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Main | Only Five Days to Start of Challenge! »

Lenten Challenge Starts/Started at Midnight (Your Local Time)

Here is the starting list for the Lenten Challenge 2019. I will accept last minute entries and amendments up to 11.59pm March 5th (your local time). 

At the very last moment I decided to change my own entry to a new, and so far untried, no-list method. I have no idea whether I’ll be able to keep it going.

I’m pleased to say that we have 57 entrants, which I think is a record for this.

If you fail to keep to the challenge please let us know in the comments to this post so that everyone can see. Do include a description of your experiences if you want to. Progress reports are also welcome.

If you are unable to post, then you can email me (top right tab) but please only do this if you have to.

Remember this is a challenge and not a competition, so the only person you will be deceiving if you cheat is yourself! 


  1. Myself - 10 Task No-List
  2. vegheadjones - The Bounce
  3. nuntym - Task Tracking Light
  4. avrum - Daily-Weekly Narrative
  5. Seraphim - Serial No-List
  6. Divyana Adwani - Google Ecosystem
  7. Will - Simple Scanning
  8. Mike Brown - Serial No-List
  9. Gadgets - Simple Scanning
  10. Colin - Simple Scanning
  11. Paul B - ASEM
  12. Ville - Simple Scanning
  13. teckwyn - Randomizer
  14. MrBacklog - ABC simple scanning batching
  15. TMac - Simple Scanning
  16. Laby - Smile (Own Method)
  17. Eiron Page - Productivity Bingo
  18. Natalia - 4x2
  19. Brenda - DIT (Do It Tomorrow) and Dreams book Combo
  20. Jacqueline - Method to be confirmed
  21. Eugenia - Simple Scanning
  22. Fintan - DIT
  23. bryane - AF2/Deep Work Combo
  24. Paul MacNeil - Time Surfing
  25. Andreas Vlach - Own system
  26. Jordan Navarrete - AF4
  27. adam - Simple Scanning
  28. Pablo - Dreams
  29. Caibre65 - Own Method
  30. Alan Baljeu - Serial No-List
  31. stefanb - AF1
  32. Nia - Burner List
  33. Cricket - Every-Other-Day
  34. Clarablanco - AF2
  35. Bence - AF2
  36. flight16 - One-A-Day Randomizer
  37. tomcal - Serial No-List
  38. Ryan Freckleton - AF4 modified
  39. KMac - Dalo
  40. Cameron - Simple Scanning
  41. Stuart Tattum - Weekly & Daily MVPs
  42. Emma-Rae - Simple Scanning
  43. Sitkeys - Own System
  44. Jens - 5T
  45. Dino - Halving
  46. avrum - Own System
  47. Mario - AF1
  48. Christopher - DIT
  49. Diana - Simple Scanning
  50. Nordwind - T7P10 (Own System)
  51. Leon - Own System
  52. Silvia - AF4-3T
  53. Margaret1 - Serial No-List
  54. Chris Cooper - RAF modified
  55. Terhorst - Simple Scanning
  56. Erin - RAF
  57. dgbeecher - Simple Scanning


Reader Comments (33)

I'm no. 9 on the above list and have been doing simple scanning for a couple of weeks so that's the system I'll take into the challenge.
March 5, 2019 at 19:06 | Unregistered CommenterGadgets
I'll take the challenge using RAF (Real Autofocus), with the tweak of processing Day(s) Before Yesterday using FV rules rather than doing tasks in strict order. That makes slightly less of a demand on my willpower muscle.


As far as I can see, the method of processing Yesterday + Today is left open by the rules of RAF. I specify it in this way:

– On my first pass through the Yesterday + Today list, I use simple scanning. One of the tasks I write in today's list is DBY (meaning move to Day[s] Before Yesterday).

– When I return to the Yesterday + Today list, I use FVP.

Looks a bit rococo when written out. I've been fiddling with rules for days.
March 5, 2019 at 22:08 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
Please change to: Smile (own method). Local time is 23:16.
March 5, 2019 at 22:17 | Unregistered CommenterLaby
I'd like to join the challenge - I'm going to give Serial No-List a try.
March 5, 2019 at 22:53 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret 1
Mark: what is Halving?
March 5, 2019 at 23:13 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Interesting... not ONE GTD'er
March 5, 2019 at 23:40 | Registered Commenteravrum
Put me down for Simple Scanning.
March 6, 2019 at 2:14 | Unregistered CommenterTerhorst
I’m in for the challenge, using RAF as Chris does, not using strict order. 10 pm here.

I was looking all over the site for the post that mentioned using RAF with the app Things. Was that you Chris?
March 6, 2019 at 6:22 | Unregistered CommenterErin
Entering at the last moment (local time) with Simple Scanning. Thanks for arranging this, Mark.
March 6, 2019 at 7:24 | Unregistered Commenterdgbeecher

10 Task No-List?

I can guess what it is, but would like to be sure...

