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« Scatter Maps | Main | Systematic Next Hour »
Saturday
Apr292017

No Question FVP

Here’s the system I’m using at the moment, which I’m finding works very well so far.

As the name suggests, it’s basically FVP without the questions.

As in FVP the first task on the list is always dotted.

You scan the list by dotting what stands out. As in FVP you then move backwards through the list to action the tasks.

When you have taken action on a task, you scan from that task to the end of the list without bothering to look at the preceding dotted task. When no tasks stand out you then go back to the preceding dotted task and do that.

In other words the basic algorithm is exactly the same as in FVP - but without asking any questions.

The great advantage over FVP is that the system itself requires hardly any mental effort. This makes it much faster and easier. And since the basis for selection is “standing out” there is little or no resistence to the tasks themselves.

Reader Comments (27)

One option could be to "scan from that task to the end of the list" only when you don't feel like doing now the last preselected task.
April 30, 2017 at 9:24 | Unregistered Commenternick61
nick61:

By all means try that option to see how it works for you, but I find it doesn't work as well for me. I'm not sure why!
April 30, 2017 at 10:49 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
The idea is to work in pure FV mode but allowing a scan of the tail of the list whether:
1\ you feel resistance to the last dotted item, or
2\ you have the feeling that in the last part of the list something is becoming urgent...
April 30, 2017 at 16:01 | Unregistered Commenternick61
Isn't there an implicit question here, along the lines of "does the task stand out more than the last dotted task"? Or is there no 'outstandingness' sort order in the dotted tasks?

My apologies if I'm being 'outstandingly' thick here...
April 30, 2017 at 18:28 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D.
nick61:

<< The idea is to work in pure FV mode but allowing a scan of the tail of the list whether: 1\ you feel resistance to the last dotted item, or 2\ you have the feeling that in the last part of the list something is becoming urgent... >>

Yes, that's a perfectly viable option and one which I tried out, but I didn't find it worked for me as well as the one I'm proposing.
April 30, 2017 at 20:35 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
David D.

The way I'm doing it - and which works for me - is not to attempt to impose any sort of conscious order but to let the "standing out" procedure do the work for me.

I think it's the reduction in mental effort involved - rather than the logic of the algorithm - that makes it so much faster (for me) than the alternative that nick61 suggests.
April 30, 2017 at 20:44 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Just for the record:

I restarted this method today (April 30) with a fresh list after experimenting with something else yesterday. During the day I entered or re-entered 176 tasks, of which I worked on 112, leaving 64 active tasks on the list at the end of the day.

I think that is the fastest I have ever succeeded in moving through a list in one day.
May 1, 2017 at 0:21 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark Forster:
«not to attempt to impose any sort of conscious order but to let the "standing out" procedure do the work for me»

OK, then I'll try it out that way. I'm just a little concerned that when the selected 'standing out' list grows beyond a day's work, the lack of prioritization will start to become a problem.

Are you currently using this system with a short ( <1day) or long ( >1day) list?
May 1, 2017 at 0:48 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D.
Apologies for wasting your time, you posted the above comment while I was thinking about my last comment... Obviously you are using a long ( >1day) list.

Are you carrying unactioned but dotted tasks over from one day to the next?
May 1, 2017 at 0:59 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D.
David D:

<< Are you currently using this system with a short ( <1day) or long ( >1day) list? >>

Long. I try to have all current work on it, but I let it build up as I go along, rather than try and write everything down in one go - another instance of reducing mental effort wherever possible.

Dotted tasks are carried over.
May 1, 2017 at 1:02 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark, that seems an awful lot of tasks for 1 day.
I would be interested in what sort of tasks go on the list.
e.g. If you had 20 items of post arrive that day, would you list them all, or would those 20 items count as 1 task called "post".
Keen to know what granular level should be used for the task list.
Thanks
May 1, 2017 at 15:02 | Unregistered CommenterMr Backlog
Mr Backlog:

Definitely one task called Post.

Use the level of granularity that you find suits the work. It will vary from project to project.

I suggest you read http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2015/6/9/follow-up-to-the-productive-day-challenge.html and http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2015/6/7/the-productive-day-challenge.html
May 1, 2017 at 16:19 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Total of tasks on list at end of Day 2 is 316, of which 245 have been actioned, leaving 71 on the list.
May 2, 2017 at 1:22 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Those numbers are pretty astonishing!

I am assuming this is the same kind of mix of tasks as you have had in the past?
May 2, 2017 at 2:02 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
@Mark Forster: I'm curious, are you doing "No Question Fast FVP", "Questionless FVP" like we did a couple of years ago, or something different?
May 2, 2017 at 2:25 | Registered Commenternuntym
Seraphim:

Yes, except that at the moment I'm not capable of going for long walks and runs so I have a bit more time available at the "coal face".
May 2, 2017 at 9:19 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, are you counting each pass of a "little and often" task as a separate task?

That is, does

Work on report
Work on plan
Work on report

count as 2 tasks or three?
May 2, 2017 at 9:44 | Registered CommenterWill
Will:

I am counting each line on my list as one. So your example would be three.
May 2, 2017 at 17:16 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
nuntym:

Sorry, the answer I wrote earlier seems to have disappeared.

The method I am using is the one described in the article to which this is the comment thread.
May 2, 2017 at 17:19 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I was away during the day from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m so less time available to work on the list than in the previous two days.

Nevertheless the stats are still good.

Total of tasks on list at end of Day 3 is 368, of which 292 have been actioned, leaving 76 on the list.
May 2, 2017 at 23:56 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
nuntym and Mark -

It does appear to be identical with Mark's first mention of "FVP with no question at all" on June 3, 2015:
http://markforster.squarespace.com/fv-forum/post/2508019#post2509454

It was also called:
AutoFocus Perfected
No-Question FVP
Questionless FVP
FVP-Q (as in "FVP minus the question")

Subsequent discussion posts go into a lot of depth experimenting with this and comparing to "questioned" FVP.

For example, see Mark's blog post "Dotting Power":
http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2015/6/10/dotting-power.html

I used this method myself for quite a while, though I somehow remembered an additional step after completing a task. This extra step was "look at the last dotted task", which sets a kind of baseline, before scanning forward from the last completed item to find other things that stand out.
May 2, 2017 at 23:57 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

You're right. I'd forgotten that. I don't think I ever followed through on it.

I found that the additional step you mention slows it down considerably and increases the mental effort required. It wasn't until I got rid of that step that it really started to move.
May 3, 2017 at 0:18 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark:

<< I found that the additional step you mention slows it down considerably and increases the mental effort required. It wasn't until I got rid of that step that it really started to move. >>

Yes, I think this is the key difference between the previous incarnations of No-Question FVP, and your current system. It's amazing how such a small change can make such a big difference -- but it wouldn't be the first time we've seen that happen!
May 3, 2017 at 17:59 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Total of tasks on list at end of Day 4 is 483, of which 406 have been actioned, leaving 77 on the list.
May 4, 2017 at 0:59 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
No totals today as I've been experimenting with using Reverse FVP as the base for this instead of FVP.

http://markforster.squarespace.com/fv-forum/post/2563635

So far it looks both faster and more focused.
May 5, 2017 at 0:57 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, it's not clear to me from the discussion above whether you are using the Fast FVP rule:

" whenever a task is dotted which I am ready to do right now I stop scanning and do it."

As far as I can see, that would be consistent with the NQ-FVP method as you've described it.

Chris
May 8, 2017 at 11:28 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
Chris Cooper:

No, I'm not using that rule. The scan is done to the end of the list each time.

See my exchange with Seraphim a few comments back on this thread.
May 8, 2017 at 13:08 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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