My Latest Book

Product Details

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

Newsletter Mailing List
Sign Up Now
To Think About . . .
Provide for the worst; the best can take care of itself. Yiddish proverb
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
« A Day with FVP | Main | The Perfect Time Management System »
Thursday
May212015

The Final Version Perfected (FVP)

This is an amended version of the instructions for the Final Version (FV) time management system. It contains an improved algorithm and a new question.

(Chinese Traditional version by Catus Lee - external site)
 
Introduction
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here are the long-awaited instructions for the Final Version Perfected (FVP) time management system. I don’t know if it’s the best time management system ever devised. What I do know is that it is the best time management system that I have ever used myself. It’s shown itself to be even more resilient, responsive and quick than the Final Version.


FV and now FVP are based on my earlier time management systems, particularly the extensive range of AutoFocus and SuperFocus systems developed over the last five years. These were unique in that they were constantly developing with the assistance of a large band of commenters on my web-site. Anyone who has tried one or more of these systems will recognize the strong family resemblance that they have with FV and FVP. The most striking resemblance is that they are all based on one long list (either paper or electronic) which can be used to capture just about every possible action that springs into one’s mind. There is a minimum of special markings or annotations.Such a list depends on an effective algorithm to process it. There are three main requirements which have to be kept in balance. These are urgency, importance and psychological readiness. Traditional time management systems have tended to concentrate on the first two of these. The neglect of psychological readiness is probably the reason that most people don’t find time management systems particularly effective or congenial.The most distinctive feature of FVP is the way that its algorithm is primarily based on psychological readiness - this then opens the way to keeping urgency and importance in the best achievable balance.
 

The FVP  Algorithm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The FVP algorithm uses the question “What do I want to do more than x?” to preselect a chain of tasks from the list. What exactly is meant by “want” in this context is deliberately left undefined. There may be a whole variety of reasons why you might want to do one thing more than another thing and all of them are valid.The chain always starts with the first unactioned task on the list. Mark this task with a dot to show that it’s now been preselected. Don’t take any action on the task at this stage.This task then becomes the benchmark from which the next task is selected. For example, if the first task on the list is “Write Report”, the question becomes “What do I want to do more than write the report?” You move through the list in order until you come to a task which you want to do more than write the report. This task is now selected by marking it with a dot and it becomes the benchmark for the next task. If the first task you come to which you want to do before writing the report is “Check Email”, then that becomes the benchmark. The question therefore changes to “What do I want to do more than check email?”As you continue through the list you might come to “Tidy Desk” and decide you want to do that more than checking email. Select this in the same way by marking it with a dot, and change the question to “What do I want to do more than tidying my desk?”. The answer to this is probably “nothing”, so you have now finished your preselection.The preselected tasks in the example are:

Write report
Check email
Tidy desk

At this point “Tidy Desk” represents the task you most want to do at the moment. Do it.
Note that as in all my systems, you don’t have to finish the task - only do some work on it. Of course if you do finish the task that’s great, but if you don’t then all you have to do is re-enter the task at the end of the list.

Now what are you going to do next? “Check email” is the previous task you selected, but that isn’t necessarily the task you most want to do. What you can say though is that it was the task you most wanted to do up until you selected “Tidy Desk”. This means that you only need to check the tasks that come after “Tidy Desk” in the list.

So what you do next is to ask yourself “What do I want to do more than check email?” again, but you check only the tasks which come after the task you have just done (Tidy Desk).

Once you have worked your way back to the first task on the list and done it (this may never happen!), you take the next unactioned task as your root task.

That’s it! You’re now ready to go. Everything else is further examples and explanation.



A Longer Example
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In this example for ease of understanding no new tasks are added while working on the list. This of course is unlikely in real life. Your initial list of tasks:


Email
In-Tray
Voicemail
Project X Report
Tidy Desk
Call Dissatisfied Customer
Make Dental Appointment
File Invoices
Discuss Project Y with Bob
Back Up  
 
Put a dot in front of the first task:  
 
· Email
  In-Tray
  Voicemail
  Project X Report
  Tidy Desk
  Call Dissatisfied Customer
  Make Dental Appointment
  File Invoices
  Discuss Project Y with Bob
  Back Up
 
Now ask yourself ” What do I want to do more than Email?”
 
