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« How to Set Up Routines | Main | The Same Old Routine »
Thursday
Jun302016

The Importance of Correct Form

I made a remark in Tuesday’s post about the importance of correct form when using No-List FVP:

I 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.

It thought I’d expand on that thought today.

In my experience the bits of correct form which it’s particularly important to pay attention to are these:

1) Aim to finish every task on the list by the time you stop for the day. It helps to put “Stop work” or “Go to bed” as the first item on the list. This will help to focus your attention on the time still available.

2) Select between two or three major tasks to go after the “Stop work” marker. Make sure these tasks are in the opposite order to the order you want to do them. If you miss this out you are liable to have trouble keeping your focus throughout the day. Working up to these major tasks provides a framework for the day.

3) When selecting the next task to work on, rigidly adhere to the procedure of repeatedly asking “Is there anything I want to do before this?” until you get the answer “No”.  You can use a differently phrased question if you like, but make sure you use it in the same way. Especially avoid doing any task without going through this procedure or you will find yourself drifting aimlessly from one trivial action to another. The tighter you keep to the procedure the more focused your work will be.

Whenever you find your focus slipping ask yourself “Am I following correct form?”

Reader Comments (6)

Thank you Mark, fantastic advice. Are you using a notebook or a sheet of paper for this list?
June 30, 2016 at 20:03 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
<<It helps to put “Stop work” or “Go to bed” as the first item on the list.>>

Would you suggest doing this first thing in the morning, or some time later, perhaps a few hours before normal bedtime?

The reason I ask is that I like completing a lot of individual tasks and short 'chains' (in FV parlance). It's very satisfying to have a blank slate a few times each day. Thinking about what is the next best task to do, without having to compare it to items on a preexisting list, is liberating. And then considering what I'd prefer to do before that is a chance to escape for a while – structured procrastination, I guess.
June 30, 2016 at 22:33 | Registered Commenterubi
I've only been following this blog for a few months, since I saw an ancient Lifehacker article on Autofocus. But I think you've surpassed yourself with this iteration.
June 30, 2016 at 23:58 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Williams
Leon:

<< Thank you Mark, fantastic advice. Are you using a notebook or a sheet of paper for this list? >>

At present I'm using a sheet a day from a lined A4 refill pad.
July 1, 2016 at 0:55 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
ubi:

<< Would you suggest doing this first thing in the morning, or some time later, perhaps a few hours before normal bedtime? >>

I put it on the list first thing in the morning. So my first question is "What do I want to do before I go to bed tonight?" By this I mean "What is the major thing I want to have achieved today?"

However there's nothing compulsory about this. See what works best for you.
July 1, 2016 at 0:57 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I have been using this the past week and I really like it. When I go to work, the first thing I put on my list is Go Home. Then my question becomes, what do I want to do today before I go home? It keeps me focused on what I need to do today.

I also look at my schedule for whatever my next appointment is, say an 11:00 meeting. This becomes the second item on my list: Meeting with Joe. So now my next question is what do I want to do before my meeting with Joe? This helps me focus on the time I have between now and the meeting.

One other thing that is helpful to me is something I learned from Mark's Get Everything Done book. He calls it the S.W.E.E.T. time (Stop Working on Everything Else Time). So I figure what time do I need to stop working on everything else in order to get to my 11:00 appointment with Joe on time (close up my office; get to my car; estimated travel time; sufficient margin). When I write Meeting with Joe as the second task on my list I add the SWEET time like this: Meeting with Joe (10:35 sweet). This makes the question for the next task even more specific. What do I want to do before 10:35 when I must stop working on everything else in order to get to my meeting with Joe on time?
July 2, 2016 at 13:05 | Unregistered CommenterRay Fowler

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