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« Procrastination | Main | Time management when retired »

Time management when retired - update

I think it’s time to write an update on how my new system for retirees (and non-retirees) is getting on. I’ve had quite a ride with it because my original idea didn’t work out, but further experimentation has resulted in something which I think is going to work very well.

Basically it is a system which combines the best bits of DIT, the AFs and DWM:

  1. Like DIT it is based on one day’s work, but it incorporates several improvements to make it more flexible.
  2. Like AF it dismisses stuff which you aren’t prepared to do, but does so much more directly.
  3. Like AF4 it works on a “backlog” and a “current” list, but ensures that this is related to one day’s work.
  4. Like DWM stuff which isn’t done within a certain number of days gets dismissed, but without the endless page turning.
  5. And best of all it puts the screws on very quickly with the important stuff, while allowing the urgent less important stuff to flow quickly.

If you can imagine DIT with the problem solved of what to do when you don’t finish all today’s tasks, you’ll be pretty close.

Reader Comments (35)

Wow, that looks to have a lot of promise, Mark.

However, I can't imagine how it would be done =(

Oh well, I guess we'll have to wait ^___^

Good luck on that new TM technique, Mark!
April 30, 2010 at 16:52 | Unregistered Commenternuntym
I'm very keen to hear about your new system, Mark. In recent weeks, I've ping-ponged between DWM (which I couldn't get away with), AF4 (got overwhelmed by the list and having to choose which task to work on) and DIT which I've gone back to happily using now. I find it to be the system most suited to my style of working.

My problem is that some days lots of potential tasks arise, without the opportunity to do them all the next day. I try to spread them out over the next week or two in my Task Diary but doing this too often breaks the principle of one day's input equals one day's work, creating a bigger potential for backlogs.
April 30, 2010 at 20:02 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I hope that what I'm working on at the moment will help overcome this problem.But I've got to test it out further myself in its present form.
April 30, 2010 at 21:29 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I agree with Linda I loved and am using most of the techniques in DIT (and Get Everything Done!) but the one thing that I don't like is scheduling work - even just writing a task list for tomorrow sets me up for a backlog and failure when something takes longer than I bargained for (which it always does!). I love AF4 as I always know where to write things that pop up while I'm working I can just jot them down at the end of the list. I only used DWM to add expiry dates to tasks rather than write them on separate pages. I can't wait to find out your new method.

I'm very pleased that you're still sharing :)

Val S
April 30, 2010 at 21:40 | Unregistered CommenterVal Smiles

The new system is a sort of combination of DIT and AF4 with a few extras thrown in!
April 30, 2010 at 21:53 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark,

This sounds great -- how is the development coming along?

April 30, 2010 at 22:55 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake

Hopefully it won't be too long - but that does depend on my not running into any problems. And problems usually only surface after some time.
April 30, 2010 at 23:16 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
And can one still use their AF list -- i.e one long list, or is it now different?

April 30, 2010 at 23:29 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake
It will be the same as DIT and DWM - a page a day diary/schedule.
May 1, 2010 at 8:22 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark: You had me at "it's like AF"! I await with eagerness of a kind I see in my young children when they are about to open their birthday present. AF has been my choice to date, and I always liked DIT, so I am looking forward to seeing the morphed system.
May 1, 2010 at 8:51 | Unregistered CommenterJD
<<The new system is a sort of combination of DIT and AF4 with a few extras thrown in! >>

<<It will be the same as DIT and DWM - a page a day diary/schedule. >>

Very interesting Mark!

I think I am getting a hunch of what you are trying to do, after reviewing DIT, the AFs and DWM. Can we guess? ^____^

And thank you very much for sharing your talent with us ^__^
May 1, 2010 at 15:30 | Unregistered Commenternuntym
Hmm, interesting, I wonder how you will improve on DWM, which I've found very good. After reading some earlier comments, I have just looked at taking the first task which stands out, then looking further till a task stands out more - this approach looks worth trying - but I gather you are experimenting with something different now.

Look forward to hearing more soon. There is always room for improvement, in any system.
May 1, 2010 at 22:11 | Unregistered CommenterLaurence
Sounds good, Mark. I have a nice Moleskin diary ready to go -- I was using it when working with DWM, which I found to not like as well. I am using Autofocus 1 now and loving it. But I certainly am excited about your new pending system and will try it out.