You work down the list and come to Voicemail. You decide you want to do Voicemail more than Email. Put a dot in front of it.  
 
· Email
  In-Tray
· Voicemail
  Project X Report
  Tidy Desk
  Call Dissatisfied Customer
  Make Dental Appointment
  File Invoices
  Discuss Project Y with Bob
  Back Up  
 
Now ask yourself ” What do I want to do more than Voicemail?” You decide you want to tidy your desk.  
 
· Email
  In-Tray
· Voicemail
  Project X Report
· Tidy Desk
  Call Dissatisfied Customer
  Make Dental Appointment
  File Invoices
  Discuss Project Y with Bob
  Back Up  
 
There are no tasks you want to do more than tidying your desk, so you have the following dotted tasks:
 
Email
Voicemail
Tidy Desk
 
Do the Tidy Desk task.
 
Your list will now look like this:
 
· Email
  In-Tray
· Voicemail
  Project X Report
· Tidy Desk
  Call Dissatisfied Customer
  Make Dental Appointment
  File Invoices
  Discuss Project Y with Bob
  Back Up
 
Now start again from Tidy Desk (i.e. the last task you did). and ask yourself “What do I want to do more than Voicemail?”  The only task you want to do more than Voicemail is Back Up. Do it.
 
The list now reads:
 
· Email
  In-Tray
· Voicemail
  Project X Report
· Tidy Desk
  Call Dissatisfied Customer
  Make Dental Appointment
  File Invoices
  Discuss Project Y with Bob
· Back Up
 
There are no further tasks beyond Back Up, so there is no need to check whether you want to do any tasks more than you want to do Voicemail. You just do it.


The list now reads:


· Email
  In-Tray
· Voicemail
  Project X Report
· Tidy Desk
  Call Dissatisfied Customer
  Make Dental Appointment
  File Invoices
  Discuss Project Y with Bob
· Back Up
 
 
There is only one dotted task left on the list and that is Email. You now need to check whether you want to do any of the tasks more than Email. So ask the question “What do I want to do more than Email?” You already know that you want to do Email more than In-tray, so you start scanning from the first task after the task you have just done (Voicemail).
 
You decide you want to do Make Dental Appointment more than you want to do Email, so you dot it and change the question to “What do I want to do more than Make Dental Appointment”. The answer is “Discuss Project Y”. As this is the last task on the list you do it immediately, and then do Make Dental Appointment immediately too. There’s no need to scan because you already know that you want to make the dental appoinment more than you want to file invoices.
 
The list now reads:
 
· Email
  In-Tray
· Voicemail
  Project X Report
· Tidy Desk
  Call Dissatisfied Customer
· Make Dental Appointment
  File Invoices
· Discuss Project Y with Bob
· Back Up
 
 
So the tasks on the original list have been done in the following order so far:
 
Tidy Desk
Back Up
Voicemail
Discuss Project Y with Bob
Make Dental Appointment
 
These tasks have been done in the exact order of what you want to do most at the time. There may be a huge number of factors affecting what you want to do most, but you can allow your brain to sort them out for you below the level of consciousness simply by asking the question “What do I want to do more than x?” and applying it in the way shown above.
 
 If you are having trouble following the example above, then I suggest you write the list out on paper and work through it by hand.
 

Additional Tips  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The best way to sink any time management system is to overload it right at the beginning. FVP is pretty resilient, but at this stage you aren’t. So build up the list gradually. My advice is to start off with the tasks and projects that are of immediate concern to you right now, and then add more as they come up in the natural course of things.Tasks can be added at any level, e.g. Project X, Plan Restructuring, Call Pete, Tidy Desk.


If at any stage you find that a task on the list is no longer relevant, then delete it. If you find that your preselected list is no longer relevant (e.g. if you have had a long break away from the list or some new factor has come into play), then scrap the preselection and reselect from the beginning. [Afternote July 3rd - I now don’t do this. I simply cross out any tasks which need re-prioritizing and re-enter them at the end of the  list.]


