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« Overcommitment and No-List | Main | Overcommitment - and what you can do to prevent it »
Tuesday
Feb232016

Overcommitment and the Catch-All List

In yesterday’s article Overcommitment and what you can do to prevent it I drew attention to the formula given in Do It Tomorrow:

Backlog = (Average work coming in each day) - (average work going out each day)

In spite of all our efforts to ignore this rule there really is no way round it. However we can continue to fool ourselves by acting in much the same way as a chronic debtor continues to get further and further into debt. In other words we put things off into the future. In the same way that the debtor always believes that “something will come up”, so we believe in a magic fairytale day in which we have nothing else to do other than catch up with our work. Of course this day never arrives, and if by some amazing chance it actually did the sudden relaxation of tension probably would mean that we spent the whole day goofing off rather than working.

It’s interesting to see how this truth about workload plays out in various situations. How does it work with a “catch-all” list? Now the great advantage of a catch-all list is its completeness. You get everything on your mind down on paper so you no longer have the worry of trying to remember it all. There is however a problem with this. The work does not stop arriving just because you have written it all down. In fact writing it all down may make it less likely that you will get everything done, rather than more. This is because there is a certain natural selection going on with tasks, which means the stronger ones survive while the weaker ones go to the wall. The problem with writing everything down is that this natural selection is inhibited because the weaker tasks can’t take the natural path of dropping out of your memory and your life.

Anyway, as I said in yesterday’s article overcommitment is a systems failure, and the first step with any systems failure is to look at what is happening in our present system. How does this apply to a catch-all list?

Potential candidates to be tasks on our catch-all list come from a multitude of sources, e.g. our own “brilliant ideas”, our bosses, our clients, our colleagues, our families, our reading, social media, the tv, etc, etc, etc. On top of these existing tasks which need further work get re-entered on the list rather than deleted.

Let’s first of all look at the input procedure:

A potential task arrives on the scene from one of the above sources

A catch-all system is designed to catch everything. So the task is put on the list without further ado.

Another task arrives on the scene and is put on the list

and so on

No problem so far. The input procedure is doing exactly what it is designed to do.

What about the output procedure? That’s even simpler:

We do one task after another (according to the criteria of whatever system we are using to process the list)

But it’s here that we run into a problem: the time it takes to do a task is usually longer than it takes to write a task down. Since that means that tasks come in faster than it’s possible to do them, more and more tasks get pushed into the future.

So our problem with the existing system can be summed up as:

Potential work coming in each day is basically infinite

Work going out each day is finite

Therefore the list is potentially liable to expand infinitely

Fortunately in reality this doesn’t happen to quite that extent, but it’s easy to see what the present system is inevitably going to produce. Overcommitment.

Are there any improvements that we could make to a catch-all list system so that it doesn’t result in overcommitment? Well, here’s a few suggestions:

Authorized Project List

Stringent evaluation of tasks before writing them down

Limit on the number of tasks on the list

Limit on the estimated time it will take to do the tasks on the list

These are all on the right lines. But unfortunately they all suffer from the same thing. They require discipline and willpower, plus a correct judgement of the amount of time available.

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that a catch-all list has some advantages, the chief of which is the feeling of completeness arising from having everything down on paper. But unfortunately having everything down on paper is not the same as getting everything done.

Reader Comments (86)

Great post. I can't wait to find out about the new system.

In GTD full capture is in large part about getting ideas out of your head to stop them distracting you and pulling you out of the present (and away from your current task), in the same way that labelling works in meditation. The difficulty with this approach is that it only works as long as you trust the system. Once the system gets gummed up with lots of old irrelevant stuff, it gets abandoned.

To be fair to David Allen, there is supposed to be a mid-step, so that capturing ideas happens separately from evaluating whether they warrant working on. It may just be my sloppy execution that made me abandon it, or possibly due to the system having too many moving parts.
February 23, 2016 at 11:27 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
Amazing post. The analogy of the chronic debtor is very apt,

Recently, I have changed my list structure (in Wunderlist) to have (i) a "5T" list which represents 5 tasks that have my immediate focus, (ii) a "Work Commitment" List which represents specific projects/tasks that need to be done to fulfill promises made to others, and a (iii) "No Commitment" List which is similar to a Catch All List. In addition, any Future Commitments are put in my calendar - and on the day that I need to start to do them, they end up in my 5T list or my Work Commitment List. I also have a "Home Commitment" List which contains commitments I have made in my personal life outside of work. The 5T list is the list I work from and is populated from anything I feel is important at the time, but often also draws from the Work Commitment List.

