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« The Lenten Challenge Starts | Main | What to give up for Lent? »

Ready for the Start?

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the start of my challenge to myself, and anyone who wants to join me, of sticking to the same time management system for the whole of Lent. 

I’ve decided not to use The Bounce because I don’t want this to be a test of a specific system, but of what happens when one consistently uses the same “catch-all” system over a period of time. 

So instead I am going to use the most basic “catch-all” system, which consists of nothing more than repeatedly scanning the list from beginning to end, taking action on any task which stands out as being ready to be done.

Those who want to join me in the challenge can use whatever system they like - or none at all.

I started using the system yesterday so that I’d be up and running for the start tomorrow.  I copied over the list I was using with The Bounce into a new notebook. There were 113 tasks on the list. 

Note that there is a certain amount of disagreement about when exactly Lent ends. For the purposes of this challenge only I am including Good Friday (April 14), but not Holy Saturday (April 15).

Reader Comments (16)

I am in with DIT! I had a very good, long run with No List FVP and in the last few days I switched over to Five Task. I had a good experience when I first tried it out, but this time I saw myself neglecting it when too many interruptions came too fast.

This year I switched over to a paper calendar/notebook. I want to combine that with a digital DIT. Exactly the opposite to how I had it when I used DIT back then. I want to see how that works and I also want to see how everything I learned through using the no list systems makes me handle DIT this time around.
February 28, 2017 at 11:18 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher
I will be joining you and I will be using DIT with paper notebook/calendar. My goal for the challenge is to actually work the system for a good length of time, not just read about it. I've got all your books and read the website regularly. I want to observe what happens with my time management when I can make a commitment and follow through.
February 28, 2017 at 12:07 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda
I'm in. (So much for my one experiment per calendar month plan.)

1. No Slitherlink video maze game. It's very easy to pick up at any time, and try again and again. I'm curious what will replace it.

1a. When I get the urge for Slitherlink, strongly consider: Journal. Meditate. Housework. (Those are most-likely to be the right mood / context / brain-power.) Not Facebook.

2. Continue to log and analyze time use. (That's how I know that, if I continued with the current pattern, I'd spend 82 hours / month on Slitherlink, and only 10 hours logging, assuming I don't change log systems again.)

2b. Continue with current log system.

3. Continue to use ToodleDo, sorting in different ways (priority, due date, calculated importance, context). If nothing stands out, use Randomizer.

4. Habits to work on: Bedtime. Journal. Meditate. Deskwork. Daily Housework. Email maintenance. Accounting (close 2016). Continue exercise habit.
February 28, 2017 at 14:16 | Registered CommenterCricket
Mark, I'm in. I've been struggling with what system to use and your post today about a basic catch all and scanning sounds like just the plan! I've also developed quite a bad habit about switching notebooks frequently, resulting in all of the obvious pitfalls. For this challenge, I will use my A5 Filofax for the duration of Lent. Thanks for another great idea!
February 28, 2017 at 19:29 | Unregistered CommenterTerry
Hi Mark - I'm going to be using the Bounce. Its simplicity is the key reason I've chosen to use it for this experiment - the less time I have to spend fiddling with the mechanics of the system, the more time I'll have available to carry out my tasks and projects.

I'm going to start with a fresh notebook and fresh list tomorrow morning. I'm going to try to add only tasks that are relevant to the period covered, 1st March to 14th April, and will keep a separate someday/maybe list.

Good luck everybody!
February 28, 2017 at 20:14 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1
I'm not a Christian, but I've decided to give this a go, in a rather radical way. For years I've been using various systems, including Mark's, but always digitally. I've never had a huge amount of success sticking with them for long, and I've rather been drifting lately, so today I went into town, bought myself a pen and a notebook, and will be sticking with AF1 for the entire 40 days.