If one or more very urgent things come up, just write them at the end of the list and the algorithm will automatically select them next (assuming you do actually want to do them of course). Similarly if something already on the list becomes very urgent, then just cross it out and move it to the end of the list.Remember that the aim of any time management system is to help you to get your work done, not get in the way of doing your work. So don’t be afraid to adjust priorities as and when you need to. However don’t overdo this - stick to the rules when possible as they will ensure you deal with your work in a systematic way.
 
Why It Works
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
At the beginning of this article I said there were three factors which every time management system needs to address: urgency, importance and psychological readiness. Let’s see how FVP deals with each of these.


Urgency. Because of the nature of the preselection process, urgent tasks tend to get selected because generally speaking the human brain wants to do things that it knows are urgent. If things come up that are particularly urgent they can be added to the preselected list at any time.

Importance. Generally speaking the human brain is a bit less keen on doing important stuff than it is on doing urgent stuff. This is particularly the case when the important stuff is difficult. However the FVP preselection process ensures that the entire list is kept under continuous review and your brain will start to flag up that it wants you to get on with stuff it thinks you might be neglecting. If this doesn’t happen, then it’s likely to be because you would be better off getting rid of it altogether.

Psychological Readiness. This is where FVP really enters new dimensions. By using a pre-selection process, the brain is softened up towards the selected tasks. But this isn’t all. The selection process is based on what you want to do. This colours the whole preselected list so that even tasks which seem like chores get affected.

Reader Comments (159)

Thank you Mark. I do like that change as urgent things sneak onto my list and currently I end up abandoning my Final Version selections to do them. I will start using this method this morning.

Also, I would like to thank you for your wonderful efforts over the years to help out the miserable procrastinators of the world. You are a remarkable person and I hope you keep devising new systems for years to come.
May 21, 2015 at 12:43 | Unregistered CommenterEric
Eric:

Thanks for the kind words.

I think I might have inadvertently published the article before I'd completed amending the original FV instructions. So do read it through again to make sure you get all the amendments.
May 21, 2015 at 13:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
This looks really great. I'm not certain how I'll implement this in Evernote. What I've been doing is selecting my chain and moving those tasks from my master task notebook (labeled ".FV") to a separate notebook called ".Chain". This revision - which looks fantastic – requires the chain to stay embedded in the master list to work. I'm sure there's a simple solution, but I haven't figured it out. If anybody has any ideas, please share!
May 21, 2015 at 13:49 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Esget
I think I've got it: "Reminders". Adding a reminder doesn't change the "updated" date, allowing the chain to appear neatly in a list at the top, while keeping all items in their place.
May 21, 2015 at 13:53 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Esget
Mark
Always been more of a AF rather than FV fan but will try this. Looks interesting and will really be tested and come into its own when items keep getting added to the list. My one question is when does the first item get done? In your case its email so its likely that you will quickly get to that being the thing you most want to do but if it is dealing with a disciplinary matter or writing a really hard report when do you think you will "want" to do it. Presumably when it becomes urgent and the interpretation of "want" becomes "want to keep my job"!

Looks interesting and going to give it a go as urgent items usually derail me from AF
May 21, 2015 at 13:54 | Unregistered Commenterskeg
skeg:

<< My one question is when does the first item get done? >>

As I said in the instructions "This may never happen". Certainly there is no guarantee that the first item will ever get done, and in my experience of working the system so far it's taken far longer to work back to the first item than it did with FV. But this is all to the good since there's nothing special about being the first item. The algorithm should ensure that everything is done in the correct order, wherever it is in the list. Again as I said in the instructions, there are loads of reasons why you might want to do something. It's best just to let your mind decide below the level of conscious thought.

I rewrote my list on getting back from holiday as a lot of it was no longer valid. So it's been going for two and a half days. Of the first fourteen items only two haven't been done yet and there are good reasons for both of these - so it doesn't seem to be a problem.
May 21, 2015 at 14:03 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Woah! That was one really close guess!