Anyway: Under no circumstances would I try it, because I‘m part of the LENTEN CHALLENGE !
March 6, 2019 at 10:56 | Unregistered CommenterLaby

> the post that mentioned using RAF with the app Things. Was that you Chris?

Not me, Erin.
March 6, 2019 at 10:57 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
Alan Baljeu:

I think 'halving' comes from Mark's first book. Write down everything you have to do, and divide it in half over and over again until you have only one thing left, and then you do it. A multiple pass system. In the book, Mark describes starting with two categories of work that have about the same amount of work to be done.

Terribly useful idea when whittling down a big backlog of paper: divide the pile into halves, then divide the halves into halves, etc till the problem is sufficiently chunked down.

In Serial No-list, which I'm also doing, I guess you would write down everything, then divide that list in two, then pick a half and divide that in two, to eventually whittle your way down to the next task. But that's a lot of judging, weighing, thinking, etc and less intuitive.

This is my interpretation of halving; not sure what our Lenten colleague's idea of using it would look like.
March 6, 2019 at 14:33 | Unregistered CommenterMike Brown

It is in the Real Autofocus? post, actually near your comment. Your system helped me find it. I was searching for the words Yesterday, Day before Yesterday and Things, to no avail.
March 6, 2019 at 15:34 | Unregistered CommenterErin
Alan Baljeu:

<< I think 'halving' comes from Mark's first book. >>

Yes, though the implementation of it is different from what you suggest. It's the system to be found here which is based on the halving principle - though I didn't actually give the system that name at the time:
March 6, 2019 at 15:45 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I hate to say this, but I've crashed out already. I should really know better by now than to change to an untried system at the last minute. The 10-Task No-List system failed when some unexpected and time-consuming circumstances came up today.

Anyway I am now going back to The Bounce in the hope that I can keep it going through the period of the Challenge - even though I'm no longer part of it!
March 6, 2019 at 15:52 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Sorry you crashed Mark, but happy to see I have another Bouncer (the creator) no less, working on this. I am mid-day through Day 1 but am very impressed, look forward to sharing out at the end of the day.
March 6, 2019 at 17:48 | Unregistered Commentervegheadjones
Mark is the Kramer of GTD challenges.
March 6, 2019 at 19:37 | Unregistered CommenterKMac
Mark, I think you should have special dispensation to recommence the challenge with the Bounce.

Or maybe that's the start of a slippery slope and you wouldn't agree to bending the rules to your own advantage.

Good luck to everyone!
March 6, 2019 at 20:17 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret 1
I should have included that Weekly & Daily MVPs (Most Valuable Priorities) includes batching together other tasks (e.g. group admin tasks together and do them in a batch).
March 7, 2019 at 1:47 | Unregistered CommenterStuart Tattum
I have never been able to stick with one method for 40 consecitive days and I start a new job Monday. This will be quite the challenge for me, but I'm up for it!
March 7, 2019 at 2:30 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
A busy first day with pre-established plans and my job precludes me from following my system during the day, but I have a methodology for my work tasks that I followed to the letter (it is another gamified system with a reward system in place, but when at work there is an order in which I need to do things in order to keep to my deadlines, and I generally do prefer to be seen to be working!).

When I did get back in the evening I opened up my spreadsheet and it told me to stop for the night, so I ticked off the things I had done just as matter of course through the day and tucked in earlier than I would usually.

I have a bit more time in the flat tonight, and the expectation is that my system will get me focused on my chores and out for a run before it even thinks of letting me treat myself (with one non-repeating task to cross off in the interim). It is a harsh master, but ultimately I feel it is fair. We shall see how I feel a few more days down the line.

Days completed: 1.
Tasks done: "only" 4.
Rewards claimed: 0.
March 7, 2019 at 11:56 | Unregistered CommenterEiron Page
I am super interested to learn more about your system Eiron.

Overall I was very happy with the official Day 1 with the Bouce. I had a few time sensitive work I needed to produce and had two surprises come up. The Bounce got me through those plus I got a many little things done in-between them, they mostly came as I was bouncing up and looking for something to “rebound” me back down.

Today I have some even tighter deadline work due and many more meetings. Looking forward to see how the Bounce handles it all.
March 7, 2019 at 12:27 | Unregistered CommenterVegheadjones
As predicted, my system had me vacuuming, mopping, cleaning windows and mirrors and cleaning the tumble drier filter. An exciting evening all round. I had to have an emergency finance meeting with my brother, so that took some of the time out of my evening, but I am not dissatisfied with my progress. Technically, all that cleaning I did was two things off my grid (they could be more granular, but I had 'daily cleaning tasks' as the item, so despite them being pretty big jobs (each involving a few sub-tasks that I have not enumerated), that changes things as follows:

Days completed: 2.
Tasks done: 6; 3.0 per day on average.
Rewards claimed: 0.

