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.