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« Key Principles of the New System II: Universal Capture | Main | So where has it got to today? »
Friday
Sep162011

New System Update

Having tested the Final Version successfully by initially putting everything I could think of into it (including all my old to do lists), I decided yesterday I had better also test it with an alternative method of start-up - which is to build the list up gradually. Using this method one commences by just writing down a few tasks which one wants to be getting on with, and then by adding further tasks as one thinks of them or as they come up in the normal course of work. This is the method I would usually recommend people to use.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods:

1) With the “everything at once” method, you can be sure you haven’t forgotten anything. On the other hand some of what you put in the list may not be relevant any longer, and during the period during which the system reduces the list to a manageable size there is a lack of focus of effort. You could of course spend some time editing and weeding the tasks before entering them in the system but, since the whole idea of a “universal capture” system is that you don’t pre-edit, it might be considered contrary to the aim of the system.

2) With the “gradual build-up” method, there is less initial strain on the system. All the tasks will be current and fresh and the weeding out will be much less drastic. There is however a danger that some important work may be forgotten - though in practice I have always found this is less of a problem than one would think.

Once the list has grown to a reasonable size, I’ll report back to tell you how I am progressing.

Reader Comments (28)

Sounds good, Mark. In the past I've just used my previous list when moving to one of your newer systems, but this time I think I'll try the gradual build-up method, and add a task "Check old SF list for urgent stuff". Good luck with your experimenting - can't wait to see the new system.
September 16, 2011 at 11:44 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1
Hi Mark,

This is becoming annoying... I'm really curious to hear about your new system and I understand your idea of raising the suspense, but right now you are losing me from your audience. Let me tell you why:

The interval between blogs is unpredictable and there is no clear progress towards revealing details about your system. The experience of watching for updates has become rather frustrating lately--to read about you starting your trial all over again makes it seem like there's no direction in your storyline.

I love your work, I hope this feedback is of help.

Regards,

Simon Hogerzeil
September 16, 2011 at 13:53 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
Simon:

<< This is becoming annoying... >>

I've made it quite clear that I am going to test this until I am sure it is the best possible that I can do. The very nature of testing is that it is unpredictable. However I have also made it clear that the system is unlikely to be ready before the end of November, if then.

What would you prefer me to do? Keep silent and never mention it for months, or post updates so you all have some idea of what is happening?

Rather than keep "watching for updates" I suggest you subscribe to the blog's RSS Feed - that's what it's there for.
September 16, 2011 at 14:31 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, I've just come across you work and I'm very interested in what you are developing.

If you ever need help testing something I would like to volunteer.

As a busy BA working for an IT department too small to really address all business problems. I need some help keeping my tasks on track and filtering critical objectives from all the noise.

A real world guinea pig for testing.

Regards,

Marcus
September 16, 2011 at 15:23 | Unregistered Commentermarcus
Marcus:

Thanks for the offer. It's possible I may ask for some testers at some stage. If I do, I will advertise for them on the blog and on my newsletter. I suggest you subscribe to one or both.
September 16, 2011 at 16:13 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
HI Mark,

Thanks for your reply. I'll have to wait till november then. I would rather learn more about your idea right now and test/discuss it together with you and the rest of the fanclub! That's the way you did it some time ago and I miss it!

Regards,

Simon
September 16, 2011 at 16:42 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
Simon:

<< That's the way you did it some time ago and I miss it! >>

I think in fact there's only been one occasion on which I've released a system without testing it thoroughly myself first. I can't remember which one it was - possibly DWM.
September 16, 2011 at 17:24 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Why don't you just go open source and open with all your new systems Mark?

Why does it have to be perfect before released for discussion?

I can't really see any advantages, people can and would give their comments and suggestions before and after it is developed.
September 16, 2011 at 17:41 | Unregistered CommenterHindsight
i'm with Simon on this one. Mark. I would rather you had kept quiet about the new system until it was much closer to the time of release. I have wasted quite a bit of time popping back to your blog over the past couple of weeks, intrigued by the little hints and teases, and eagerly following each discussion thread in the hope of learning something concrete.

While I really appreciate your work, this has served as nothing but a distraction, which I'm sure wasn't your intention. However, if it's not ready, it's not ready. Stop the teasing.
September 16, 2011 at 18:22 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor
Hindsight:

<< Why don't you just go open source and open with all your new systems Mark? >>

You will find tons of open-source discussion on this website. See for example:

Free-form notebook http://www.markforster.net/forum/post/1582112

Experimenting with systems http://www.markforster.net/forum/post/1582809

Favourite notational hacks http://www.markforster.net/forum/post/1587838
September 16, 2011 at 21:35 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Trevor:

<< However, if it's not ready, it's not ready. Stop the teasing. >>

Well, let me relieve you of your distraction. The details of this system are _not_ going to be revealed on this website. They will only be available in the book, so there is no point in your continuing to monitor either the blog or the forum until end-November which is the earliest possible time the book might be ready. It could be considerably later than that, but if you check back then you will be appraised of the latest situation.