My evening and weekend are both freer, so hopefully we should see a bit of a jump to these numbers (maybe including a reward or two!).
March 8, 2019 at 12:09 | Unregistered CommenterEiron Page
Vegheadjones: My system is a spreadsheet with code I have built into it in order to automatically fill a 5x5 'Bingo' card with jobs on it. It uses semi-randomised weightings to prioritise the important tasks, while still making sure that less critical tasks and things that I want to do for myself still make an appearance.

I can choose how to tick off the tasks on this card, in any order I like, but the main rule is I am only allowed to claim a 'Reward' from the grid if I have cleared the other jobs in that line first. It means that I feel I am earning my treats rather than using them as a means to procrastinate, and it works out well for me this way (even if I do not get to claim them, I still feel this is fair).

On alternate evenings I do one of two things: either fill the gaps in the grid using the same algorithm and then shuffle the location of the cells, or completely clear and refill the grid. This makes sure it stays current.

If a task is literally impossible at the current time (and the reason has to be valid, e.g. financial constraint, timing [such as going to the Post Office on a Sunday when it is closed]) and there is no way it could be completed before a grid refresh, only then am I allowed to check it off without completing it. The rule then is I have to run the refill-shuffle process.

It is just the right combination of freedom/constraint/reward for me to push forward with what absolutely needs doing, while also getting some of those "nice to do" and "just for me" things done in the process. From my previous comments, you can see that if something absolutely needs doing now, then I allow myself to do that. The system is used as a driver for when I am wondering "what next?" (which with my decision paralysis is most always).

It all sounds a little complicated, but I have been building and tweaking the system for the best part of a year and most of it is automated now. I have banned myself from making changes during this challenge, so anything that does not work I shall make a note of and address at its conclusion.
March 8, 2019 at 12:19 | Unregistered CommenterEiron Page
I'm out.

It always seems to break down the same way:

I use Trello at work, so it feels pointless to use a second list there. I don't have the flexibility to choose my own tasks at work, anyway.

And then I'm so exhausted by the time I get home that the last thing I want to do is look at another list, even if it contains nothing but fun or relaxing stuff. My mind just wants to turn off.
March 8, 2019 at 12:47 | Unregistered CommenterTerhorst
thanks Eiron, once upon a time I set up an excel spreadsheet with VBA code to identify what I should be working on right now. It factored in due dates, importance, priority, project linkage and a DWM expiration date. After working on it for so long, I realized that my intuition when using a catch-all list was just as good, so I abandoned it.

The bingo idea is really intriguing, glad it works for you
March 8, 2019 at 18:25 | Unregistered Commentervegheadjones
I nearly lost the challenge on Saturday, but managed to do some Simple Scanning in the evening. So I'm still in I think. Weekends were always going to be the main challenge for me.
March 11, 2019 at 14:24 | Unregistered CommenterVille
I have been using Simple Scanning with a notebook, and unfortunately I left my notebook at home yesterday, so had to work via a No List system for the day (which was refreshing for keeping me on the top priorities, but not so good for keeping track of outstanding commitments), I guess this means I have flunked the challenge!

Mark, could you remind me of the benefit of sticking to a single system for (as much as possible of) the period? Is it so that, through sustaining a commitment, we work through limitations in our working patterns and get the system working properly, rather than blaming the system and changing around?
March 12, 2019 at 16:07 | Unregistered CommenterColin
Colin -

<< so had to work via a No List system for the day (which was refreshing for keeping me on the top priorities, but not so good for keeping track of outstanding commitments) >>

You might like Serial No-List. :-)
March 12, 2019 at 16:43 | Registered CommenterSeraphim

<< Mark, could you remind me of the benefit of sticking to a single system for (as much as possible of) the period? Is it so that, through sustaining a commitment, we work through limitations in our working patterns and get the system working properly, rather than blaming the system and changing around? >>

I couldn't have said it better myself!
March 12, 2019 at 21:25 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I flunked it.. Didn't manage to do any Simple Scanning on the weekend.

I'll continue the challenge though, as much as I can. Thanks.
March 18, 2019 at 19:04 | Unregistered CommenterVille
I have to ask: I couldn't improve "Task Tracking Lite/Light" enough to be like vanilla "Task Tracking 2.0" so I went back to the latter on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday, and have been using it ever since. Am I still on the challenge?
March 21, 2019 at 12:15 | Registered Commenternuntym
I'm out. Unfortunately, I had too many urgent tasks to handle and had to abandon the ”3T” part of the system.
March 26, 2019 at 10:23 | Unregistered CommenterSilvia

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