In the FV/FVP Forum there has been quite a lot of discussion about the selection of tasks (which is done by putting a dot before the task).
I want to write a little bit about how to control this selection to one’s best advantage.
First of all the good news is that the process is controllable. In fact it’s possible to exercise quite a considerable degree of control without prejudicing the principle that selection should be done by intuition rather than consciously.
For instance, take the question of how you can ensure that the early tasks on your list get actioned. This can be done very easily by instructing your mind to select no tasks at all, except really urgent ones. This will take you back quite quickly to the first task on the list. How do you instruct your mind to do this? In the same way that you instruct your body to walk faster, walk slower or stand still. You just do it!
You can then instruct your mind to give preference to earlier tasks and lay off selecting recently entered tasks. That will keep you working in the early part of the list, but without having to stick rigidly to a pre-selected order. You instruct your mind in the same way you’d instruct your body to walk fast for a short time and then slow down. You can leave the mechanics of doing that to your body to sort out!
Or if you instead want to clear recently arrived minor tasks, instruct your mind to keep selecting tasks towards the end of the list. The point is that you have a large degree of control over which part of the list you are going to be working in.
You can even fine tune it so that you are paying attention to both ends of the list, but not the the middle. Why would you want to do that? Well, take a situation in which you are clearing some old tasks, but some of them need several sessions to get them cleared.
One the whole though, I prefer most of the time to allow my mind to select whatever it wants without any special instructions. But I know I can take more control as and when I need to.
A few things to watch:
- The more dots you put on the list, the more inflexible the list becomes. Just instruct your mind to select less dots rather than more. You can fine-tune this until you get the list at the right balance between flexibility and direction.
- Keep the list well-weeded. It’s a good idea to have a task on the list called “Weed List”. Be ruthless!
- Don’t forget “little and often”. The list is very good at multiple sessions on tasks. You just keep re-entering them at the end of the list.
- If you need to do tasks in a certain order (i.e. you need to do x before you can do y), remember that dotted tasks are done in the reverse order to list order. So if they are already in reverse order you can dot both tasks, but if they are in the right order on the list then only dot the one you want to do first, and you can then pick up the second one on the next scan.
- If you have an urgent task, just write it at the end of the list. It will be picked up on the next scan (i.e. when you’ve finished the task you are working on at the moment) and will then be the next task to do.
- If you know that you don’t want the next scan to select anything, then skip the scan altogether - or just skim it to make sure.
- Try and avoid special markings, groupings, tags and similar devices. They all add to the administrative load of running the list.
And finally use pen/pencil and paper unless you are completely addicted to electronic means. It’s far faster and you are not dependent on energy supplies, connectivity or having enough money to pay the bills. It’s also better for the planet!