I am going to try this. I especially like how it uses, as you put it, which task I want to do the most from the list.
May 21, 2015 at 14:04 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

<< Woah! That was one really close guess! >>

It's much quicker than your guess, especially with a lsong list. The key was when I realized that one has already established that there is nothing one want to do more than the next task between it and the task one has just done. I don't know why it took me so long to see that.
May 21, 2015 at 14:15 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I want to echo our community sentiments that what you do for us is peerless. Thank you.

On the new system, how do we handle graciously from one page to the other. Meaning in my notebook, I have 25 items per page and when the dot is on the first page and I am working on the 3rd page, the inertia of visting the first page is high. Not sure, if I am structuring my question well.

Otherwise, I like the decision flexibility of tackling all items below the dot.
May 21, 2015 at 15:18 | Unregistered CommenterHyagrev
The formatting of this blog post isn't rendering properly in the Safari browser on Apple iOS (iPhone 6). The right margin cuts off text, starting below "The FVP Algorithm" heading. It works fine in the Safari browser on Mac OS X (desktop/notebook), however.
May 21, 2015 at 15:28 | Registered Commenterubi
Very nice! Looks like a great balance between FIFO (first in, first out) and LIFO (last in, first out). (FIFO ensures completion, LIFO ensures responsiveness.)
May 21, 2015 at 15:37 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
I think I understand this refinement to the algorithm. But doesn't it assume that relative desires remain static among the preselected tasks? I can imagine my readiness changing midstream, if a chain is long, or if I take a long time on one of the tasks.
May 21, 2015 at 15:40 | Registered Commenterubi
Thanks for this, Mark.

When I first read through the instructions, I didn't get it: I just saw a minor tweak to the question. The second time, when I took in the algorithm change, emphasized by the fact that the user might never get back to the root task - I got the difference, and saw that this really is a quite new system.

Regarding ubi's point about our desires changing with time: I foresee that the list will need continual review from this point of view.
May 21, 2015 at 16:04 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
@ubi - I would assume this instruction from FV is still valid - maybe Mark can confirm.

<< If you find that your preselected list is no longer relevant (e.g. if you have had a long break away from the list), then scrap the preselection and reselect from the beginning. A shorter way to do this is to reselect only from the last preselected task which you haven't done yet. >>

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs004/1100358239599/archive/1109511856508.html
May 21, 2015 at 16:31 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Looks like a great tweak to an excellent system. It makes perfect sense. Thank you for sharing it with us for free! I'll be trying this out with my current list today.
May 21, 2015 at 16:32 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Mills
ubi:

<< The formatting of this blog post isn't rendering properly in the Safari browser on Apple iOS (iPhone 6). The right margin cuts off text, starting below "The FVP Algorithm" heading. >>

That's probably because I entered the text directly from the newsletter article. The format may not be compatible with Squarespace. I'll have a go at cleaning up the text first thing tomorrow. I can't do it this evening because I'm out.
May 21, 2015 at 17:08 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hyagrev:

<< On the new system, how do we handle graciously from one page to the other. Meaning in my notebook, I have 25 items per page and when the dot is on the first page and I am working on the 3rd page, the inertia of visting the first page is high. Not sure, if I am structuring my question well. >>

I'm not sure I quite understand what the problem is here. Could you rephrase it to make it a bit clearer.
May 21, 2015 at 17:11 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
ubi:

<< But doesn't it assume that relative desires remain static among the preselected tasks? I can imagine my readiness changing midstream, if a chain is long, or if I take a long time on one of the tasks. >>

I think you are still thinking in terms of FV, where the object is to finish a chain. The object in FVP is to do the thing you most want to do at the present time. The algorithm is there to help you to identify and select that quickly. It doesn't matter whether a chain gets finished or not. Whenever you find that your relative desires have changed, just re-prioritize.
May 21, 2015 at 17:15 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Seraphim:

<< @ubi - I would assume this instruction from FV is still valid - maybe Mark can confirm. >>

It's still in the revised instructions but the final sentence ("A shorter way...") has been removed as it is now part of the algorithm.