In the few days that I have implemented this approach, I have felt productive and have had no concerns about dropping anything. I have also accomplished almost nothing from the No Commitments List which would support Mark's thesis that a Catch All List isn't all that useful.
February 23, 2016 at 11:43 | Unregistered CommenterPaul B
Mark:

DWM.
February 23, 2016 at 12:55 | Unregistered CommenterMichael B.
John:

<< Great post. I can't wait to find out about the new system. >>

What I've been writing about lately applies to any no-list system. So the fact that I haven't yet published my new system doesn't mean that you can't put the principles to work.
February 23, 2016 at 13:42 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Paul B:

<< Mark's thesis that a Catch All List isn't all that useful. >>

I think my thesis is that a Catch All List is positively dangerous!
February 23, 2016 at 13:44 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Michael B:

<< DWM >>

DWM is a sort of half-way step to a no-list method. Or perhaps a quarter-way step would be a better description.

It consists of a catch-all list on which each task expires after 30 days if it hasn't been worked on.

Tasks which have been worked on but not completed (including recurrent tasks) are transferred to a second list. They expire after 7 days if not worked on again.

It does have the advantage of preventing the list from expanding indefinitely, but you are still dealing with a huge list which is unrelated to a properly balanced workload. Let's look at the basic equation I repeated in today's post:

Backlog = (Average work coming in each day) - (average work going out each day)

What you are doing with DWM is simply trimming the backlog. The basic rule that work in must equal work out is still not applied. For DWM you could rephrase it as:

Work not done = (Average work coming in each day) - (average work going out each day).
February 23, 2016 at 14:08 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, your logic is flawless. Can you explain how all the catch-all processes you promoted over the years worked well? I am beginning to suspect that none of these systems did exactly what it says on can.
February 23, 2016 at 14:23 | Unregistered CommenterWill
Thanks Mark, interesting post. I particularly like:

"...there is a certain natural selection going on with tasks, which means the stronger ones survive while the weaker ones go to the wall. The problem with writing everything down is that this natural selection is inhibited because the weaker tasks can’t take the natural path of dropping out of your memory and your life."

I find this to be very true, and to be honest it has been one of my problems with using DIT. I like DIT's elegance and it means some good, often procrastinated over, stuff gets done, but also (frankly) some dross gets done which probably should have withered on the vine! Any ideas from you and others on how to avoid that?
February 23, 2016 at 14:45 | Unregistered CommenterBen H
Will:

<< Can you explain how all the catch-all processes you promoted over the years worked well? >>

That's a good question.

First of all, none of my books promotes a catch-all system. Get Everything Done proposes a short list of projects around which one circulates throughout the day. How to Make Your Dreams Come True is about not having a list at all. Do It Tomorrow is about only having one day's worth of work a day.

However after the publication of Do It Tomorrow I found that people were trying to work the DIT system without paying attention to the very strict audit procedure which I had incorporated. The result was that they were building up very long day lists which then got carried forward from day after day.

Faced with this I realised that there were two course open to me:

1) Carry on trying to teach people how to do DIT properly

2) Accept that they were not going to get the message and see if I could invent a system which could actually cope with the reality that people love their lists!

I decided that without abandoning 1) I would accept the challenge of 2). My first attempt was Autofocus (as it was then called) which is now known as AF1. I still think it's the best of the catch-all systems. I built into it a limiter called "dismissal", the aim of which was to purge the list of stuff that simply wasn't getting done. Unfortunately I found that people were very reluctant to dismiss tasks, regarding it as some sort of punishment for failure rather than as an essential part of the system. So lists tended to grow and grow with the result that AF1 became very slow.

Again I found that I had to accept people as they are rather than as how I would like them to be and carried on trying to develop a system which would correct the problems with AF1.

In the end I decided that the problem could only be solved by making it impossible to grow the list - and that could only be done by not having a list at all.