In the meantime I will continue to provide progress reports for those interested.
September 16, 2011 at 21:43 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Thanks for the work Mark! Good luck with the new system.
September 16, 2011 at 22:45 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Thank you for that frank and clear answer, Mark. I will check back at the end of November.
September 16, 2011 at 23:48 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor
Being a bit of a wannabe myself, I appreciate how time consuming it is to do original experiment like Mark is doing. Lots of time, you come to a deadend with nothing to show (except the clutter) for your work.

appreciate your work and your sharing so generously, and found your videofocus interview with Amanda Malloy very refreshing. Just curious to know when should we prepare the closed list for tomorrow (a) on-going in the previous day, whenever an item arises in mind or (b) at end of day, trusting that we will remember items we consider important.

I think if buddhists are right about everybody having a purpose in life that they can make a unique contribution like no one else can, Mark has found his purpose. best
September 17, 2011 at 12:10 | Unregistered Commenterwing
Mark, is this going to be an ebook? When you say "book" I don't know if you mean ebook or paperback.
September 17, 2011 at 16:27 | Registered CommenterTK
wing;

<< Just curious to know when should we prepare the closed list for tomorrow (a) on-going in the previous day, whenever an item arises in mind or (b) at end of day, trusting that we will remember items we consider important. >>

(For those who haven't seen the interview with Amanda, wing is referring to the Do It Tomorrow system which was the main subject of the interview)

The idea is that the closed list is kept in a page-a-day diary or schedule. As new tasks come in they are listed on the diary page for the following day. If a task has to be done on a specific day some time in the future, it can be listed on that day. The result is that as you come to each page in the diary, you have a list already built up for that day.
September 17, 2011 at 16:28 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
TK:

<< When you say "book" I don't know if you mean ebook or paperback. >>

As I said earlier I haven't yet made any decisions on what form the book will take or how it will be distributed. My thoughts at the moment are on the lines of a printed book - but this may change.

Since not a word of the book has yet been written, I don't want to get ahead of myself here!
September 17, 2011 at 16:31 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Trevor wrote: "Stop the teasing."

But some (a lot?) of us like to be teased, and get little hints about how Mark is getting on with the new system. That's one of the reasons we come to this site.
September 17, 2011 at 17:03 | Registered Commenterubi
+JMJ+

@ubi: <<But some (a lot?) of us like to be teased, and get little hints about how Mark is getting on with the new system. That's one of the reasons we come to this site. >>

That is correct. And besides, all the speculation CAN bear fruit. Like for example the system I am using, which I mentioned here: http://www.markforster.net/blog/2011/9/13/so-where-has-it-got-to-today.html#comment15042261

If it wasn't for all the hints Mark was giving, nor if Mark had just revealed his system right away, I wouldn't have this system, which is working remarkably well for me.

God bless.
September 17, 2011 at 20:10 | Registered Commenternuntym
Mark-thanks for the info-given your targets though, it's probably worth noting that the book would be finished in November plus whatever time it takes to line this up with a publisher and get it out. No small process. Fair to say if you go that route, we're looking at seeing it in mid-2012 at the earliest.
September 17, 2011 at 22:04 | Registered CommenterTK
TK:

The one decision I have made is that I won't be using a publisher. A self-published book can be out in a matter of days from the text being finished (and illustrations if there are any). The whole self-publishing scene has changed radically since my previous books came out.
September 18, 2011 at 0:47 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
sabre235:

Thanks for the links, but please don't make any assumptions!
September 18, 2011 at 9:48 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark

Given all the translations that people from around the world have done on Autofocus and Superfocus and the blog comments from various countries it would only be fair if there was an electronic version (for sale obviously) to make it easier for people to get the book once its written. I live in the UK so a paper book will be easy enough to get hold of (I have your 3 books) but perhaps not so easy for others. We are all happy to pay - we just want to see what this system is that trumps DIT, AF and SF!!

And without trying to pry into the system will writing the book be done as a task within the Final Version system as it currently stands?

Regards
Skeg
September 18, 2011 at 20:20 | Unregistered Commenterskeg
skeg:

<< will writing the book be done as a task within the Final Version system as it currently stands? >>

Yes.
September 18, 2011 at 22:48 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark,

Please visit the site of the author of The Well-Fed Self Publisher. The book is good, but I have found the "publisher" he used for the paperback I bought created a book that is "falling apart" which is an inconvenience.

This will help your decision making for sure.

Robert
September 19, 2011 at 13:41 | Unregistered CommenterRobert
Mark, although I am consumed with curiousity about the new system, I am glad that you are planning to earn some income from it. You have given us so much in such a generous manner that I am trying hard to sit on my own impatience and wait for the big reveal.

I want to add my plea for an e-version of the final format. It would be so frustrating to have yo wait many long weeks or even a few months for a print version shipped from the UK, since not only is the shipping time extremely long, but it can sit in Customs at the point of entry for a while.

Thanks, Mark, for all that you contribute to so many of us!
September 20, 2011 at 13:57 | Registered Commentersilviastraka
I'm usually a “gradual build-up” guy who wants to grow my projects organically. But I suppose “everything at once” can probably better stress test your new system, and help us better see the system's capability. thnx & rgds
September 22, 2011 at 22:58 | Unregistered Commenterw.hong.leung@gmail.com

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