I recommend re-prioritizing at the start of each day as a minimum.
May 21, 2015 at 17:22 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Mark - Ah! Great! Somehow I missed that you included this in the new instructions. Great to see it's there.
May 21, 2015 at 17:31 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
> urgent tasks tend to get selected because
> generally speaking the human brain wants
> to do things that it knows are urgent

I see a problem with a list like this:

1. urgent task I don't like to do
2. not urgent task I like to do
3. not urgent task I like to do
4. not urgent task I like to do

The algorithm, here, makes me spend precious time on not urgent tasks 2-3-4, while urgent task 1 is (dangerously) waiting at the end of the chain.

I wonder if a better question would be "What do I want to BE DONE more than x?"
May 21, 2015 at 19:32 | Unregistered CommenterJuan
Although I'm new to Mark's productivity systems, I find this method fascinating. Now can someone tell me how this can be replicated electronically? The closest application that I can find at the moment is Blanclist (which does what it does pretty well), but I don't think there's too much development going on with their web app. If FVP can be done with just Evernote or any other app, I'd love to see a video tutorial of the same.
May 21, 2015 at 20:11 | Unregistered CommenterNaveen
Thanks for releasing this new and improved system! I really like the changes made. With FV, I would still get resistance after my chain was made because it felt so rigid and when things get too rigid for me, I feel like a slave to my list (even though I thoughtfully chose them). So, I am excited with the idea of making the selection process more dynamic and in-the-moment.

Naveen: Right now I'm experimenting with Workflowy (www.workflowy.com) for FVP. It can strikethrough tasks, bold (for dots), and easily duplicate tasks for dragging & dropping to the bottom of the list. Perhaps someone should start a FVP thread dedicated to electronic porting?
May 21, 2015 at 21:57 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel T.
Juan:

<< I wonder if a better question would be "What do I want to BE DONE more than x?" >>

It's not a good idea to theorize without having actually tried it out. Give the system a fair trail for a week or so as it is written, and THEN you are qualified to suggest amendments.
May 21, 2015 at 23:37 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Everyone:

I would like to stress a point which I have made over and over again during the last seven years. Give a new system a fair trial as it is written BEFORE you make your own alterations. Otherwise you will have never actually used the system as it is intended to be used.

http://ronjeffries.com/xprog/articles/jatbaseball/
May 21, 2015 at 23:39 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Everyone:

I would also like to make the point that although FVP resembles FV, it actually works out in a very different way, You need to stop thinking in terms of FV, and give this system a fair trial as it is.
May 21, 2015 at 23:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
What does FVP do which you cannot get by writing (or just being aware of) a short list of things you want to do in the next few days, and then doing whatever you want most to do from it at the present time, ensuring that you finish them all? I find this has the advantage of staying focused on short term requirements, everything gets finished, and there are no dots or questions to ask.
May 22, 2015 at 1:29 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Swipes would work well with this. Preselect dot is built in to both web and phone apps, but you have to check "add tasks at bottom" in settings; otherwise, new tasks appear at top. Additionally, if you are going to complete a recurring task, you'll have to clear the preselect dot or it will regenerate with the dot at next periodicity.
May 22, 2015 at 2:22 | Unregistered CommenterCorey Wofford
Mark - loving it! Just to confirm my understanding, there's no formal archiving/dismissing process with FVP, correct?
May 22, 2015 at 2:27 | Unregistered CommenterKyle Nesgood
Kyle:

"Just to confirm my understanding, there's no formal archiving/dismissing process with FVP, correct?"

... Correct.
May 22, 2015 at 4:46 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Chris wrote:

"What does FVP do which you cannot get by writing (or just being aware of) a short list of things you want to do in the next few days, and then doing whatever you want most to do from it at the present time, ensuring that you finish them all?"

---

I think the issue is that a short list doesn't stay short for long. You then end up needing a system to preselect your short list, and then you keep peeking back at the non-selected list in case you've missed something or something has changed - so effectively you don't have a real short list any more.

Selecting one-by-one from a long list is too cumbersome and painful - I've tried it myself many times.

