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« Report on Progress | Main | The Lenten Challenge Starts »

Entries for the Lenten Challenge

Here is the list of entrants as far as I am aware of them from the Comments to the last two posts. Please notify me of any mistakes, omissions or amendments in the Comments.
Austin               Own system (notebook reviews)
Brenda              DIT
Caibre65            The Bounce (modified)
Chris Cooper      The Bounce
Christian G.       Own system (five tasks)
Christopher       DIT
Colin                 DIT
Cricket              ToodleDo
Dino                  DIT
Don R                Own system (minimal steps)
Eiron                 Own system
Eugenia             (Added Mar 5) Basic scanning
Frank                FVP
Griffen               The Bounce (modified)
james220          FV
Jupiter              (Added Mar 5) Own system (Jane Wesman/AF2)
Kiwi Eric            AF1
Lenore              DIT
Leon                 The Bounce (modified)
Margaret1         The Bounce
Mark Forster      FVP
nuntym             FAF
Ryan Freckleton AF4
Seraphim           DIT with Theory of Constraints
stefanb              (Added March 3rd) AF1 modified.
Terry                 Basic scanning
Tobba                The Bounce
Tommy              (Added Mar 5) DIT
tomcal               FVP
vegheadjones     FAF or The Bounce
I’ve received only one idea for a prize so far, but as it would cost me far too much in the way of time to produce unfortunately I’ve had to rule it out.

Reader Comments (39)

I'm also in, using DIT (though I was severely intrigued by the system Jupiter mentioned in the forum) over the next 40 days for all work tasks. I've never tried extending it to personal tasks as well as I don't feel it would works as well there
March 2, 2017 at 11:44 | Unregistered CommenterDino
Please add me to the list Mark. I'm using my own system based on The Bounce.
March 2, 2017 at 12:15 | Registered CommenterCaibre65
I'm on DIT rather than 5T (which is the one I had been using till recently).
Good luck everyone!

Seraphim, I'd be interested to see a summary of your DIT with Theory of Constraints.
March 2, 2017 at 12:27 | Unregistered CommenterColin
I did not mention anything because I didn't think it was much of a sacrifice since Flexible AF is working for me so well, but I can't see any reason for not joining, so yeah count me in with Flexible AF.
March 2, 2017 at 16:01 | Registered Commenternuntym
Colin, I've been very focused on using the Theory of Constraints "Thinking Processes" lately, to identify core problems, areas of focus, and what should be subordinated to what. It's been very challenging (that is, challenging my assumptions and really making me think) and helping me find several breakthroughs in my work and other areas of life. And one thing it made clear to me is I need to re-establish some fundamentals in "staying on top of my work" -- it is what is repeatedly blocking me from focusing on higher-level breakthroughs. And there is no better system for "staying on top of my work" than DIT. And DIT is like an old friend -- I think we can get along fine for 40 days. :-)
March 2, 2017 at 16:09 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Please add me as well. I'll be using AF4.

As for as prizes go. How about a signed digital certificate? Simple, no money required and minimal effort :)
March 2, 2017 at 16:13 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Freckleton
A copy of the MF book of the winner's choice seems fitting.
March 2, 2017 at 17:05 | Unregistered CommenterAustin
Prizes: A simple mention on a "Hall of Fame" blog post would be fine for me.