May 3, 2010 at 17:29 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake
It's not going quite as well as I'd hoped, so it'll probably be a while yet.
May 3, 2010 at 19:11 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Sorry to hear that, Mark. Keep at it....and am sure you will do so! Meanwhile, I am enjoying Autofocus 1 so very much!

May 3, 2010 at 19:19 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake
Sorry to hear that Mark...But no biggie, Mark! We can wait, take your time.

Good luck!
May 3, 2010 at 20:12 | Unregistered Commenternuntym

I agree - in many ways AF1 was my favourite too.
May 3, 2010 at 22:38 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Yep -- it is going to be hard to beat Autofocus 1, Mark. It is an incredibly motivating and brilliant system...

May 3, 2010 at 23:26 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake
Thanks for all your sharing Mark. I'm a big fan...Keep it up!
May 4, 2010 at 14:02 | Unregistered CommenterTime Manager
<< I agree - in many ways AF1 was my favourite too. >>

Just for kicks I started today treating my AF4 list in the AF1 manner. Boy, did I rock those tasks today. I wasn't necessarily engaging with the AF4 list properly anyway, since the length can be so dynamic between closed and open. AF1 pages were very refreshing and finite.
May 4, 2010 at 21:39 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
Hi Brian,

This is exactly why I came back to AF1 -- I do like the separate pages. Autofocus 1 has been working so very well for me!

May 4, 2010 at 22:10 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake

<< Just for kicks I started today treating my AF4 list in the AF1 manner. >>

That's interesting. Can you give a little more detail of how you did that? Was it just the "backlog" that you did this with?
May 6, 2010 at 15:28 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, I just scanned my AF4 pages by the AF1 rules (one page at a time). More pressure to act on older items in order to move to the next page. I hadn't been following AF4 very tightly, so I had been adding more than I had been acting.
May 6, 2010 at 17:38 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
I will recommend this to my friends! More power.
May 25, 2010 at 22:43 | Unregistered CommenterRisty Durbin
Hi Mark,

Any updates on the progress of your new system development?

June 10, 2010 at 13:53 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake
Hello Mark - as a new retiree, having tried to adapt various of your systems to my new life style and abandoned them... well I am very keen to hear from you! How's it going? Can we trial it for you and see what the problems are of which you speak?!
June 11, 2010 at 7:06 | Unregistered CommenterChris Y

I've been finding it a lot more difficult to get right than I expected. So don't expect any details in the near future!


It's not really possible to put something out for trial until it's reached a fairly stable state. Otherwise by the time people send in their comments, I'm already doing something different. I'm still working on it though!
June 12, 2010 at 13:14 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hello David,

I like the systems you've developed so far, as I find them to be better than GTD in some ways. I very curious to know more the system you're currently working on, I am using DIT at the moment. Hope to hear more soon!

Best regards,
Helgi Þór
June 21, 2010 at 18:03 | Unregistered CommenterHelgi Þór
Mark Forster,

Hope things are going well with your new system. Enjoying the retired life I hope ;)
July 28, 2010 at 20:28 | Unregistered CommenterJim R
J'ai lu un peu AF4 et DWM, j'ai mis un temps avant de bien comprendre. Je teste depuis peu DWM, donc je ne peux me permettre de dire pour l'instant. J'avoue qu'il se peut que je triche un peu pour ne pas laisser les listes toutes périr. Et je me donne dans la mesure du possible 1 ou 2 tâches à faire par jour. Je trouve que c'est chouette ce que vous faites !

I read a little AF4 and DWM, I did a time before understand (because I don't speak, read, very good english). I try a few time DWM, so I can't to say what I think now. ....
I find it's great what you do !
August 2, 2010 at 21:39 | Unregistered Commentereoline
Merci, Eoline. J'espere que DWM fonctionne bien pour vous.
August 3, 2010 at 15:17 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
When will this new system be posted?
August 5, 2010 at 14:52 | Unregistered CommenterMIchael D. Scully
As Mark has said previously, he'll post it when it works, which could be months. Meanwhile, I suppose he's experimenting with ideas until something effective emerges.
August 6, 2010 at 22:48 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Yes, well, Alan, this post was published over three months ago, and Mark's most recent comment was almost two months ago. So "near future" is a subjective concept, isn't it?
August 7, 2010 at 20:37 | Unregistered CommenterE.M. Shanty
Actually I thought my most recent comment was on August 3rd.
August 7, 2010 at 21:30 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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