Mark's new algorithm seems to allow you to get quickly to what you most want to do in any moment from ANY-sized list.
May 22, 2015 at 7:13 | Registered CommenterFrank
@Mark Forster

>I recommend re-prioritizing at the start of each day as a minimum

Does this mean looking over the whole list from the beginning? That would imply some rule for dismissing old items to keep the list manageable.
May 22, 2015 at 7:27 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
Thank you so much Mark for this update of FV. I have some difficulties with the sentence "What do I want to do more than X" my brain is so acustomed with "What do I want to do before X" it is like automatical. Also I never really know in action what I really want to do more than something else... But I perfectly know what do I want to do in urgency ie before selecting an item...

For the moment it is very hard with my brain wich does not accept the sentence.

About the processing, I like it very much it reminds me AF2 ? and it treats the question about what doing with the first item of the list...

Anyway, I have a question. I remember you said somewhere the system was able to treat also brainstorming in the list. How do you do it ?
May 22, 2015 at 7:34 | Unregistered CommenterJupiter
The strange thing is that I actually considered using this method, but then dismissed it due to the fact that it is possible not to get to the top item in the chain... But if I accept that it works very well. I had been using it at the beginning of each day, already.

I did not think of picking from the last done item (I was just thinking of picking from the last dotted item), nice optimisation!
May 22, 2015 at 9:32 | Unregistered CommenterNenad Ristic
Chris:

<< What does FVP do which you cannot get by writing (or just being aware of) a short list of things you want to do in the next few days, and then doing whatever you want most to do from it at the present time, ensuring that you finish them all? I find this has the advantage of staying focused on short term requirements, everything gets finished, and there are no dots or questions to ask. >>

A good question to which Frank has given a good answer.

But you can really only understand the difference by trying it out.
May 22, 2015 at 10:08 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Kyle Nesgood:

<< Mark - loving it! Just to confirm my understanding, there's no formal archiving/dismissing process with FVP, correct? >>

That's correct. Though I recommend, as for any system, that you keep the list well weeded.
May 22, 2015 at 10:11 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Chris Cooper:

<< I recommend re-prioritizing at the start of each day as a minimum.
-- Does this mean looking over the whole list from the beginning? >>

Yes

<< That would imply some rule for dismissing old items to keep the list manageable. >>

I don't really see why. Though it's never a bad idea to keep the list well weeded. But if you get into a situation where you have many pages with only one or two tasks on them, then it's probably a good idea to re-write the list. Since it doesn't depend on pages like AF1 this would not disrupt the process.
May 22, 2015 at 10:17 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Jupiter:

<< Thank you so much Mark for this update of FV. I have some difficulties with the sentence "What do I want to do more than X" my brain is so acustomed with "What do I want to do before X" it is like automatical. >>

You could continue to use the old question. The algorithm will work perfectly well with the old question or any other similar one. But I'd recommend giving the new question a fair trial first - it may just be a matter of getting used to it. My experience is that it works better than the old question, but if it doesn't work for you that's fine.

<< I remember you said somewhere the system was able to treat also brainstorming in the list. How do you do it ? >>

Write down the brainstormed ideas as items on the list. Then during the evaluation phase, delete the ones that are obviously not going to work and leave the others on the list as tasks.
May 22, 2015 at 10:26 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Nenad Ristic:

<< I did not think of picking from the last done item (I was just thinking of picking from the last dotted item), nice optimisation! >>

Yes, that was the insight that made the whole thing viable for me.
May 22, 2015 at 10:31 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
hi,

I understand that the question has changed, but what is the algorithm difference with the previous one from FV? I guess i'm missing something.
May 22, 2015 at 11:02 | Unregistered Commenterjerome
jerome:

<< I understand that the question has changed, but what is the algorithm difference with the previous one from FV? I guess i'm missing something. >>

Have you worked through the example on paper as I suggested in the instructions? It should come clear to you if you do.
May 22, 2015 at 11:15 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
<<Naveen: Right now I'm experimenting with Workflowy (www.workflowy.com) for FVP. It can strikethrough tasks, bold (for dots), and easily duplicate tasks for dragging & dropping to the bottom of the list. Perhaps someone should start a FVP thread dedicated to electronic porting?>>

Thanks Daniel. Workflowy looks to be just the minimal, uncluttered solution I seemed to be looking for. Btw, here's a video demonstrating how FV can be used within Workflowy. Hopefully using FVP in Workflowy shouldn't be radically different from this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPahiQfo4jE
May 22, 2015 at 11:25 | Unregistered CommenterNaveen
Hi.

