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« The Same Old Routine | Main | And the Winner Is... »
Tuesday
Jun282016

More About No-List FVP

I thought I’d write a bit more about the effects of No-List FVP after my post yesterday.

What are the annoyances and difficulties that this system solves?

Like any no-list system it keeps fresh and up-to-date, dealing with what you are actually working on rather than things that you thought in the past that you might work on.

Unlike systems which tie you to a rigid order of doing things, you have considerable flexibility about the order of tasks.

It responds quickly to emergencies because the next task you do is always the last one on the list.

It does not tie you down to rigid re-entry of unfinished tasks. But at the same time you can see clearly what you have been working on, so you can judge the best time to re-enter.

It provides you with a light structure for the day which gives you focus and direction

My fairly short experience so far with it is that I completed each day feeling totally satisfied with what I had achieved. I felt that I had used all the available time to its maximum value.That’s quite a rare occurrence with other systems - whether mine or other people’s!

I have been using the system for everything, including recreation, family, work - every aspect of my life.

Finally I just want to stress how important it is to maintain correct form. On the few occasions when I found myself drifting aimlessly, it was because I had not followed the very simple rules exactly. Of course you may not wish to use the system all day and every day, but it’s important to define for yourself in advance when you are going to be “on system” and “off system”. That way you’ll get maximum value from both states.

Reader Comments (10)

I'm excited to try this out today. I have been trying out all the various No List methods, and lately I reverted to the 5T method from the Secrets book (which I have been using ever since I got the book back in August) because it lets me make little plans of a few tasks at a time; but I sometimes feel frustrated having to cycle through the other four tasks to get back to one that is unfinished. The NL-FVP method avoids that issue.
June 28, 2016 at 15:17 | Registered CommenterGeorge G.
<< It responds quickly to emergencies because the next task you do is always the last one on the list. >>

Definitely. When I started using this system, it reminded me of the "call stack" in a computer. A simplified explanation is that the computer keeps a list to which it only adds to the end of the list, or removes from the end of the list (the stack). Using the stack, it keeps track of what it was doing whenever it needs to stop and do something else, so that it can always get back to what it was doing, in a hierarchical fashion. The metaphor works because it applies equally well to interruptions (computers get interrupted all the time) as well as subroutines of the current routine. The data on the stack includes the specifics (parameters) about the task it is doing.

In the case of interruptions ("interrupts") usually it handles them by taking note of the incoming information (e.g. "the T key was pressed on the keyboard") and sets it aside in another list (a "buffer") for later processing (hopefully soon enough that the user won't notice a delay). That reminds me of keeping a feeder list, which is something against the no-list philosophy.

To take the analogy even further, the routines the computer is following are (usually) predetermined. Not too long ago, when Mark wrote an article about how no-list gets you to develop routines, I thought it would be interesting to use what I did one day (on the May 9th system) as routine to follow for the following days. I would add to the routine but not subtract from it. I don't currently follow the routine but I think it might still be a good idea.

<< My fairly short experience so far with it is that I completed each day feeling totally satisfied with what I had achieved. >>

My day yesterday and today have been one urgent interruption after another. So the system was able to handle it perfectly, but I can't say it was satisfying. (Through no fault of the system.)
June 28, 2016 at 20:56 | Unregistered CommenterDon R
I've been able to test this a little bit today - before and after work - but not to a great degree. I'm eager to continue, but have a couple of concerns:

1) Will the lack of automatic re-entering reduce the system's ability to 'hammer' large or on going tasks? The 5T and 3T methods did this quite well.

2) I worry about not getting to (and staying with) 'important' or difficult tasks - e.g. current initiatives - and instead doing too many 'filler' activities. In other words, using the system to procrastinate.

I'll hopefully find the answer to these concerns with more trialling, but wonder if any of you have any thoughts on this?