Thanks for suggesting this, Mark -- it's a great idea.
February 28, 2017 at 22:09 | Unregistered CommenterKiwi Erik
Time Management Systems:

ToodleDo, changing the sorting system as the Spirit moves me (pun not planned, but suitable), and Randomizer if I'm tempted to wander away from the list before deciding. (I'm agnostic, buyt find that leaving room for God to speak to me is still worthwhile. Listening, well, I don't listen that well to wise humans, either. Work in progress.)

Work first. Plan and journal before distractions each morning. About an hour after each meal before distractions.

Ask self if I can make good use of the time remaining in the half-day, day, week, month.

Start each week by exploring the map for the week. List all appointments and commitments on one page. Map, not route, although sometimes exploring the map makes me realize there are only a few good routes.

Start each day by exploring the map for the day. Yes, rewriting some from the week map.
February 28, 2017 at 23:51 | Registered CommenterCricket
I'm a godless non-joiner, but I'm in. I realized that not joining in would be tantamount to saying that I _intended_ to chop and change systems a few times in the next 46 days, and no sane person could admit such an intention (apart from a TM system developer).

So I'll be sticking with the Bounce, unless I find it's actually not working for me. But it's looking pretty good right now.
March 1, 2017 at 9:14 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
I'm in too, hoping it will make me more conscious and intentional around work management for the period.
have been using 5T recently, and finding that while it's great for focusing in on particular tasks, I need (at least for now) something with a more structured overview built in.
So I'll have a go with DIT, and make any minor refinements on my approach as I go.
March 1, 2017 at 12:38 | Unregistered CommenterColin
I'm in. DIT will be my system of choice. Looking forward to this fast from fickle flights of fancy.
March 1, 2017 at 14:15 | Unregistered CommenterLenore

Count this agnostic Jew in! I am committing to using a catch-all list that I set up two months ago in excel. It has a column for Expiry date (DWM) and for due date and want to do date which trumps the expiry date in the days left column. So I commit to engaging (doing some, all or none) of the 0 days left first.

I have a page number column that gives me 30 items a page, and I have another column to record a bounce direction, so when I am done with the due today tasks I will choose either FAF or the Bounce.
March 1, 2017 at 16:19 | Unregistered Commentervegheadjones
I am the sort of Christian who opposes the observance of Lent, but I happen to be starting a new system today and plan to stick with it for at least March. I like the idea of a lot of folks trying to stick with one system in unison. I will use a system based on systems of two top managers at my company. You keep running notes in a notebook and note actions as they come up, as many people do. Once a day you review yesterday's notes. Once a week you review the last week's notes. When you do your weekly review, you review and consolidate outstanding actions on a new page. This effectively dismisses the last week's pages.
March 1, 2017 at 17:59 | Unregistered CommenterAustin
I'm in with The Bounce. I use two lists, one for tasks at home and one for task at work. I have been struggling to manage my tasks at home. My conclusion is that I need two lists and HOPE The Bounce will help me at home. I know it will at work.

I had to read to understand what "giving up for a lent" is. I like these types of tradition. I feel it connects us to our ancestors and traditions that were so much more important to them and part of their daily life for hundreds of years.
March 2, 2017 at 8:08 | Unregistered CommenterTobba, Oslo
Im curious about your system based on your managers.

Do you keep to do list? Or only note for anything comes during The day?

Could you explain more detail how The system?

March 2, 2017 at 11:33 | Unregistered CommenterNanda
The core element is just free-form notes in a notebook of the same sort that a great many working people keep, whether or not they have ever used a productivity system. Actions can be written whenever they occur to me, as part of meeting notes, or whatever.

The insights I got from the two managers were that one reviews his last day's notes daily and the past week's notes weekly, and the other consolidates his actions on a new page from time to time when things get too spread out. I merged this with the weekly notes review.

The impetus for this is that I have to take detailed notes anyway for monthly reporting and weekly R&D time reporting. Until now I was doing this in parallel with a separate system. I want to see if I can build a workable system around it instead.
March 2, 2017 at 12:44 | Unregistered CommenterAustin
@austin: thanks again. It seems very simple system. Think i Will try it too
March 2, 2017 at 13:35 | Unregistered CommenterNanda

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