Speed and Direction
Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 13:29
Mark Forster in Articles, high intensity

Some recent comments have queried exactly what I mean by Speed and Direction in the context of High Intensity Time Management. So I think it would be a good idea to use a blog post to repeat and amplify my replies to those comments. 

Remember that the main qualifications for an HITM system are: 

Subject to these any suitable scanning method may be used. The one I currently recommend is Simple Scanning, but I’m convinced that I can find a better way. I’m currently testing another system which may prove more suitable - or not. However what I’m about to say applies to any qualifying system.


There are two aspects to speed. First, there is the amount of time it takes to scan for the next task. On the one hand there would be a FIFO system in which you just do the tasks in the order they are written on the list. There would be effectively no time spent scanning at all. On the other hand would be a system in which you have to scan the entire list each time before selecting the next task. With a large list scanning would take a long time.

The second aspect is that speed is not just going through the whole list fast, but also doing the work fast. If you are bored and unmotivated your work slows to a crawl. But if you are fired up, you work much faster - and better too.

Unfortunately the two aspects contradict themselves to some extent. If you tried to do your work in a strictly FIFO order, you would probably end up bored to tears and very unmotivated. Any time saved in scanning would be easily outweighed by the slow speed of the actual work.

The ideal system has to be one in which the scanning time is kept as low as possible, but in which the emphasis is on keeping interest and motivation going.


It refers to giving direction to your life - as opposed, at the other extreme, to drifting aimlessly.

The idea behind HITM is that you have a big list which contains everything you might want to do. It’s then by working the list that you discover what you really do want to do. Anything that you decide that you are not going to do gets weeded out. As I think I’ve said before, I think the precise mechanism is less important than the approach. Unlike other approaches where not getting everything on the list done is seen as a failure, with HITM not getting everything done is seen as a success, i.e. it’s what’s supposed to happen. It’s the way you discover what you really want and ride the wave. In short it is what is called “being in the flow”.

Article originally appeared on Get Everything Done (http://markforster.net/).
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