One other question, just from personal curiosity - does No-List FVP have an algorithm as such? It feels to me that if it does, it is very minimal.
June 28, 2016 at 21:45 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C
Neil C:

<< does No-List FVP have an algorithm as such? It feels to me that if it does, it is very minimal >>

Yes, it's given in my previous post at http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2016/6/27/and-the-winner-is.html
June 28, 2016 at 22:05 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I found it works for hammering on a large task. When you want to work on something else, you add it below the task, but when you are done with that task, you pop back up to the large task. Also, I add sub-tasks of the large task below the large task as I work on it, so it simultaneously lets you break down the problem and keep coming back to it to think of what the next subtask should be.
June 28, 2016 at 22:54 | Unregistered CommenterDon R
This sounds like an excellent method, and though I've haven't tried it yet, I can explain why I like it in principle.

I've identified a list of seven projects that I would ideally address every day, including banal activities like more tooth-brushing (to combat incipient gum problems), to meditation. However, since I'm stalling on all of them, I've decided to focus on only two areas to definitely deal with.

As it happens, these are alternate-day fasting (which requires little 'action', as such), and a particular programme of self-hypnosis training.

It seems to me that, following NLFVP, I could write those two in my notebook each day, but wouldn't be prevented from adding the other stuff as Swiss-cheese tasks further down the list.

This system makes a lot more sense to me than some recent approaches.
June 29, 2016 at 0:26 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Williams
<<Yes, it's given in my previous post at http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2016/6/27/and-the-winner-is.html>>

Thanks, Mark - yes, the more I look at the steps the more I see a defined algorithm.

<<I found it works for hammering on a large task. When you want to work on something else, you add it below the task, but when you are done with that task, you pop back up to the large task. Also, I add sub-tasks of the large task below the large task as I work on it, so it simultaneously lets you break down the problem and keep coming back to it to think of what the next subtask should be.>>

Don R. Thanks. My worry, though, is that it'll be too tempting to keep adding filler tasks and never have to get back to the large/difficult ones - but it's encouraging to know that hasn't been your experience. Good thinking with the sub-tasks, I will try that tomorrow.

Martin Williams. I'm very intrigued to know how you will use NLFVP to aid your intermittent fasting?! I've doing this on and off for a while - much more off than on - and while chuffed with myself when I manage to pull it off, find it a struggle more often than not.
June 29, 2016 at 1:06 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C
I previously noted my difficulties with the no-list methods, but this no-fvp seems to answer my objections and feels natural. Will try.
June 29, 2016 at 17:13 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
<<Yes, it's [the algorithm] given in my previous post at http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2016/6/27/and-the-winner-is.html>>

Thanks, Mark. The more I look at the steps, the more I see a definite algorithm.

<<I found it works for hammering on a large task. When you want to work on something else, you add it below the task, but when you are done with that task, you pop back up to the large task. Also, I add sub-tasks of the large task below the large task as I work on it, so it simultaneously lets you break down the problem and keep coming back to it to think of what the next subtask should be.>>

Don R. My fear, though, is that I avoid going back to those important or weighty tasks, and instead hedge them away using filler tasks. However, it's good to know that hasn't been your experience. Good thinking with the sub-tasks, btw, I will try that out.

Martin Williams. I'm very intrigued as to how you use NLFVP to help with intermittent fasting?! I've been doing it on and off (more off than on) for a while, though not very successfully.
June 29, 2016 at 22:45 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C
<<Yes, it's [the algorithm] given in my previous post at http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2016/6/27/and-the-winner-is.html>>

Thanks, Mark. The more I look at the steps, the more I see a definite algorithm.

<<I found it works for hammering on a large task. When you want to work on something else, you add it below the task, but when you are done with that task, you pop back up to the large task. Also, I add sub-tasks of the large task below the large task as I work on it, so it simultaneously lets you break down the problem and keep coming back to it to think of what the next subtask should be.>>

Don R. My fear, though, is that I avoid going back to those important or weighty tasks, and instead block them using filler tasks. However, it's good to know that hasn't been your experience. Good thinking with the sub-tasks, btw, I will try that out.

Martin Williams. I'm very intrigued as to how you use NLFVP to help with intermittent fasting?! I've been doing it on and off - more off than on - for a while, though not very successfully.
June 30, 2016 at 0:09 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C

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