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Saturday
Mar052016

Testing the New System - Update

I’m sorry to report that the test of my new system has crashed and burned.

That’s not because I wasn’t getting the work done which I’d planned . It was working absolutely fine.

It’s because in the middle of the trial I was struck with an idea for an entirely new way of doing things. Well, I say “entirely new” but of course these ideas are always building on ideas that I and others have had in the past.

It was such an amazing idea that I couldn’t wait - I just had to get going on it right now.

So what I’m now planning to do is to play around with it for the next few days, and then start a formal week’s trial next Monday.

I’m sorry to keep delaying things, but if this works out it will be worth the wait!

A few pointers to whet your appetite:

It uses some of the techniques in my first book Get Everything Done but with an entirely new angle

It’s a sort of “no-list” system, but not like any of the ones we’ve had up to now

It has a minimum of rules and you don’t even have to keep to those

It gets work done very fast

It’s especially ideal for tackling big projects, small tasks, easy tasks, difficult tasks, backlogs, boring stuff, exciting stuff, stuff you’re stuck on, distractions, interruptions, emergencies. Did I leave anything out? If I did, it’s ideal for tackling those too!

It prevents you from taking too much work on, but allows you to get a whole lot more done than you ever did before!

Reader Comments (18)

Mark:

You really are the master of promising big (followed by delivering big)!
How on earth is it possible for you to make even more fascinating announcements of new systems each time? Mastery of language can't be the only explanation.
March 5, 2016 at 7:38 | Unregistered CommenterLaby
Very excited for this new system. FVP drains my energy when scanning.

Thanks for the systems Mark.
March 5, 2016 at 9:28 | Unregistered CommenterChino
Laby:

<< How on earth is it possible for you to make even more fascinating announcements of new systems each time? >>

Eighteen years of thinking of nothing else.
March 5, 2016 at 9:36 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark:

<<Eighteen years of thinking of nothing else.>>

Ah, that's the trick!
March 5, 2016 at 10:37 | Unregistered CommenterLaby
Hi Mark,

I'm hoping it's the trial that has crashed and burned rather than the system?!
March 5, 2016 at 10:42 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Cumming
mark

thanks for all your work. I think I'll bow out and come
back in 6 months to see what you come up with. the constant up and down has gotten a bit old.

best

brett
March 5, 2016 at 13:04 | Unregistered Commenterbrett
Neil:

<< I'm hoping it's the trial that has crashed and burned rather than the system?! >>

As I said, the system was working fine. I just got an idea for a better one.
March 5, 2016 at 13:47 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
brett:

<< the constant up and down >>

What constant up and down? Since I started daily blogging again I have written 36 articles, plus some miscellaneous posts, of which only four have been about a new time management system.
March 5, 2016 at 13:58 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark,

I can't wait to receive news of the latest system - it sounds like something I need at the moment!!
Thanks for all your great ideas.

Rosalind
March 5, 2016 at 16:14 | Unregistered CommenterRosalind
Well, let me know if you need a playtester.
March 5, 2016 at 19:03 | Unregistered CommenterJesse
"It was such an amazing idea that I couldn’t wait - I just had to get going on it right now."
This is exactly what I do All The Time, and it is my undoing! I set off to read a limited number of books, and before you know it, along comes some "amazing" new book, which has me abandoning my reading plan without a second thought. I establish some particular course of action, and some "amazing idea" comes along to take some other course, and I just have to "get going on it right now."
This is Not a winning strategy, but I can't seem to unshackle myself from this nasty habit of going now in one direction, now in another, getting nowhere.
What is to be done? How can I learn to stay the course and forego all those juicy alternatives? How to learn to say "no" and mean it?
March 5, 2016 at 19:23 | Unregistered CommenterTom
If there are boundaries around what you are doing, and you have clearly established goals, then these dynamics aren't as bad as they might seem.