So the answer to your question is:

Get Everything Done works great provided you don't use it to take on more and more work (as the book frequently warns you)

How to Make Your Dreams Come True works great provided you don't use it to take on more and more work (as the book frequently warns you)

Do It Tomorrow works great provided you don't use it to take on more and more work (as the book frequently warns you)

Autofocus works great provided you use the dismissal procedure to prevent yourself from taking on more and more work.

No-list works great because you can't use the system to take on more and more work.
February 23, 2016 at 15:54 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Ben H:

<< Any ideas from you and others on how to avoid that? >>

See my previous post above.
February 23, 2016 at 15:59 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Thanks, Mark.

I rather liked the "2-3 days rule" in DIT, but the rules in AF1 seemed almost magical in the way they used the subconscious to prioritise. It felt as though my priorities emerged from what I was actually doing, rather than the more traditional setting priorities separately and making conscious choices based on them.

The tension in the AF series was between "urgent" and "strategic". With all of these systems, there seemed to be a natural flow from task to task.

Now, there seems to be a new tension between focus and flow.

I should admit that I never used the old systems rigorously, and shamelessly allowed the lists to grow out of control. And that I also find myself sitting wondering what to add to my "no list" from time to time, which is rather worrying.

The struggle continues!

Thanks again!
February 23, 2016 at 17:33 | Registered CommenterWill
Will:

I'm working on it!
February 23, 2016 at 18:09 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Great post! I especially liked this snippet -- << But unfortunately they all suffer from the same thing. They require discipline and willpower, plus a correct judgement of the amount of time available. >>

This was exactly what I was thinking, when reading your first post on overcommitment. I'm looking forward to what else you have to say about this!


Also - it seems like all time management systems need a filtering mechanism.

Catch-all systems do the filtering on the output side (e.g., AutoFocus; also the rule in all of Mark's catch-all systems to delete any task that is no longer relevant)

No-list systems do the filtering on the input side (e.g., Default No when asked to take on new work; limits on projects; limits on tasks; etc.)

I am wondering whether the failure is not so much in the catch-all system per se, but more in the filtering mechanisms?

For catch-all systems, perhaps the simple act of just writing a task down giving the task too much power, too much credence, too much presence on the list? And that's the fundamental limitation of catch-all systems? I can think of obvious silly examples where the answer is clearly "YES" -- such as writing down "get out of bed, brush teeth, put on clothes, put on shoes, etc." every morning before getting out of bed. But there is the opposite extreme: not writing down important commitments, not writing down deadlines, etc. So: how do we find the sweet spot to get the right stuff onto the list in the first place?

I am also wondering what other ideas you have for how the no-list approach overcomes the weak filtering problems of catch-all systems.
February 23, 2016 at 18:18 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Mark,

That's good to know.

I hope I was clear: I don't see the tension as a bad thing in itself, either between urgent and strategic or between focus and flow. In many ways, it's these tensions that keeps the system honest.
February 23, 2016 at 18:44 | Registered CommenterWill
Loved the last two posts. Thank you.

Wondering
1) If I am planning to do shop at a large office supplies store in three weeks my current process would be to write a list over the time of things we need/want. Would you do this, and what kind of list is this?
February 23, 2016 at 20:33 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Jane
Sarah Jane:

<< 1) If I am planning to do shop at a large office supplies store in three weeks my current process would be to write a list over the time of things we need/want. Would you do this, and what kind of list is this? >>

Yes, I would. That's an Accumulating List.
http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2016/2/18/how-to-write-a-blog-post-a-day.html

Is there a question #2) ?
February 23, 2016 at 23:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I like the no-list system so far. I feel a lot less stressed and I focus a lot more on the same project(s) +-3 or 4 till I get it done. Example: My taxes are almost due and this is one item in my life which I absolutely love (hate?) to procrastinate on. I can do my companies taxes, but for some reason, my own is a very hard nut to crack.

With this system it started on my initial daily 5 item selection on for 4 days of the week last week. It kept circulating around and now it is almost done..only items outstanding are items I am waiting for.

I do however not enter a specific task for this project on my task list. I only enter "My tax" and it will be circulating around on my daily list until it is done or until I feel I have worked enough on this for today.

I am currently reading Mark's "Secrets.." book and it states that you need to write clearly what you need to do till you are done for the day on such a large project. (example Mark is using is something like read x amount of pages..). I guess with only writing "My tax" I am implying that I want to make progress on the project and if I feel that I have made enough progress for the day, then it is done for the day.

