There are many different types of no-list methods. I won’t go quite so far as to say that they have an infinite variety, but there are all sorts of ways of approaching their design. Since there is no permanent list involved, switching from one method to another can be done without much of a problem.
Over the next few days I’m going to describe some of the main types of no-list method. I don’t claim that the list is exhausive, but I hope that it may spart some ideas in your own mind to experiment with.
First type of No-List method I’m going to describe is what I call a “Hammer”.
The main characteristic of a Hammer is that it concentrates on getting a task finished by constantly alternating with one or more other tasks until there is no more work to be done on the task - hammering it home in fact, hence the name.
The method I recommend in Secrets of Productive People is a Hammer. Five tasks are entered. Each is re-entered until it is finished and when the list is down to two tasks three more are entered.
I call this a 5/2 Hammer. The first figure refers to the number of tasks which are initially entered on the list and the second figure refers to the number of tasks at which the list is topped up to its original number.
Other Hammers include:
- The 2/1 Hammer in which two tasks alternate. When one is finished it is immediately replaced by another so there are always two tasks on the list. This is pretty much a brute force method for getting difficult tasks done.
- The 3/2 Hammer is rather more flexible than the 2/1 Hammer though nearly as effective.
- The x/0 Hammer in which a list of x tasks is reduced down to none, and then another list is written. This suffers from the last remaining task having nothing to alternate with at the end - so it’s not really a genuine Hammer, but can still be very effective.
You can experiment with various different lengths until you find the one that suits you best.
Tomorrow I’m going to describe a completely different type of No-List method.