I’m experimenting at the moment with some improvements to the system I described in the previous post.
Nothing comes without a price, so here are the advantages and disadvantages of the changes:
Greater sense of progress and forward movement
Faster completion of large tasks once they have been started
More disciplined approach to urgent tasks
No need for two physically separate lists - they can be separated by drawing a line as in AF4.
Introduces an element of compulsion
Loses some of the speed of reaction to urgent tasks
Here are the changes:
1) The AF4 concepts of “scanning” and “making a pass” through the Old List are re-introduced. The signal to move to the New List is making a complete pass through the Old List without any tasks being selected for working on (as in AF4).
2) When a task on the Old List is started but not finished, it is left where it is, rather than being re-entered. It is marked with a dot so it can be identified.
3) Every time you make a pass through the Old List, the dotted tasks must be worked on. This means that you cannot move to the New List while there are dotted tasks on the Old List except under rules 4 and 5.
4) You cannot do the same task twice in succession without an intervening task. This means that if you take some action on a dotted task and then no other task stands out for action when you scan round the list again, the dotted task is ignored for that time only and you can pass to the New List.
5) If you are processing the Old List and a task on the New List becomes urgent, mark it with a dot. As soon as you have completed your current scan of the Old List you move to the New List to do the task(s) marked as urgent - and those tasks only.
I stress that I have not tested these modifications out fully, so I’m sharing them for the benefit of other people who would like to experiment with them.