...and perhaps the threat of a mention on a "Hall of Shame" blog post would make us think twice before quitting :-)
March 2, 2017 at 18:38 | Registered CommenterFrank
There's bound to be multiple winners here and we are all going by word of honor here (no way to verify who persisted to the end and those who didn't) so yeah a "Hall of Fame" and/or online digital certificate wold suffice :)
March 2, 2017 at 19:03 | Registered Commenternuntym
It's really interesting to see the list -- it's a kind of scoring of which systems are the most solid and sustainable. That information alone is a pretty nice prize, and it will be an even nice prize to see the results after Pascha. :-)
March 2, 2017 at 21:19 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
I am also using my own system. It is a catch-all system I have been tweaking for a while with a mix of randomisation with a priority-based weighting attached, plus a built-in reward system. Somehow, all of this somehow manages itself, so I am able to get on with my tasks instead of festering in 'what-now?' paralysis. I am also set on making no additional tweaks to the system for the next 40 days, so that its current iteration can get a little more testing.
March 2, 2017 at 22:50 | Unregistered CommenterEiron
I don't know if I failed, but I lost my task list, so I started using SMEMA. I technically changed systems, so I guess I did. : (
March 3, 2017 at 1:20 | Unregistered Commenterjames220
@Eiron That sounds really intriguing. Could you give us more details about your system and how it works?
March 3, 2017 at 5:37 | Unregistered CommenterGriffin
Oops. Can I still take part.
System: AF1 Randomizer with a Leuchtturm1917 A5 lined and a die
Goal: reduce resistance to zero
March 3, 2017 at 11:21 | Unregistered Commenterstefanb
Idea for prize: Pathway to Awesomeness ebook/pdf? (Actually I don't mind, a simple well done would be fine.)
Would be interesting to request that all completers post one thing we've learned from sticking to our particular system.
Thanks Seraphim, very interesting!
March 3, 2017 at 11:27 | Unregistered CommenterColin

<< I don't know if I failed, but I lost my task list, so I started using SMEMA. >>

It's up to you to decide whether you've failed or not. But I would say that if you get back as soon as you can to FV then you probably haven't.
March 3, 2017 at 11:29 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Griffin Certainly can. Largely inspired by what I read here, especially as my to-do list got wildly out of hand due to a period of interest. There is stuff that "needs" doing, but it is not urgent. I needed a way of focussing on the everyday chores, my degree, my job (I work full time, as well as studying full time at uni) and balance all that with my hobby (and sanity). I use a website called Habitica ( to track my to-dos, and the fact that the tasks change colour as they grow older means that there is some maths at work, so I harness that too.

However, at its heart, it is a system that gives priority first to self-care, then to other pressing matters. All I have to do is decide (and I try not to overthink it) on a priority from 1 to 5 when entering the tasks into the system. Sanity upkeep comes from having also a pool of things I would like - but do not need - to do also in the running. Every pomodoro I compete, I increase the weighting of that pool by one until it triggers, and then I reset it.

It all sounds very complicated, but I have been building it for a while and now it mostly manages itself. I do keep tweaking it, though, and that is what I want to stop (at least for Lent) and to give it a proper test. I am also trying to keep track of what I have completed using the system and what I have manually pushed to the top (in particular if it is in the system already). There is one thing that I would like to tweak, but I am resisting!

A heavy part of the system is the gamification element - there is a chance it will drop a reward for all of my work, which increases the more work I get done. It means that I am procrastinating less and longer breaks are built in to the system. I have fallen behind on things over the last few days due to life being a little busier even than normal, so I am hoping by focussing on following the system instead of finding ways to improve it (I acknowledge this as a form of resistence) I might get caught up.

Finally, on the topic of resistence, the use of pomodoros helps attack this. I only have to work on something until the end of a pomodoro and so those big projects that feel formidable can be tackled. The rule is that unless I ABSOLUTELY cannot do a task (not feeling like it is not going to cut it - not now my chronic fatigue has an explanation and treatment is underway), then I do at least something towards the task.
March 3, 2017 at 13:41 | Unregistered CommenterEiron
I am noting what could be improved, but I do not want to sit about recoding my system for now. I will implement any improvements that are not game-breaking bugs at the end of the process. As for a name, I have been using the somewhat silly 'QuestGiver' (because it started as an idea to find an intelligent means of selecting tasks from Habitica before it grew into this beast for which Habitca is no longer even required).
March 3, 2017 at 13:51 | Unregistered CommenterEiron
James220: What will you do to prevent losing the list in future?
March 3, 2017 at 18:50 | Registered CommenterCricket
I like each person posting one thing we learned, since the goal is to see what happens.

