My Latest Book

Product Details

Also available on Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, and other Amazons and bookshops worldwide! 

To Think About . . .
Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment. Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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
Log-in
« Speed Update: Day 3 | Main | Speed Update: Day 1 »
Sunday
Sep252011

Speed Update: Day 2

I’ve now taken action on 130 tasks over two days, making a daily average of 65 tasks.

There are 51 unactioned tasks on my list, which means that the number of days’ work left in the system is 0.78 days - a slight increase over yesterday.

The oldest task on the list dates from today.

Commentary

The average number of tasks actioned per day has increased from 61 yesterday to 65 today, but the number of days’ work remaining has also increased from 0.64 to 0.78 days. So although I did more tasks than yesterday, I added more tasks than I did.

Every one of the 100 tasks put on the list yesterday has now been actioned.

Now before anyone gets too excited about this, please note that I was achieving even higher speeds with AutoFocus when I first started with it. See http://www.markforster.net/blog/2008/12/19/future-developments-update-no-1.html

What eventually happened with AutoFocus was that the list gradually got longer and longer and as a result it took longer and longer for me to action the tasks which I was resisting the most. In other words there was a high speed of actioning easy stuff and a much slower speed of actioning the difficult stuff.

Another result of the list getting longer was that urgent tasks had to be dealt with outside the system.

For various reasons I don’t think this is going to happen with the Final Version. There certainly won’t be a problem with urgent tasks - that’s fully covered. It’s also much less easy for difficult tasks to languish. But what I do need to verify is whether the size of the list is going to stabilize at a reasonably small size. My earlier experience of testing the system encourages me to think that it may.

Reader Comments (10)

looking good. although I get a sense from previous posts that taking action on a task might mean very minute progress like simply writing down an item on the list so that it is crossed out.
September 26, 2011 at 6:42 | Unregistered Commenterwing
wing:

This is why I stress that the important thing is not the number of tasks done, because everyone "slices" their tasks differently, but the amount of work left in the system.
September 26, 2011 at 8:14 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, I don't understand your measurement. You say, you have actioned 65 tasks and there are 51 unactioned tasks on the list. But I understand that these 65 tasks have moved forward a bit but not yet finished. Thus, many of the 51 unactioned tasks probably require several steps until they are finished. Don't you compare steps which you have done today with complete tasks which are still on the list - and many of them will require more than one step to be done. Is the ratio unactioned tasks / tasks actioned today really meaningful?

Wolfgang
September 26, 2011 at 11:22 | Unregistered CommenterWowi
Wowi:

<< But I understand that these 65 tasks have moved forward a bit but not yet finished. >>

No, that's completely wrong. What would be correct to say is that these 65 tasks include several which have been re-entered one or more times, and that a few of them (2 or 3) need further re-entry before they are finished.

<< Don't you compare steps which you have done today with complete tasks which are still on the list? >>

It would I suppose be possible to work out the average number of entries per completed task and multiply the number of tasks remaining by that figure.

My guess would be that the figure would be about 1.2. That means you can adjust the amount of work remaining in the system last night up to 0.94 days if you wish.

It makes no difference to how the ratio varies over time, and that progression is what I'm really interested in.

<< Is the ratio unactioned tasks / tasks actioned today really meaningful? >>

To answer that question you only have to ask yourself whether it would make any meaningful difference if I reported in one month's time that:

a) the number of days' work in the system had risen to 7 days.

or

b) the number of days' work in the system had remained below 1 day.
September 26, 2011 at 12:14 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark

This is profound.

But seriously, please do look up the Chinese Taoist concept of Wu Wei in wikipedia. The concept of effortless doing (a point of non-action where nothing is left undone), may provide the philosophical underpinning for your work.
September 26, 2011 at 12:52 | Unregistered Commenterwing
wing:

Thanks. I don't need to look it up myself. I'm well acquainted with the concept.
September 26, 2011 at 13:05 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark

how did you arrive at the figure 0.78 today or 0.64 yesterday for the number of days’ work left in the system rgds
September 26, 2011 at 13:13 | Unregistered Commenterwing
wing:

<< how did you arrive at the figure 0.78 today or 0.64 yesterday for the number of days’ work left in the system ? >>

I divided the unactioned tasks remaining on the list (51) by the average number of tasks actioned per day (65).
September 26, 2011 at 14:55 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I'm wondering how the counting is actually done.

Tasks remaining is easy -- just count all the active tasks on the list.

Tasks completed is more ambiguous. Do you count all the crossed-through tasks on your list, and subtract the previous days' counts of crossed-through tasks?

Mark asked me to count these ratios for my own OneNote-based system. But tasks don't get crossed through in that system. They get deleted, archived for future reference, or moved forward for further action. I haven't been able to think of another way to count -- unless I keep a running tally as I work through the day. But that would slow me down too much, and I'd probably forget to do it, making the count inaccurate.
September 26, 2011 at 18:31 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

<< Tasks completed is more ambiguous. Do you count all the crossed-through tasks on your list, and subtract the previous days' counts of crossed-through tasks? >>

No, it's not the total for the day. It's the overall total. That is then divided by the number of days the list has been going to give the average number of tasks actioned per day.
September 26, 2011 at 21:53 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.