Any comments on my view?

PS Mark, my train ride home yesterday was very boring as I was missing the article of the day..
February 24, 2016 at 2:49 | Unregistered CommenterNico
Nico:

<< Any comments on my view? >>

You have just described _exactly_ how I get my taxes done!
February 24, 2016 at 8:47 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark

Your post above about each book and the stress within each to not take on too much work was excellent. Also interesting is your take on why you developed each catch-all list system. Without dismissing the last 15 years of your work(!) I still think your first book and choosing 10 categories or groupings (at most) and rotating around them in timeboxes to provide regular sufficient attention is still the most elegant and simple time management system. If only I followed it! You have consistently talked about not taking on too many commitments and whilst we all admire the work you do, you must get fed up with us not paying any attention!

I am currently back to using the GED system with one of my categories as Current Initiative to use the very useful suggestion from DIT. But at the end of the day it s about not taking on too much. We are all still trying to get the quart into the pint pot (which you mentioned in that very first book)
February 24, 2016 at 16:09 | Unregistered Commenterskeg
skeg:

Hopefully my new system will finally solve that problem.
February 24, 2016 at 20:46 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Any further forward on how you are going to release it?
February 24, 2016 at 21:24 | Unregistered CommenterSkeg
So the difference between a catch-all list and an accumulating list is that an accumulating list has a specific purpose?
February 24, 2016 at 21:35 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Jane
Skeg:

<< Any further forward on how you are going to release it? >>

No. Sorry.
February 24, 2016 at 23:05 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Sarah Jane:

<< So the difference between a catch-all list and an accumulating list is that an accumulating list has a specific purpose? >>

That's basically it, yes. A catch-all list, as the name implies, is a collection of all types of unsorted stuff.

Examples of accumulating lists are:

Shopping lists
Ideas for chapter heading for a book
Ideas for blog posts
etc.
February 24, 2016 at 23:10 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
What is your system for managing your accumulating lists?
February 25, 2016 at 7:24 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Jane
Sarah Jane:

<< What is your system for managing your accumulating lists? >>

I keep them in Evernote in a notebook called Questioning - which is also where I keep the questions I'm working on at the moment.
February 25, 2016 at 11:05 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
So, if I am wanting to focus on a particular project for an hour, and deal with the interruptions & requests about other things that come in during that time by writing a list of them as they arrive, to process or decide about later, that is appropriate to view as an accumulating list?
February 25, 2016 at 20:42 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Jane
Sarah Jane:

<< focus on a particular project for an hour, and deal with the interruptions & requests about other things that come in during that time by writing a list of them as they arrive >>

I don't know enough about your work to know whether this is reasonable or not.

Mainly I'm concerned about the fact that you have set aside an hour to focus on a project but have so many interruptions that you feel you need to write a list of them.

It sounds to me as if you would be better off shielding yourself from interruptions.
February 25, 2016 at 22:58 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
My "interruptions" is from my own thoughts. Things you should do today, but you do not want to stop what you are doing now or a good idea you need to add to some list.
February 26, 2016 at 2:55 | Unregistered CommenterNico
Nico:

<< My "interruptions" is from my own thoughts. Things you should do today, but you do not want to stop what you are doing now or a good idea you need to add to some list. >>

It all these "good ideas" that fill up one's to-do list so that one is permanently behind with one's work.

My advice is that if you feel a need to record "good ideas" while you are supposed to be focused on something else then stick with a "catch-all" list.
February 26, 2016 at 11:20 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
There seem to be two objections to recording unrelated ideas when you are focusing on a task.

1. That this floods your task list with a never ending deluge of things you will never get around to. This can be mitigated by limiting your recording to existing dynamic lists.

2. That if you are focusing properly, all your ideas will relate to the task in hand. I'm not sure about this. I certainly don't focus enough, but I often deal with interruptions by jotting them on a list which I may or may not get to later.
February 26, 2016 at 13:58 | Registered CommenterWill
I've been putting "good ideas" on an Accumulation List, then looking it over occasionally when I have a little downtime. This keeps them out of the way but also ensures the really good ideas don't get lost completely.
February 26, 2016 at 18:52 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Will, Seraphim and Nico:

My personal opinion is that a good idea which you promptly forget as soon as you've had it probably wasn't that good in the first place.
February 27, 2016 at 0:06 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Apparently Earl Nightingale used to say “Ideas are like slippery fish. Unless you gaffe them on the point of a pencil, they’re likely to get away.”