For example, I would summarize Mark's latest efforts as trying to find a time-management method that avoids the common pitfalls of "catch-all" systems. (Perhaps he would summarize it differently!) He may have changed ideas on *how* to achieve that goal, but the goal itself hasn't changed.
March 5, 2016 at 20:32 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
"<< the constant up and down >>

What constant up and down? Since I started daily blogging again I have written 36 articles, plus some miscellaneous posts, of which only four have been about a new time management system."

If that's what "Constant up and down" means, then please bring on more Up and Down!
Some people are never satisfied. Keep up the good work, Mark. It's appreciated.
March 5, 2016 at 21:42 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Cumming
Tom and Seraphim;

I've been working on the same basic idea for some time now. The problem I've had to resolve is that there are several ways in which it could be used and I've not up to now been able to establish which is the best. During the week while I was trialing the one I'd decided on, I thought of another way of using the basic idea. This seems to be superior to the others because it solves several problems I had with them. Anyway if it holds up over the whole weekend I shall start trialing it properly on Monday.
March 5, 2016 at 23:26 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I have been using the 5T system now for two weeks and it has served me well. Problem is that I now have my doubts as the creator of the system is moving onto a new system which means that something must be flawed in the system.

I understand your comments that if it works well for you, then keep on doing it, but it is impossible not to unconsciously feel worried that something must be wrong if the guy that created this is not using it himself!

I must also say that I do think that constantly switching systems is a lot more counterproductive than constant switching goals. This should definitely be included in your top 10 way of being unproductive.
It is like changing the operating system in your computer every couple of months.

Seraphim, I also do agree that the goal has not changed, but that for me does not have anything to do with constantly changing the mechanics of the system.

Mark, I am reading your newest book now and I presume (hope?) that your new system does not steer away from what I see is the fundamentals of the book:
• No-list system
• Start with a new list every day
• No catch all list

A final question/comment, what is wrong with your 5T system that pushed you to abandon this? It must have been something fundamental else why do all the effort and work to switch? I doubt very much that any system will be perfect and one should only switch if you are becoming seriously unproductive. Else the system becomes the goal rather the system serving you to reach the goal.
March 6, 2016 at 1:57 | Unregistered CommenterNico
Nico:

Good questions.

<< constantly switching systems is a lot more counterproductive than constant switching goals >>

Normally I would agree, but with no-list systems it actually doesn't seem to matter. This makes sense if you think about it. For example would it make any difference if you did 5T today and then switched to 3T tomorrow ? You wouldn't have any lists to destroy. You wouldn't be caught in the middle of doing something and then have to abandon it to conform to the new system. You'd just carry on as before but writing three tasks rather than five. And then you could switch back again the next day without any problem if you wanted to.

As evidence of this, the fact that I've been blogging daily for a month or more is due to the fact that I've been using no-list systems. I must have used a slightly different one nearly every day. Some have been better than others and some worse, but there has been no disruption caused by changing systems. The no-list principle has been at work through all of them.

<< I presume (hope?) that your new system does not steer away from what I see is the fundamentals of the book: • No-list system • Start with a new list every day • No catch all list >>

All three of those are alive and well!

<< what is wrong with your 5T system that pushed you to abandon this? >>

Nothing. But the new system (if it works out) is quicker, more flexible and provokes less resistance.

<< Else the system becomes the goal rather the system serving you to reach the goal. >>

That would be true for you, but it's not true for me. Developing time management systems is my job.
March 6, 2016 at 9:19 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Good points Mark and happy that the fundamentals are still in play.

One other question: I presume that your system still allows to see what you have worked on the day. I have found this one of the biggest strength of the no-list system.
March 6, 2016 at 9:26 | Unregistered CommenterNico
Nico:

Yes, it does.

In fact with just about every no-list system, there is no way of telling from the list at the end of the day which system was being used.

P.S. I've added another paragraph to my comment above which you may have missed since you read it almost as soon as I'd written it. The one beginning "As evidence of this."
March 6, 2016 at 9:27 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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