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« Handling Various Tasks in SuperFocus | Main | Rules for "Do It Tomorrow": Russian Translation »

SuperFocus: The Last Page

A phenomenon which users of the latest version of SuperFocus may not have yet have come across is that unfinished tasks in Column 2 of the last page may end up being re-entered on different pages.

This happens when Column 1 of the last page is filled and a new page is started. So the last page stops being the last page. The result is that some unfinished tasks may be re-entered at the beginning of the active list and some may be re-entered on the new last page.

For example, if you have two lengthy tasks in Column 2 of the last page:

Read War and Peace

Write Review of Project X

War and Peace may be actioned before the Column 1 of the last page is filled up, and so will go to the beginning of the list. Project X may only be actioned after a new last page has been started, so will go to the end. Project X will only rejoin War and Peace once the new page has finished being worked on.

This phenomenon worried me a bit when I first encountered it, but I’ve come to realise that it’s actually an advantage. This is because it prevents too long being spent at the end of the list. There was a tendency in the earlier AutoFocus systems to “chase the end of the list”, that is for the list to be growing faster due to re-entries than one is advancing through it. Too many Column 2 items on a last page which has only a few items initially would exacerbate this. As it is though, some re-entries get diverted to the beginning of the list which allows the end to be reached faster.

Reader Comments (2)

Yes, I am finding this and it is a huge advantage of the system. Even with 'sort/add 3 items from old list' in there being caught fairly regularly I am still finding that my list is not growing in leaps and bounds but is staying pretty manageable and rapidly gaining large chunks of completed items. With some of the older items I have been opting to re-enter them a few pages ahead rather than on the end of the list. These are items that I really want to do, but I know will not realistically be done till other more pressing tasks are completed; eg, I have a list of books that I want to borrow from the library and read at some point - but before I do that I want to finish the pile of books that I have gathered over the many years, so 'read pile of books' goes in at the end of the list now, and 'borrow and read books' goes in about 10 pages ahead - which may not be far enough, but when I get to it I can move it forward again if I need to.
February 11, 2011 at 6:48 | Registered Commenterwairererose

<< I'm a tad confused about Column 2 "rules." You initially put read War and Peace, but the way I read a different post earlier, you shouldn't have been able to leave that page with that item until War and Peace had been read. >>

I don't know which post you are referring to, but you do not have to finish all the Column 2 task before you move on. What you have to do is do some work on each. If you haven't finished a task then it is re-entered in Column 2 of the next page. That's why Column 2 is described as being for unfinished tasks.

<< I will use a timer and work on it a minimum of X minutes with the willingness to work on it until "tired" and ready to switch.>>

My advice is don't overcomplicate things.

<< Regardless I'm still unsure of when i can move from page 1 with its 2 columns to page 2. As I read it, Column 2 of page 1 must be completed (based on whatever "complete" has been predesignated). This doesn't mean Column 2 items are not forwarded to another page's Column 2, just that you have done the work you have decided is necessary and call "complete." >>

Not quite. You have to take some action on each task in Column 2. If you haven't finished a task, then it is re-entered in Column 2 of the next page.

<< Should there be a rule that a Column 2 item can't be forwarded more than x # of times before actual completion? >>

Definitely not. This would destroy the flexibility of the system to deal with different types of task.
February 11, 2011 at 15:05 | Unregistered CommenterRobert2

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