I certainly find I need a holding pen for thoughts which are not projects and not necessarily commitments and not grand enough to be called ideas but which cannot be allowed to evaporate as they may not come back to me, or at least not until its too late....
February 27, 2016 at 8:24 | Unregistered CommenterMike
I find that if an idea pops into my head and I write it down, when I come across it again on a list, hours, days or weeks later, it will have lost its freshness and most of its meaning. If, however, I have an idea and mull on it there and then, if it is a good one it won't be forgotten, won't lose its freshness, and will have increased in meaning when the idea comes up again.

My mind is great at sorting the wheat from the chaff, and if I leave it to get on with the job, the best ideas will surface again, stronger, and the crap ideas will disappear like they have never existed, which is what I want.

The problem I have had in the past, and which many of you seem to have now, is to have the feeling that just because you had an idea, it must be a good one. And worse, the feeling that you had an absolutely brilliant, life-changing idea, but you lost it because you didn't write it down.

In my opinion, the best way to lose that brilliant idea is to write it down, because the act of writing it down diminishes it. If it is as good as you think, it will stay in your mind and will surface again, maybe at a better time. And if the idea is so brilliant, perhaps you should drop everything else and act on it immediately, not save it for later.

Mark's dynamic lists and questioning methods are great for resurfacing the best ideas.
February 27, 2016 at 10:55 | Registered CommenterWooba
Wooba and all:

<< The problem I have had in the past, and which many of you seem to have now, is to have the feeling that just because you had an idea, it must be a good one. >>

And even if it is a good one, that's no reason why you should do it. The main reason people lose focus is because of all those good ideas they keep getting. The ideas you should follow up on are the ones which are relevant to what you are focusing on - and you are not going to forget those.
February 27, 2016 at 11:09 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, what about maintaining a list of books you want to read? I am quite sure many have this type of list and that you would not expect to ever finish or start all the books on there. Much the same as a "good idea" list.

I do however get your point that good ideas should sort it out in your head, but also cannot see the difference between a "good idea" list and for example a "books to read" list.
February 28, 2016 at 10:00 | Unregistered CommenterNico
Nico:

<< what about maintaining a list of books you want to read? >>

Well, I'm definitely finding the advantages of only reading one book at a time, and I have a pretty good idea of what I want to read next. In fact I can tell you straight off the top of my head what the next three books I am likely to read are:

Napoleon the Great, part 2
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1
The Military Philosophers by Anthony Powell
A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov
The Aeneid (Loeb Classical Library Edition)
The Iliad, vol 1 (Loeb Classical Library Edition)
The Anathemata by David Jones
The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy
Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne
Anything by Turgenev
Anything by Pushkin
Du Cote de Chez Swann by Proust (French)
La Commune de Paris by Wilhelm Dinesen (French tr. from Danish)
La Commune de Paris by William Serman (French)
Subsequent volumes/parts/sequels of books already mentioned

Sorry, I couldn't stop when I got to three. It just came tumbling out and I could go on and on and on. Remind me why I need a book list?
February 28, 2016 at 11:01 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
You have a great memory!
February 28, 2016 at 19:58 | Unregistered CommenterNico
It seems like we are talking about a couple different kinds of "idea" lists --

(1) Ideas for a specific purpose (like an "accumulation list" for blog post ideas)
(2) Catch-all idea lists -- a "someday/maybe" list of "good ideas"

Mark specifically advocates for #1, and specifically calls out the danger and futility of #2.

Instead of #2, I suppose one could use a "dynamic list" for "good ideas" -- write the ideas down, to alleviate the fear of losing the idea altogether. But if you haven't decided what to do with it by the end of the day, then toss it.
February 29, 2016 at 1:13 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Nico

<< You have a great memory! >>

Yes, but that's the whole point. It wasn't memory. I just wrote it down as it came to me. I don't need a list to know which books I feel like reading.
February 29, 2016 at 1:30 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark,

Let's take an example. I see someone with a bottle of water at work. That's a good idea. But when I'm actually leaving the house, I am thinking about the chickens I have just fed, the sick dog, the best route to work, the state of the family, and so on and so on. The list of things I'm thinking about varies, but for the last month, the water bottle has never featured. So I make do with multiple trips to the water fountain through the day or, worse, simply don't drink enough and get dehydrated.

