My Latest Book

Product Details

Also available on,, and other Amazons and bookshops worldwide! 

To Think About . . .
Within a sequence of decisions, your most hesitant and vague decision will have the greatest effect on the overall consequences. Alexander Cortes
My Other Books

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Click to order other recommended books.

Find Us on Facebook Badge

Search This Site
Latest Comments
« New System Update | Main | Critical day today »

So where has it got to today?

Last Friday I said that over the next week or so I expected the Final Version system to weed out my list of tasks to a sustainable number. At that stage I had 129 separate tasks on my list, which included 74 which were supposed to recur at least once a day.

As of this morning (Tuesday) I have 76 separate tasks of which 36 are supposed to recur at least once a day. Many of the recurring tasks are housekeeping tasks which only take a few minutes (or even seconds) - provided they are kept on top of. I’ve also split some of the previous tasks (such as “Exercise”) down into small packets so the reduction has actually been greater than the figures suggest.

There may be some more weeding over the next few days, but most of it has now been achieved.

The question now is of course: “Is what is left the right stuff?”

My feeling is that it is, though it will take some more time to be absolutely sure.

So far then I am very encouraged.

Reader Comments (12)

Mark F: The question now is of course: “Is what is left the right stuff?”

What exactly is "the right stuff"?
September 13, 2011 at 11:56 | Unregistered CommenterChris L

<< What exactly is "the right stuff"? >>

Well, exactly - that's the question.
September 13, 2011 at 12:33 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Looking forward to the final version unveiling...any clue as to when readers might the details of the system?

Thanks for all you do.

September 13, 2011 at 14:03 | Unregistered CommenterNeal Ashley
I wonder if the remaining activities point in the direction of the future vision, or if a future vision helps the process.
September 13, 2011 at 18:10 | Registered Commentermichael
Hmm. What if you were only allowed to add exactly the same number of new lines that you crossed off the day before (or be forced to dismiss). :)
September 13, 2011 at 18:13 | Unregistered CommenterFoobar

Can you clarify: How did you get from 74 daily recurring tasks to 36?


September 13, 2011 at 21:44 | Unregistered CommenterFerris Wren

<< Can you clarify: How did you get from 74 daily recurring tasks to 36? >>

I'm afraid you are going to have to wait until the system is published for that information.
September 13, 2011 at 22:28 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Ferris asked Mark:
<< Can you clarify: How did you get from 74 daily recurring tasks to 36? >>

Yes, this is of interest to me too. In SF/AF1 if you act upon your recurring tasks daily it will stay in your system almost continuously on last page (and prior). Having a page length of say 25 lines, and daily recurring tasks of double that means your SF/AF1 last few pages will be almost completely filled with the recurring tasks. Especially, if you barely made it through all your SF/AF1 pages daily.

Looking forward to see how Mark separates out these daily recurring in the upcoming final version.
September 14, 2011 at 0:39 | Unregistered Commentersabre235

@Ferris and sabre235: My guess on how Mark is doing the weeding of recurrent items is what I would call the "redefinition" of tasks. This is what I am doing in my system now. It is based on those seminal triple numbers "1-2-7"

It goes like this: there are four types of main items in the system: undefined, recurrent, unfinished, and active items. Each item have peculiar characteristics in the system, of which they are described below:

___1) Undefined items, no matter when they were written on the system, can be acted upon anytime, but there are NO undefined items older than seven days.
___2) Recurrent and unfinished items can be acted on only if they were lingering since yesterday in the system. If they are only written just this day, they cannot be acted upon. However, there are NO recurrent/unfinished items older than yesterday.
___3) Active items are when either of the three types of items above are activated. However, there are NO items that are active for longer than today.

So how does this work? Let's say we have a list of items, all labeled for now as "undefined." Before you start, you draw a line across below the last item to close the list. Once you work on an item, it is <redefined> as an "active" item. It remains an "active" item, even if you stop working on it for now, as long as you plan to return to it sometime later today. You can also <redefine> more items as "active" when needed. Lastly, you can still write more items to the end of the list, but they will start as "undefined".

Once you are sure that you have done what you can for your "active" item for today, you then decide: have you (a) finished it, (b) finished it but have to do it again tomorrow, or (c) left it unfinished? If it is (a), then you cross it out. If it is (b) then you rewrite it at the end of the list <redefined> as a "recurrent" item. If it is (c) then you rewrite it at the bottom of the list <redefined> as an "unfinished" item. Note that when you have <redefined> the item as "recurrent" or "unfinished" then it cannot be worked on today, but you marked it as to be worked on again tomorrow.

Now, at the end of the day, you <redefine> any of the "active" tasks left as "recurrent" or "unfinished", or delete altogether. You then close the list with a line to denote that the list is ready for tomorrow.

The next day, you have now, at the part of the list you closed as yesterday, a list of tasks that you have defined as "recurrent" and "unfinished". You can now work the list as described previously, and ALL the items in the yesterday section can now be acted upon. The difference is at the end of the day: before you close this day, any "unfinished" and "recurrent" items left in the yesterday division of the list are crossed out and rewritten at the end of the list <redefined> as "undefined." The reasoning for this is that since the recurrent were not worked on today, they couldn't be defined as "recurrent", and since the unfinished were not worked on today, maybe it is best if they are left unfinished. HOWEVER, note that the redefined items were NOT dismissed, and therefore can still be worked on anytime, but rather stripped of their "recurrent/unfinished" distinction since, apparently, they are not very important for you. You can then close the list with a line.

This goes on for the next few days until at the seventh day. Any "undefined" task left that are seven days old are dismissed.

But anyways, that's my guess on Mark's system, and how my system works in general right now.

God bless.
September 14, 2011 at 7:25 | Registered Commenternuntym

That bears no resemblance to my system at all, apart from the fact that they are both about managing tasks.

That's not intended to be a criticism of your system, which has got some interesting ideas in it.
September 14, 2011 at 12:50 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Nuntym's bears a passing resemblance to my work system, except there is no treatment of recurring, and no 7 day dismissal, but other features in their place.
September 14, 2011 at 13:10 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu

Thanks Mark!

Hey Alan, how's your system?
September 17, 2011 at 20:10 | Registered Commenternuntym

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.