Maybe there's a little typo in the algorithm description:
The *FV* algorithm uses the question “What do I want to do more than x?” to preselect a chain of tasks from the list."

Should be:
The *FVP* algorithm uses the question “What do I want to do more than x?” to preselect a chain of tasks from the list.

Good work!
I will get it a try!
May 22, 2015 at 11:43 | Unregistered Commenterscottmir
scottmir:

<< Maybe there's a little typo in the algorithm description >>

Well spotted! I've corrected it.
May 22, 2015 at 11:58 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
"I think the issue is that a short list doesn't stay short for long."

Understood but that's not what I'm describing. Our lives consist of an endless amount of tasks from our obligations, committments, projects, hopes, dreams, etc. What matters is that the things that we need or want to get done are getting done.

I achieve this by targeting work that matters (because I want or need to do it) over the next few days. I tend to have snippets of stuff relating to the endless tasks in a text file and just know the rest in my head. You could think of that as the growing long list if you like. I get on with the stuff that matters over the next few days and get it done. You could think of that as the short list I described but I tend to not have an actual list. I've been working like this for a few years, and everything that I want to get done is getting done with no stress, and I have that single text file for anything further out I want to note.

FVP is a structured method for also getting these things done. However it requires that you actually do create and maintain the long list in the form of tasks and then select repeated short lists of tasks using the algorithm. For me that would add a huge amount of work, when what actually matters, however you do this, is getting stuck in and doing it and that's down to individual tenacity, temperament and psychology. I've spoken previously about my views on how systems can offset some of that but then are frequently gamed by the individual, leading to temporary gains (you see this when diets 'fail' and when people hop from one productivity system to another looking for the 'right' one).

I'll watch to see how people engage with FVP with interest and thanks to Mark for thinking about and trying these systematic approaches and making them available to try out.
May 22, 2015 at 13:18 | Unregistered CommenterChris
@ Juan

Note that the FVP question isn't equivalent to "What would I like to do more than X?" or "What would I enjoy doing more than X?" It's simply "What do I want to do more than X?" One might "want" to do one task more than another for any number of reasons; in particular, you may want to do an urgent-but-unpleasant task before you get to the non-urgent task you like to do, because otherwise big trouble will ensue.

It's also worth noting that how much you want to do a task is generally a function of how you are thinking about it. For example, you may dread making a phone call to a dissatisfied customer if you picture him swearing at you, telling you you'll hear from his attorney, and slamming down the phone. But you could also think of the call as an opportunity to turn him into a happy customer who will recommend your business to his friends. Chores like cleaning out the garage or the refrigerator can be made more or less enjoyable depending on how you are thinking about it.
May 22, 2015 at 14:02 | Unregistered CommenterRichard
Chris:

<< what actually matters, however you do this, is getting stuck in and doing it and that's down to individual tenacity, temperament and psychology. >>

As I've said before (but perhaps not as often as I should have), the ultimate judge of any TM system, or lack of one, is what we achieve as a result.
May 22, 2015 at 14:11 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, long-time lurker and FV user for several months. Put FVP to use this morning. Really, really appreciate your work.

Forgive me if this is in a forum somewhere, but how do you handle "waiting for" item (i.e., items that are in someone else's court at the moment, but are necessary for me to proceed with a project). I have tended to add them to my FV list, and preselect them when I "want" to follow-up on it. Am I on target?
May 22, 2015 at 14:57 | Unregistered CommenterEvan Collier
Evan Collier:

<< how do you handle "waiting for" item (i.e., items that are in someone else's court at the moment, but are necessary for me to proceed with a project). I have tended to add them to my FV list, and preselect them when I "want" to follow-up on it.>>

Sounds fine to me!
May 22, 2015 at 15:08 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I've reformatted the text of the article since it wasn't fitting into Safari - I hope it's an improvement.
May 22, 2015 at 15:11 | 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.