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« No-List Types - III: Just Do It | Main | No-List Types - I: The Hammer »
Wednesday
Apr132016

No-List Types - II: Entry by Doing

Entry by Doing is a bit different from the Hammer as described in my post yesterday.

In the Hammer a short list of tasks is written (usually five or less) and then the tasks are done.

However in an Entry by Doing method a task can only be entered on the list by actually doing it there and then.

The simplest form of this is where you write the next task you are going to do and then doing it. You then write the next task you are going to do and do that. The effect of writing it down before you do it is to make you think about what you are going to do next rather than drift into it. It’s an aid to focus.

Once a task is on the list it can be re-entered if there is still work to be done. This can be used with a system like Autofocius or FVP to make an active list in which all the tasks are actually in the course of being done.

Reader Comments (2)

This is the type of no-list that I'm currently favoring, it seems to strike a good balance for me of flexibility and follow-through.
April 14, 2016 at 3:45 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Freckleton
<<The simplest form of this is where you write the next task you are going to do and then doing it. You then write the next task you are going to do and do that. The effect of writing it down before you do it is to make you think about what you are going to do next rather than drift into it. It’s an aid to focus.>>

I'm highly in favor of readers giving this method a go, at least temporarily, or as an exercise. Mark often advocates that the reader "find the system that works for her and stick to it." I've worked AF, SF, FV, DIT, RAF, 5T, GTD and probably some others that I'm forgetting. The method above may not be the right one for _anybody_, but it has helped me immensely in determining what my successful system looks like. Let's call it PEBD for Primitive Entry by Doing.

Using PEBD, I've enjoyed a feeling of freedom. Without any nagging outstanding work or recurring tasks on the list, I choose what matters here and now. That could be urgent matters of little import like answering text messages, or important matters with no deadline like "move forward in career". Having absolutely no list means you can do absolutely anything!

I've enjoyed a feeling of progress. In contrast to the above, where I emphasized no uncrossed items awaiting attention, over the course of just a day, it's possible to amass a huge page of crossed-out, _actioned_ items. You don't write your "todo" list, you write your "done" list! Whether your day involved two tasks or 200, you always made progress toward your entire list. The list can't grow out of control. You don't have to answer any complicated questions about dismissal.

Perhaps most importantly, since I stopped populating my list with reminders, I've learned what types of support materials I need. At the end of the day, whatever system we use to enter and scan and choose and dot and work all of our "todo" items is, frankly, bullshit. What we care about is whether we get the "right" things on our "done" list. PEBD helped me improve my process of deciding on a best next action in my current context. I've also improved my process of reminding myself about things that don't naturally grab my attention, but still need to move forward. (Note that this method by no means precludes re-entering an item you worked on earlier in the day).

In summary, this blog serves as a great introduction to the concept of productivity in general. Conversely, it's a terrible conclusion. Start here and don't stop!
November 18, 2017 at 1:13 | Unregistered CommenterVoluntas

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