My Latest Book

To Think About . . .
Trying is the first step towards failure. Homer Simpson
Search This Site

Log-in

Discussion Forum > Systems are losing simplicity

While taking a look at the review of all the systems, it seems to me we are getting further and further away from simplicity, little-and-often, intuition, and dealing with "blockages." I believe this is why AF1 is still Mark's favorite.

I use a version of AF1. It works for me - if you like it use it.

I keep a notebook to which I can add pages. I use a Levenger notebook. (Page fronts for tasks; page backs for miscellaneous notes - not often used, but handy at times.)

I write down tasks as I think of them. When I fill a page, I go to the next page.

Projects have their own pages - one page per project. I usually put these in the front, but I don't see any reason why they can't be interspersed throughout the "normal" task pages. All tasks associated with the project are placed on the project page.

When I finish a task, I write the date in the format DD-MM in the left column and strikethrough the text.

If I work on a task and don't finish it, I date and strikethrough, and then I re-enter it at the end of the list. I also notate how many times I've worked on it and the date I last worked on it. (Every time I re-enter the task, the number is incremented.) The number and the date follow the task on the right. This enables me to see how long it's been since I last worked on it and how many times I have worked on it. This feeds my intuition as I compare it to other tasks.

Each morning, I review each page (in reverse order - from newest to oldest) and flag any task that stands out by my intuition. I flag the task by placing a see-through Post-It "Arrow" Flag on the task. These tags are great, because they can be easily repositioned and reused. I usually flag 25 items.

I circle through the Flagged tasks – beginning with the first page having a Flag – until I come to one my intuition tells me to do. I do it, remove the flag, place the tag on the inside cover of the notebook, date, strikethrough, and re-enter, if necessary. I then circle through the remaining Flagged tasks in like manner.

If I finish all 25 items, I circle through the entire notebook AF1 style.

I dismiss by intuition. If I start having any feeling of "too many pages," I then go to the first page and ask why the remaining tasks haven't been done. I also see if any of the tasks are candidates for a "little-and-often" bit of work, so that I can rewrite the task at the end - hopefully I can eliminate all the tasks and remove the page. If this process fails, then I dismiss the page by highlighting the tasks. I remove the page and place in my "completed" notebook as a record.

I also feel no compunction to dismiss in order of earliest to latest. If the first page has some tasks on it that are still valid (perhaps they await something else to be done first) and a later page doesn't pass the process in the prior paragraph, then I will dismiss that page. My dismissal process is entirely by intuition.

At the end of the day I remove all remaining Flags. I don't want today's intuition influencing tomorrow's intuition. Things have a way of changing - priorities change, so I don't want holdover structure. Each day is a new day.

All appointments, due dates, and similarly dated items should be kept in a calendar. I have an AF1-like "calendar" that I keep, if anyone is interested in how I do it.

So, that is how I do my tasks.

Matt
January 3, 2011 at 17:10 | Registered Commenter2mc
I totally agree that time management systems are getting much more complex and I believe it is detrimental. Using a complex time management system takes time, time that could be used actually doing.

After using and designing bunches of systems, I concluded that if I followed two rules I could get 80% efficient and the other 20% was not worth the time spent. Those rules are write in one place ie a spiral notebook and maintain a simple a - z filing system. These two rules have actually saved me tons of time, because a lot of time is spent looking for things, which this system solves. As far as complex rules for processing or dismissing , I gave up those. If I have all I need to do and think about in one place and I review it often, I find the important stuff gets done and I don't have to spend time thinking about rules for processing and dismissing stuff. When the notebook is used up, start a new one and use it as a review time to prune stuff out that no longer needs to be done, thought about or tracked.

Thanks for bringing up a worthwhile topic for discussion.

Gerry
January 3, 2011 at 17:22 | Registered CommenterGerry
Thanks for the response, Gerry. The 80-20 rule proves itself again and again, doesn't it?

I use my own adapted version of the Noguchi Filing System. I found it to be better for me than A-Z, but like A-Z it is simple. And, simple is the key. Complexity feeds procrastination and hinders intuition.

I think "guided intuition" or "assisted intuition" is the greatest killer of procrastination. And, any system that guides and assists intuition is likely to be wildly successful, and any system that is complex – no matter how clever – will fail.

Matt
January 3, 2011 at 17:56 | Registered Commenter2mc
The importance of simplicity is also what I spurred my previous post. It seems to me very few things are necessary in a system:
1. Simple - do the system, not think about the system.
2. Complete - capture everything
3. Limited - scope, forcing the content to stay manageable
4. Focus - get important stuff done now.

