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« Many thanks | Main | The Final Version - first look »

A good question

In the comments to my previous post Mauricio asks:

“I am excited about the Final Version. However, I have to ask, how is the Final Version superior / more conducive to productivity than Superfocus?”

The main difference is that both SuperFocus and AutoFocus tend to result initially in the minor/easy tasks being processed first, while the “squeeze” is only put on the more difficult tasks gradually. In the Final Version this is not the case.

An associated problem with SuperFocus/AutoFocus is that there is a tendency for the list to get packed with easy tasks which give an illusion of progress. What is actually happening though is that the easy tasks on a page get dealt with quickly, while the more difficult tasks only get dealt with a few at a time. So typically a new page will have 30-40 per cent of its tasks dealt with on the first couple of passes, but in later passes the proportion of tasks will fall dramatically. This results in a large number of active pages.

In the Final Version  there is no pay-off for packing the list with easy tasks, so the length of the list is dramatically reduced. The processing of tasks is much more even throughout the list, with the result that the list tends to be concentrated on a few pages (my current list has 4 pages, but there are only 2 tasks each on the first and last pages).

Also unlike SuperFocus/AutoFocus, the Final Version list is dealt with as one list. The page divisions are not significant (and in electronic versions are not needed at all).

Reader Comments (9)

A very thorough answer, thank you very much.

I came back to see whether you answered my comment, as I saw the word "Comments" on your list, and behold I see my comment take an article of its own :D
February 8, 2012 at 18:22 | Unregistered CommenterMauricio
Hi Mark,

I'm really curios to see how one (not-seperated) list will work, since the key of all your systems was a closed list - or did I get you wrong? I hope, SF is going to work just as fine for me as it does now. After all, it will take its time to write the book...
February 8, 2012 at 19:00 | Unregistered CommenterJohanna
Ok, that does it, I'm intrigued.
February 8, 2012 at 20:13 | Registered Commenteravrum
It feels like you're solving the right problem. Looking forward to FV (eagerly).
February 8, 2012 at 21:17 | Unregistered CommenterAsim Jalis
Reading your web posts is like being a starving person (us) watching someone (you) eat a juicy steak. You're teasing us! But you probably know that. ;c)
February 12, 2012 at 17:04 | Unregistered CommenterScott

I'm not really trying to tease you, just keep the interest alive. It has taken a lot longer than I expected to get this working properly.
February 12, 2012 at 17:43 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Scott, if you can bear it, join us in the forum as we discuss recipes for roast beef. It's not quite as good, but it's still filling :-)
February 12, 2012 at 19:06 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Mark, in the same vein, can you tell us how the Final Version improves upon DWM?
February 23, 2012 at 7:17 | Registered CommenterBernie

<< can you tell us how the Final Version improves upon DWM? >>

1. It doesn't rely on expiry deadlines to provide the motive power.

2. It's much more immediate in producing the right task at the right time.

3. It doesn't leave you with an indigestible chunk of difficult tasks which have to be done or lost.

4. It deals with all tasks on the same basis.

5. It produces a much greater degree of psychological readiness.

6. It's easier to keep the entire list under control.

7. It doesn't allow tasks to build up resistance.

8. It works equally well with a short list as a long list.

9. It's easy to extract a shorter list (e.g. for travel) and use the same methods to process the shorter list.

I'm sure I can think of some more if I try!
February 23, 2012 at 8:32 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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