I agree that simply jotting it down on a list isn't the answer in itself. (I do have a list of "Things I keep forgetting".)

I also agree that if I forget it, my deep subconscious can't believe that it is important. But we know that the deep subconscious follows a number of heuristics evolved to fit the way we lived thousands of years ago, which don't necessarily fit the way we live now. Compensating for these must be one of the key features of any effective focus management system. We could go through the catch-all systems and how they achieve this, when properly used. I suspect that your new system will also do this, whether you have thought about it consciously or not.
February 29, 2016 at 10:16 | Registered CommenterWill
Will,

While you are thinking about it, right this moment, go on Amazon and buy a nice water bottle and have it delivered to you at work. Get a big one, like a litre or more. Then one visit to a water source once a day to fill it is all you need. When it is empty and you are thirsty will become a trigger to go and fill the bottle again. You'll never have to consciously think about it again.
February 29, 2016 at 11:41 | Registered CommenterWooba
Thanks, Wooba.

I get the idea. Clearly, my big mistake was to take my lovely water bottle home in the first place. It's a bit like the age old question of separate lists for home and work.

My whole environment is my inbox.

OR

I REALLY need to get into the habit of packing lunches for myself. Why am I not doing that? Or rather, what is my current process and how is it delivering me, lunchless, to work every day? Etc etc etc
February 29, 2016 at 13:06 | Registered CommenterWill
Will:

It's a long time since I last worked in an office, but I always thought the whole point of having a water cooler was to remove the need for staff to bring their own water into work!

This water bottle thing is not a matter of putting something on a list. It's a matter of setting up a routine. Do you have a check-list for the things you take to work every day? If not, that's what you need to put on your list!
February 29, 2016 at 14:13 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, back on the book list. I am using the site "Goodreads" to record all books I have read and all books that looks interesting to me. I would for example read your book and you would refer to a book that looks interesting to me. I will then add this to the list of books to consider when I choose to read my next book.

There is no way that I will remember all references that looks interesting and this book list is a very hand tool for me.

Also, I do not in any way consider this as a backlog as I know this is not something I will have to complete, but more a reference point. This does not cause psychological stress for me as a result.
February 29, 2016 at 19:47 | Unregistered CommenterNico
Nico:

If it works for you, use it. I'm not trying to stop you.

But as for me when I've finished a book and am looking for the next one to read the last place I'd look is a list which I'd been accumulating over a long period of time. It would be out of date and irrelevant to where I am now.

Instead I would either go for a book that is on my mind for reading now, or look for one on a subject that is on my mind now.
February 29, 2016 at 20:05 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I also use Goodreads, but only to record what I'm reading and have read. I don't use it to accumulate reading suggestions. I've long held that the 'tbr' (To Be Read) list is not a good idea because - for me, at least - it makes my reading prescriptive, and therefore inevitably a chore.

A few years back I abandoned reading lists. I now wait till I finish a book then spend a happy time perusing my collection - or the library's - in choosing a new title purely according to my mood in that moment. Ever since doing so, I rediscovered my voracious love of reading and more often than not enjoy what I'm reading more. Doing so has been utterly liberating.

All the time I hear people say "I'm working my way through ' The Top 100 this... ', and ' The Top 50 that...', and I think "Why? Why would you commit your time and energy in wading against a molasses-tide of things that you 'ought to/should do' because other people say you must, on a list that is dated, inflexible and so very rarely matches whatever your current mood?"

It goes without saying, of course, that what works for me may not be the same for others.
February 29, 2016 at 20:59 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Cumming
Neil/Mark, you both got a very good points.

What is your thoughts on starting a book and then 1/4 way through you struggle with the book. Do you abandon or continue?
March 1, 2016 at 2:06 | Unregistered CommenterNico
Nico:

<< What is your thoughts on starting a book and then 1/4 way through you struggle with the book. Do you abandon or continue? >>

See first paragraph of:

http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2016/1/26/my-book-challenge.html
March 1, 2016 at 2:21 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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