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« This One! | Main | Natural Selection Changes the Emphasis »
Tuesday
Feb142017

Guess which?

For the last few days I’ve been resurrecting an old method and getting really good results from it. I know some of you like playing the detective, so here are some clues. Can you identify the method?

 

  • It uses a full “catch-all” list
  • It’s not one of the Autofocus, Superfocus, FV, or FVP based methods
  • Any task can be accessed immediately
  • It does not use any form of random selection
  • There is no pre-selection - only one task is selected at a time.
  • New tasks can be added at any time
  • There is no “dismissal” of tasks
  • Unfinished and recurrent tasks are re-entered immediately
  • Selection is fast and easy
  • It is very responsive to circumstances, time of day, etc
  • No need to have separate lists for work, office, home, etc.
  • The list is treated as one whole - no pages involved.

 

I’ve never really given this method a fair trial in the past. I think this is because I’ve made the mistake of starting it on an already long list. This time I started with a list of only ten tasks and let the list grow of its own accord. At the moment my list is 69 tasks long and the method is still working well.

Reader Comments (29)

DWM or DWM2 ?
February 14, 2017 at 16:40 | Registered CommenterCaibre65
I was thinking DWM also, but then remembered how things roll off the waterfall after 30 days, which is arguably a kind of dismissal. http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2010/2/1/dit2-af5-who-cares-what-its-called-this-is-what-im-working-o.html
February 14, 2017 at 16:51 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
I was also thinking it could be DIT, but DIT is page-based. Hmmm...
February 14, 2017 at 16:54 | Unregistered CommenterSeraphim
(And if it were DIT, Mark would not have started it with a long list, nor would he have said he had never given it a fair trial!)
February 14, 2017 at 16:55 | Unregistered CommenterSeraphim
I think at the time that Mark drew a distinction between the time based expiry date and the process based dismissal. In line with his current thinking of letting things go if they're not "active" my money is on DWM2 given that it's a list based system.
February 14, 2017 at 17:05 | Registered CommenterCaibre65
No one even remotely near yet!
February 14, 2017 at 17:10 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Is it a post or pre FV system?
February 14, 2017 at 17:21 | Registered CommenterCaibre65
DWM FTW! I've gone back to that around two weeks ago and love it.
February 14, 2017 at 17:40 | Unregistered Commentervegheadjones
I'm guessing it's 'The Same Old Thing'.
February 14, 2017 at 18:31 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Hm, I don't think it can be "The Same Old Thing," because that system doesn't allow you to jump wherever you want in the list. So not every task is immediately accessible.

http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2016/12/27/how-to-do-the-same-old-thing.html
February 14, 2017 at 19:59 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
February 14, 2017 at 21:25 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
And this is the alternative, resistance-guided version:

A Simple and Powerful Method
http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2013/6/9/a-simple-and-powerful-method.html
February 14, 2017 at 21:26 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B - As much as I like those systems, they have the same problem—they don't meet the criterion, "Any task can be accessed immediately."
February 14, 2017 at 21:48 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

Yes, agreed. I was thinking the same thing. However, in the comments section there appeared to be talk of jumping directly to a group of tasks out of order when needed, and Mark wrote that urgent tasks may be selected and done immediately. It seems like a perfect match otherwise though, don't you think?
February 14, 2017 at 21:57 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Now I'm really curious what it could be! I've scoured all the catch-all systems listed in the "TM Systems" section. It leads me to believe it may be one not listed there. Perhaps it's from Mark's book "Get Everything Done"?

So far I think we've established that it's not:

• Any Autofocus-based system
• Any FV-based system
• Any Random-based system
• DWM (Day, Week, Month)
• DWM 2 (Day, Week, Month 2)
• Any No-List system
• DIT (Do It Tomorrow)
• Spinning Plates
• Colley's Rule and the Resistance Principle
• Jefferson Nickel (Autofocus-based)
• Predictive To Do List
• A Simple and Powerful Method

And it doesn't seem likely to be:

• The Same Old Thing
• The Georgette Heyer Task Management System
• ASEM
February 14, 2017 at 22:53 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Directional Open List ? From the May 2016 newsletter.
February 14, 2017 at 23:06 | Registered CommenterCaibre65
Caibre65:

Thanks! I missed that one!

Directional Open List
http://markforster.squarespace.com/forum/post/2597395
February 14, 2017 at 23:13 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
I think Caibre65 nailed it!
February 14, 2017 at 23:20 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Caibre65:

<< Directional Open List ? From the May 2016 newsletter.>>

Not a bad guess. But not the correct answer.

The correct answer has a higher score for the following clues:

- It is very responsive to circumstances, time of day, etc
- No need to have separate lists for work, office, home, etc.
February 14, 2017 at 23:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark:

You've presented us with a solid mystery!
February 14, 2017 at 23:54 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
This detective work has already inspired the first project for my new list. And the project is becoming easier and easier!
February 15, 2017 at 0:02 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Mark:

"The correct answer has a higher score for the following clues:

- It is very responsive to circumstances, time of day, etc
- No need to have separate lists for work, office, home, etc."

Waaaait a second. I'm no longer ruling out resistance-guided systems:

"Resistance varies with the time of day and circumstances. It's not just a matter of doing the most unpleasant task first. What you may be resisting at any given time may be something simple like hanging up your coat rather than leaving it lying around. Or it may be to take some rest or leave the office on time."

October 6, 2010 at 23:19 | Mark Forster
February 15, 2017 at 0:35 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Is it your notebook idea? I always found this idea intriguing.
http://markforster.squarespace.com/forum/post/2547537#post2547564

"Since writing the above I have developed a very simple refinement on the time management system in "Secrets of Productive People" which I have designed specifically for this notebook, together with a system of reminders and a method of breaking down larger tasks. All this can be done without disturbing the linear chronological format of the notebook. A side benefit of this is that there is no need to have separate lists for work and personal.

This is becoming the complete time management system that some people have been asking for."
February 15, 2017 at 2:30 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
Is it your notebook idea? I always liked this concept.

http://markforster.squarespace.com/forum/post/2547537#post2547564
February 15, 2017 at 2:57 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
The Simplest Time Management System ( http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2008/11/17/the-simplest-time-management-method.html ) doesn't meet all the criteria -- such as the "all tasks immediately accessible" requirement -- but it was still fun to read the post and the comments in the days immediately preceding the launch of the original Autofocus. :-)

One of the nicest things about these hunting exercises is revisiting so many wonderful posts and discussions from years past. :-)
February 15, 2017 at 5:49 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

"One of the nicest things about these hunting exercises is revisiting so many wonderful posts and discussions from years past. :-)"

Agreed! Lots of discoveries today.
February 15, 2017 at 6:06 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Is it the notebook idea?

"Since writing the above I have developed a very simple refinement on the time management system in "Secrets of Productive People" which I have designed specifically for this notebook, together with a system of reminders and a method of breaking down larger tasks. All this can be done without disturbing the linear chronological format of the notebook. A side benefit of this is that there is no need to have separate lists for work and personal. "
October 15, 2015 at 8:20"
February 15, 2017 at 12:01 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
I'd forgotten about a lot of these systems myself - in fact I had to look up several to make sure that they weren't in fact the one I'm using.

I'm spending the day today with the grandchildren, but will reveal the secret as soon as I get back to the list.
February 15, 2017 at 12:38 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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