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« Critical day today | Main | Overload »
Monday
Sep122011

Key Principles of the New System I: The Time Equation

One of the unique features of Do It Tomorrow was that it was based on the novel idea that the average amount of work coming in each day must equal the average amount of work going out each day. In other words one’s “Out Tray” must contain the same amount of work as one’s “In Tray”. I say “novel idea” because, although it seems incredibly obvious once it’s pointed out, very few people indeed seem to take on work on that basis.

DIT was the first time management system that I am aware of to make this equation its basis. 

In the subsequent systems which I developed - AutoFocus, SuperFocus and the like - this principle tended to be lost sight of in favour of trying to find a balance between the rational conscious parts of the brain and the intuitive unconscious parts.

In the new Final Version system the time equation has been re-established - albeit in a more flexible format than in DIT. Unlike DIT, the system has been designed to be self-adjusting so that there will only be the right amount of work in the system for the amount of time available. At the same time the principle of balancing the rational and intuitive brain has also been adhered to, making a synthesis between the unique principles of DIT and the subsequent systems.

The result is an easier, more flexible and self-adjusting time equation and a better balance between the rational and intuitive, thus getting the best of both worlds.

Reader Comments (22)

It might be fun to label it "Final Focus" - or maybe "Final Focus1"!
September 12, 2011 at 19:44 | Registered Commentermichael
I hope this principle goes well on this "critical day," Mark! It sounds like exactly the cure for us growing-list people, who can't get over the balance between dismissing things vs. letting every nice little thing stand out. My list has plenty of appealing things on it that want to stand out, even though I've already started enough projects to keep me very, very busy for a long time. "Input = Output" ought to help tremendously!
September 12, 2011 at 20:08 | Registered CommenterBernie
Fingers crossed! I always load up with way more than I can handle, and it takes me 2 weeks to recover each time I take a week off.
September 12, 2011 at 20:22 | Registered CommenterCricket
The words "Final Version" evoke memory of similar words, "Final Fantasy" which turned out to be a never ending series of new final fantasies, which is rather ironic. I hope your Final turns out to be more than just fantasy.

On topic: Input=Output is a good idea if you can make it work. I've been trying a similar constraint in my home AF system with mixed success.
September 12, 2011 at 21:07 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan:

<< I've been trying a similar constraint in my home AF system with mixed success. >>

It's not a constraint - it happens automatically.
September 12, 2011 at 23:30 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I guessed as much, as it's awkward trying to manage it oneself. I have lots of questions about what happens to the stuff that doesn't fit. I'm sure people would not be happy if they were simply dropped. Probably such questions won't be answered yet.
September 12, 2011 at 23:47 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan:

They are not simply dropped.
September 12, 2011 at 23:51 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I know /-)
September 13, 2011 at 1:23 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Please don't use the word "Final" because it won't be. :)

It may be better to name the new system as "AutoFocus TE" if this system is similar to AutoFucs, or "SuperFocus TE" if similar to SuperFocus.
September 13, 2011 at 1:57 | Unregistered Commenterbox
+JMJ+

Ah, so the Final Version is, as I suppose, also time based, like DWM. Is the "1-2-7" still in the system or has it evolved out of it?
September 13, 2011 at 4:05 | Registered Commenternuntym
Hopefully I will be "Finally Focused".
September 13, 2011 at 5:37 | Unregistered CommenterHindsight
nuntym:

<< Ah, so the Final Version is, as I suppose, also time based, like DWM. >>

I think I said already that it was partly based on DWM.

<< Is the "1-2-7" still in the system or has it evolved out of it? >>

It's still there - whatever it means.
September 13, 2011 at 8:01 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I'm dusting off my diary/planner in anticipation!
September 13, 2011 at 8:42 | Registered CommenterAlison Reeves
Today, tomorrow, next week?
September 13, 2011 at 8:46 | Unregistered CommenterMike
Alison:

<< I'm dusting off my diary/planner in anticipation! >>

An ordinary notebook (or electronic equivalent) is all that is needed.
September 13, 2011 at 11:42 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Finding out a little more about the principles of your new system is very interesting.

Thanks for this piece, Mark.
September 13, 2011 at 11:43 | Unregistered CommenterRich
Mike:

<< Today, tomorrow, next week? >>

Wild guesses will get you nowhere!
September 13, 2011 at 11:44 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
box:

<< if this system is similar to AutoFucs >>

Now that really would be a system!
September 13, 2011 at 11:47 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark:

<At the same time the principle of balancing the rational and intuitive brain has also been adhered to, making a synthesis between the unique principles of DIT and the subsequent systems.>

I find this very interesting indeed. Particularly so as I have routinely switched between DIT and AF over the last few years because I miss the features mentioned of each. The features seem juxtaposed. So I do wonder how this can be reconciled!
September 13, 2011 at 20:35 | Registered Commenterleon
Even though I doubt it will be truly final even if you waited 10 years to release it,

it sounds like you may actually hit very close to absolutely right when

balancing rational/intuitive with hours available to produce in a system that "begs" for more work.

I've always loved DIT over the AF/SF systems.

How about calling it the MF Productivity System? You could market it as the Maximum Focus, but know it stands for Mark Forster. ;)

Robert
September 14, 2011 at 13:47 | Unregistered CommenterRobert
Robert:

<< Even though I doubt it will be truly final even if you waited 10 years to release it, >>

It's final in the sense that I intend it to be the final system that I produce.
September 14, 2011 at 21:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Sounds like it is going to be a "New Beginning" for many of us.
September 19, 2011 at 15:37 | Registered CommenterBKK

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