Gerry, your system achieves all four. Matt, yours seems to as well. The Noguchi Filing System (just looked it up) also seems to exhibit these 4.
January 3, 2011 at 18:27 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
I really like this thread. I've noticed that the more sophisticated my approach (software, systems, etc.) the more time I spend on the system and the more I become detatched from the actual work. A simple system that gets all of your ideas and stressors out of your head quickly into a system that you can review quickly - is all that is needed.

2mc - I'd be interested to hear about your AF-1 like calendar! There can be a lot of overhead involved in updating a calendar (especially electronic) and I've often thought there must be an easier way to track day-specific information.
January 3, 2011 at 18:40 | Registered CommenterScott Hutchins
In my original post I said:

"At the end of the day I remove all remaining Flags."

I meant to say:

"At the end of the day I remove all remaining Flags, IF ANY."

The reason is that I often finish all Flagged tasks and circle AF1-style for the balance of the day.

If I happen to have remaining Flags, then I remove them at the end of the day, so as not to influence the next day's intuition.

Matt
January 3, 2011 at 18:56 | Registered Commenter2mc
@Scott

I'll make a separate post about my AF1-like Calendar.

Matt
January 3, 2011 at 19:05 | Registered Commenter2mc
Thanks Matt. Just curious...What do you do with someday/maybe and later items. Do you put them on your AF1 pages - or elsewhere (such as your "AF Calendar"?
January 3, 2011 at 20:58 | Registered CommenterScott Hutchins
My "someday" items are more ideas than actual tasks. I am an idea-generating "machine." I have a document that tracks all my ideas with keywords and tags to keep me organized.

I have a recurring task that says, "Review ideas." If an idea seems ready to do or explore – more than just being an idea – then I make it a project, because an idea is usually a multi-step process. Then, I make a project page with all the tasks that come to my mind about that project and I put it in the notebook. Then, my "guided intuition" takes over.

If I truly have a "later" TASK, then it goes in the list like any other. And, it doesn't get dismissed until it's done.

Occasionally, I'll have a "make a decision about X" task and I don't want to think about it now. I'll put it on my calendar. But, that is very rare – there has to be some compelling reason to do that. (But, I don't want to be bound by any hard and fast rules.)

My calendar just feeds my subconscious by looking at it over and over.

Oh, by the way, the first thing I do each day is "review calendar."

Matt
January 3, 2011 at 22:28 | Registered Commenter2mc
"What do you do with someday/maybe and later items." Me, I put everything in AF. Later I file undone items into an suitable project pages, which are monitored by AF.

"the first thing I do each day is "review calendar."" - Me too. Though my calendar is just an ordinary calendar.
January 3, 2011 at 22:54 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Matt,

I've decided to implement your Flagged Tasks system into my own AF1 list. Just started this morning so I'll let you know how it goes over time. Halfway through the day I'm struck with how this could be the perfect fix for some of the small bumps I was having with using the list. It's a great idea.

I also realized there's a kanban style approach laid over the AF1 list. The list is the backlog, the flagged tasks are the "working on" column and the act of crossing out the item moves it to the Done column. It's all combined with the ease and intuitive flow of AF.

Thanks so much for sharing your mod!
January 4, 2011 at 17:10 | Registered CommenterBryanR
+Ad Jesum Per Mariam+

Now this thread is both a confirmation and a wake-up call for me!

Confirmation, because I am finding that the longer I am trialing this AF4R+3T system that I announced a week ago, it more and more is transforming to just plain old AF4...LOL

Triple tasks...gone.

Maintenance checklists...gone.

Recurrent task tagging...gone.

What's left are: tagging unfinished tasks, filtering/pre-filtering, projects, AF4R styled processing of closed and open lists.

Which means the thread I had just made was all for nothing I guess :/

Wake-up call, because I was JUST on the verge of adding another tweak that could have made it more complex again! The experience of the past year should have alerted me into the dangers of making systems more complex....*sigh* thanks guys for reminding me again.

Anyways I am now using Alan Baljeu's criteria for a good management system:

1. Simple - do the system, not think about the system.
2. Complete - capture everything
3. Limited - scope, forcing the content to stay manageable
4. Focus - get important stuff done now.

For now the system seems to meet these criteria, and if an idea comes I'll run it through these.

Thanks Alan.

Oh, by the way, Alan, how's your modified AF4R going?

-----

2mc, I like your calendar. I've always wanted a calendar for my notebook but like you I hate it that most paper calendars have too little space available for writing on to. I'll try yours.

Thanks!

