with more of your great minds trying to solve the mystery! This is great fun!
learning as I go
September 4, 2009 at 11:33 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Andreas,

I wonder if it would be more likely that a new backlog would not be declared until the next day. That is what I would do. I can't see including an item I just wrote on the bottom of the list a minute ago to be part of a "backlog". But then, Mark has said he is not calling it a "backlog" so that may be why he might do something like that. Sometimes terminology is king ;-)
September 4, 2009 at 11:35 | Unregistered CommenterMike
@AndreasE,

"I don't find this drastic. You might very well work on a backlog (=the part of the list ABOVE the divider line) several days. You just have to find anything in it to work on."

In Mark's comment at 10.53, he states he did not find anything to work on above-the-line...and he didn't dismiss the above-the-line tasks.

I was suspecting that Mark would put everything above the line on review at the beginning of the day (to be dismissed the day after). But he didn't start off with anything in review, so that seems to negate that theory.
September 4, 2009 at 11:38 | Unregistered CommenterFrank
Hey learning,
It's that everything that he's doing in 15 hours are things I'd like to do too - but only have about 3 hours to do it in. Because I'm not retired with no kids.
I think most people that have a full time job and families have to figure out what their priorities are.

Mike, I'm worried that he's not eating though. Maybe today is a fasting day?
September 4, 2009 at 11:43 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline
Frank:

<<In Mark's comment at 10.53, he states he did not find anything to work on above-the-line...and he didn't dismiss the above-the-line tasks.>>

Yes, but he did action several tasks above the line before that pass. So it could still be like a AF1 page. No action on first pass -> dismiss, no action on later pass -> leave backlog.

I have a feeling we won't see any dismissing today.

Re SiteDelta: Yes, it's really great for this. I primed it yesterday to watch the blog area and I also told it to keep backup copies of the changes. So I can go back in time and watch it step by step.
September 4, 2009 at 11:43 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
Mike:

<<I wonder if it would be more likely that a new backlog would not be declared until the next day. >>

Mark stated concerning the backlog line:

<< It goes at the end of the whole list when the previous "backlog" is completed. >>

I think that would include doing everything as well as dismissing everything.
September 4, 2009 at 11:48 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
What I like so far is that it really removes emphasis from working on the latest and loudest in that the recently added tasks are only passed once. That was the greatest flaw with AF2/RAF in my eyes.
September 4, 2009 at 11:52 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
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