Wall of Fame suits me fine, and won't be one more thing to clutter the house. Maybe a badge we can put on other sites?

(Ooooh, this would be a good project to try out the new graphics design program.)

Count me as another early changer. I learned that, even if my phone is handy, it's significantly easier to put new tasks in my notebook, which is also always handy. I learned something, so successful experiment.

(Part of me says sticking with it would teach me something. Another part says I already know what it would teach me: I'd act on impulse more, since writing delays that action. Important things would be fogotten.)

Revised Challenge: Use ToodleDo for what it's good at: recurring and future tasks. (Less writing for recurring and keeping focus on important tasks.) Use a notebook for quick capture. Not sure how often to transfer tasks from paper to computer.

I've added re-read DIT and think about how it would work with ToodleDo to the list, due date to start is tomorrow.
March 3, 2017 at 18:59 | Registered CommenterCricket
Ha! My sister accidentally took my notebook because it looked like her school notebook. I will write my name in big bold letters on the front to prevent this from happening again.
March 4, 2017 at 13:58 | Unregistered Commenterjames220
james220 : You took that question in much better spirit than my teenagers do. Learning from experience is not something they want to do.
March 4, 2017 at 21:27 | Registered CommenterCricket
Please count me in with the Basic Scanning.

March 5, 2017 at 9:30 | Unregistered CommenterEugenia
Please Add me to the list I AM usine my Owner system based on Jane Wesman m├ęthode and autofocus 2 kind regards
March 5, 2017 at 10:19 | Unregistered CommenterJupiter
Doing this with DIT. I've always read about it and struggled understanding how it would actually look in real life. Figured this would be a good way to see!
I've got my today list which is only stuff that came in yesterday, and my tomorrow list which is the stuff that comes in today. Then there's my large backlog that I've been working on when the today list has been cleared.
I'm kind of cheating because I'm allowing myself to experiment with different system when processing the backlog. Currently using the bounce on it.
March 5, 2017 at 13:55 | Unregistered CommenterTommy
Surprised that no one used a no list system
March 5, 2017 at 20:52 | Unregistered Commenterjames220
James220 - I hadn't noticed that! Yes, very interesting. In practice, so far, my DIT and TOC approach uses DIT to stay on top of routine work and try to reduce it to a minimum, so I can focus on the things that are really critical to move my work forward. When I'm doing that focus work, it feels a lot like No-list -- lots of thinking and writing out top-of-mind kinds of things, and lots of dynamic lists. And lots of throwing lists away. No-list can be more like a tool for thinking and focusing and less like a time management system.
March 5, 2017 at 23:52 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
I kind if see your point. Ever since I used a no list system, I haven't felt the rush of too much tasks. It feels like my mind has learned how to manage itself
March 6, 2017 at 1:12 | Unregistered Commenterjames220
Is there a place where you list your DIT/TOC?
I am interested in ways of combining DIT with other methods. I'm currently using the today/tomorrow DIT pages but for my backlog I work it using the bounce.
March 7, 2017 at 0:20 | Unregistered CommenterTommy
I'm too late to enter the Lent challenge, but I can report that after several months No-List FVP continues to be the best system of any I have used.
March 7, 2017 at 23:18 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C
I've bombed with my challenge I'm afraid! I've moved on to a weekly bounce method now.
March 8, 2017 at 19:54 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

<< I've moved on to a weekly bounce method now.>>

How does that work?
March 8, 2017 at 19:59 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark, it's very early days and I'm not sure that it will be successfull. I really need to have consistency though so I hope it will. Most systems probably do work, I'm strating to understand now that all my system switching is undermining my consistency.

Basically, it has a plan - do - review approach to it and is based on a weekly cycle with effectively a weekly review. I think I will benefit fro. A weekly structure as a milestone to aim for each week.

The first step is to write down the topics one wants to focus on over the coming week. I write the week number above this list. One then boxes the items off with a vertical line on the left and a horizontal line underneath. This forms the topics list for the week. (For example 'football coaching planning').

