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« Memorizing Poetry and Prose | Main | Today's Tasks (live) »
Tuesday
Mar082016

Second Day's Summary

Looking back at the list of tasks which I did today, let’s see what lessons can be drawn from it.

First of all, you can get a certain amount of information just by looking at the list, without even reading the individual tasks. You can see immediately from the times in bold what my level of activity was as the day progressed. This will vary from person to person, but as for me I started the day with a huge burst of activity which lasted most of the morning in which all the routine minor tasks were cleared.  This lasted until I went to the gym. After that I had a slow afternoon, and then picked up again in the evening when my work took on a completely different characteristic.

Note that this information would be difficult to get if I hadn’t put the times in. And it would be still be difficult to follow if each task had its own time. But with the hourly times in bold you can take in at a glance how much activity there was during that hour. A more detailed look will then tell you what sort of activity the hour was made of.

You can also see very clearly how much repetition of tasks there was.

On the whole I did everything I wanted to do. I was particularly pleased to have gone to the gym, to have kept all the zero in-boxes at zero, to have done some good work on my new book draft, and to have kept the list posted throughout the day. The only thing missing from today which I was working on yesterday is the draft for the local association’s marketing plan. But I’ve got over a month to get that finalized, so there is no particular urgency about it.

Since keeping a live list on-line is a considerable burden, I don’t intend to do it any of the other days of this test. But I will keep you posted about how it’s going. I’m looking forward to working tomorrow without that hanging round my neck!

Reader Comments (7)

I agree about the usefulness of the hourly marks. I've been doing something similar for a long while now, along with variants of SMEMA, 5T, etc. I never dispose of the resulting list, but rather archive it with today's date. I have found these archives (text files) very useful for recalling when certain activities were done.

Today, perhaps inspired by your various 'no-list' descriptions, I'm trying something I'm calling '1T' – just write what I'm about to do, then do it! Rinse and repeat. (Full disclosure – I do maintain a running side list and use some routine checklists, so I'm not really doing 1T or 5T in true no-list spirit.)
March 8, 2016 at 22:37 | Registered Commenterubi
Great stuff, Mark.

A couple of initial questions:

Although it's very early days, do you have a sense yet of whether this system is more or less effective than the one you switched from a few days ago?

How many pages of 'Napoleon the Great' did you manage? Was this more or fewer than you anticipated/hoped for? (Out of curiosity, do you read a newspaper and if so do you usually put it through the system?)
March 9, 2016 at 0:19 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Cumming
ubi:

<< I'm trying something I'm calling '1T' – just write what I'm about to do, then do it! Rinse and repeat. >>

That's one of my earliest time management methods - in fact I refer to it in one of my recent articles on no-list systems. I used to advise it a lot when working with coaching clients. It helps people become aware of their choices instead of just acting on impulse all the time.
March 9, 2016 at 8:41 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Neil:

<< Although it's very early days, do you have a sense yet of whether this system is more or less effective than the one you switched from a few days ago? >>

Definitely more.

<< How many pages of 'Napoleon the Great' did you manage? Was this more or fewer than you anticipated/hoped for? >>

I've read 40 pages in two days. So subtract whatever I got up to yesterday from that. I don't have any targets set for reading. I'm sure I'd have got a lot further yesterday (and with the movie) if I wasn't constantly having to update the list on the blog post.

<< (Out of curiosity, do you read a newspaper and if so do you usually put it through the system?) >>

No, to both questions. I regard the news in general as a complete time waster since there's nothing I can do about any of it, and who in their right mind wants a mental diet of the American primaries or constant propaganda about Brexit?

I don't watch TV news either or listen to it on the radio.

I do however have my home page on Firefox set to Google News so I'm not completely out of touch!
March 9, 2016 at 8:53 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark,

Impressive stuff and a useful analysis: I might start putting times on my 5T list. (I am nerdy enough to try walking through your day using 5T until, quite early on, the sequence diverged.)

I quite understand that typing this up through the day is a burden. Is this list something that the system churns out manually? If so, would it be possibly to take a snap of the list and share that at some point?
March 9, 2016 at 10:37 | Registered CommenterWill
Will:

<< Is this list something that the system churns out manually? >>

Unfortunately the order in which stuff is done is not necessarily the order in which it appears in the system.
March 9, 2016 at 13:25 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
<< Although it's very early days, do you have a sense yet of whether this system is more or less effective than the one you switched from a few days ago? >>

Mark: "Definitely more."

I was already excited enough about the previous new system so this sounds hugely encouraging!

<< (Out of curiosity, do you read a newspaper and if so do you usually put it through the system?)>>

Mark: "No, to both questions. I regard the news in general as a complete time waster since there's nothing I can do about any of it, and who in their right mind wants a mental diet of the American primaries or constant propaganda about Brexit?"

I know what you mean, though I don't like to be completely shielded from current affairs.

I do prefer to save my eyes and energy for books over daily newspapers, but I recently struck upon a - for me, at least - perfect compromise. I buy a newspaper ( the 'i') on a Friday - because Friday's has film, music and book reviews as well as news - and read it over the week at my own leisure. The 'i's length and concision is ideal for this. (It's also the closest to fair and 'unbiased' I've found in a newspaper after years of looking). You might thinks this is reading 'old news', but most of the material is still hugely relevant, and in fact perfect background to whatever is happening 'today'.
March 10, 2016 at 0:02 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Cumming

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