The second step is to start a bounce list as per your rules. (I love the gameification of the bounce method). Each day is dated.

Dismissal: if an item gets onto the list that does not really fit in for this week then it is dismissed this week with a small vertical line to the left of it. Note: It's ok to do items that are not on the topics list if it makes sense to do them or make a start on them.

The last step (review stage) is to end the week long list. Tab out the top page corners of all pages from the previous week. Then review any dismissed items from previous weeks. Then return to the first step for starting next week and then start a new fresh list!

I hope this answers your question, let me know if it seems confusing!
March 8, 2017 at 21:27 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
By the way, it is officially named 'The Weekly Bounce' (TWB)...and it is working well. So far!

I noticed the bounce method works better for me than consciously choosing what direction to go in next. It's a lot simpler and much more fun bouncing as per Mark's bounce method.

I am manging to cut down on 'pseudo urgent random factors' by dismissing such items (as described). (It happens a lot, I tend to flit from one thing to the next new.thing with little progree or completion). This is helping me to stay focussed.on my topics list for this week. I have atopics list this week of around 12 items.
March 9, 2017 at 14:35 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Tommy, I wrote up a summary of my DIT + TOC approach here:
March 13, 2017 at 20:35 | Registered CommenterSeraphim

I think I loss the challenge, but got clarity on a system that works for me.

The way I conceived of what I would do for the challenge is commit to a particular catch all list set up in Excel and worked on using a variety of MF techniques, including a modified DWM (modified because the due date and date I want to do something also gets factored in), FAF, Bounce and timeboxing.

I noticed that even with DWM in place, I still had problems completing high priority tasks. My modification is to run a 3T list off of the DWM =0 and use timeboxing on those tasks. Now I focus on getting important tasks to completion and still have the DWM-driven catch all list to ensure that tasks get my attention on the right days.

I am not sure if I lost the challenge or not but I do feel like I am winning the war!

Two more things:

1) Yes my catch-all lists rival Seraphim: My current list (Since Lent) is 188 items. The modified DWM algorithm shortens what I view on a day's basis. Once every few days though I give the list a read to make sure the algorithms are woprking

2) I am ready to share my spreadsheet if there are any brave souls who want to look at or try it. I have shared it with some of my staff so I have some instructions and they seem to be using it well. If interested, comment or email me at vegheadjones [at] gmail and I will find a place to house it and send you a link.
March 13, 2017 at 22:16 | Unregistered Commentervegheadjones

I can house your spreadsheet on this blog if you send it to me.
March 13, 2017 at 23:15 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I'd love to try it, after the Lenten challenge. I can export from ToodleDo to Excel, so the timing would be good. Except, part of what I'm finding is that entering everything online is a pain.

I'll probably try a version of it on paper.
March 14, 2017 at 15:16 | Registered CommenterCricket
Wow, thanks Mark for offering to host and thanks Cricket for your interest. I need to write up some clearer instructions and then will send to you to post. Hopefully can do the write up this weekend.

Cricket there are only three advantages to this over paper: 1) You can link to emails or support materials 2) You can filter by project, context, or person (and other things as well) 3) It handles dates (including DWM expiry dates) really nicely in my humble opinion. If you don't need those, I am not sure you will find value in using the spreadsheet, and whatever you are doing on paper now would be better than trying to translate this to a paper environment.

The spreadsheet is set to be a catch all list that you can then choose to use any (or all) of the following MF methods:

DWM (What I use the most- modified by factoring in due dates, want to do dates and start dates
3T or 5T using the list as a feeder,. but not having to create another list (I use this in conjunction with DWM)
Timeboxing (I circle through my 3T with timeboxing at 5 minute increments, all built in)
FAF or any of the other AFs (I believe)
The Bounce

You may find other ways to use it as well.
March 17, 2017 at 22:45 | Unregistered Commentervegheadjones

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