-----

God bless!
January 4, 2011 at 17:49 | Registered Commenternuntym
@Bryan

>I also realized there's a kanban style approach laid over the AF1 list. The list is the backlog, the flagged tasks are the "working on" column and the act of crossing out the item moves it to the Done column. It's all combined with the ease and intuitive flow of AF. <

Thanks for your response. I just want to add to your comment that by using the Flags you also get the same kind of benefit of the 3T system.

I have to say that it has really benefited me.

Cycling through only those tasks that my intuition told me are ready really focuses my day.

Matt
January 4, 2011 at 17:56 | Registered Commenter2mc
@nuntym

I hope you find the calendar useful. I recognize it's not for everyone, but it really helps me.

Matt
January 4, 2011 at 17:58 | Registered Commenter2mc
The reason I apply the Flags starting at the end of the list and going toward the front of the list is that many times urgent tasks have just been written down. If I went the other way I might run out of the 25 Flags before I got to the urgent item.

But, when the Flags are done, I start at the beginning and work my way forward AF1-style.

I just thought I'd clarify that.

Matt
January 4, 2011 at 18:10 | Registered Commenter2mc
<Oh, by the way, Alan, how's your modified AF4R going?>

Slightly confused at the moment :-) I'm just back at work now after vacation time. The problem things work differently on paper and in OneNote. Which means the system changes every time I go home or go to work. :-( I need to make them more similar again.
January 4, 2011 at 19:11 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
@Bryan

How did the rest of your day go using the Flagged Tasks? Did it go as well as the first half?

Keep us posted.

Matt
January 4, 2011 at 21:58 | Registered Commenter2mc
Hi Matt - why do you like to use your intution twice? Once as a pre-filter for your flagged tasks and once when circulating around them.

Would it not be easier allowing your intution to pick them up as you go along?
January 5, 2011 at 6:44 | Registered CommenterJD
@JD

> why do you like to use your intution twice? <

Because if I didn't, I run the possibility of not getting to an important task. I use my intuition to tell me which tasks of my entire universe of tasks I feel ready to do or to get started on "this morning" or right away. Then, of those my intuition tells me I feel ready to do my intuition then guides me on which one to do first, and then on which one to do next, etc.

This gives me focus in a way similar to 3T. It also helps to keep my brain from spending any energy whatsoever on nagging me with "what important task might I be missing on some other page, while I'm working on this page" thoughts.

You could have a task on the middle page of your notebook that has just become urgent because its contingencies have been met. No matter which version of AF you use, you might not get to it, or you might get to it late in the day, when meaningful work cannot be done on it. Because of this possibility, my brain would constantly nag me about the possibility of me missing something. This would be wasted brain power and another obstacle I would have to hurdle, leading to procrastination.

By letting my intuition look at all the tasks I silence that nagging. Then, intuition guides me through one by one of the tasks it already identified to me.

I might have a slight time-cost in the beginning of my day, but it pays huge dividends as the day progresses.

I hope that helps.

Matt
January 5, 2011 at 13:58 | Registered Commenter2mc
<Oh, by the way, Alan, how's your modified AF4R going?>
New answer: Seems to be working well again.

I've reduced it to two lists:
Active (started, unfinished, working on it)
Inactive (new, old)

Every day I add a new date to the active list, and I strive to work on or dismiss all the previous day's tasks.
Every day I also strive to get through the Inactive list once and activate stuff.
January 5, 2011 at 23:14 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
@Matt

Well, finishing up Day 2 and I really like the simple addition of the post-its. It's a perfect match for my rather crazy days. FYI - I'm not doing the "projects on separate sheets." Just using the post-its.

I decided to start small and only use 6 - 8 post its for the tasks I wanted to focus on first in my day. It's working like a charm and I really like the review process in the morning. It's become a bit of a meditation that I have over my morning coffee. Thumbs up!
January 6, 2011 at 1:24 | Registered CommenterBryanR
<<By letting my intuition look at all the tasks I silence that nagging>>

Hi Matt: Those are very compelling reasons you set out. Appreciate the detailed reply. And thanks for sharing your calendar set up, its great!
January 6, 2011 at 10:05 | Registered CommenterJD
@Bryan

>I decided to start small and only use 6 - 8 post its for the tasks I wanted to focus on first in my day.<

By using a small number of flags it acts more like 3T. But, if you use a large number of flags and you cycle through them, then it becomes like a souped-up AF1.

While you're experimenting, you ought to try one or two days of flagging a larger number and see how that works. That way you will have tried both ways and then you can pick the superior method for your situation.

Glad you like it.

Matt
January 6, 2011 at 15:30 | Registered Commenter2mc
@JD

Glad you like the calendar. And, if you do the flag method, let us know how it works for you.

Matt
January 6, 2011 at 15:31 | Registered Commenter2mc
Matt's initial post in this thread inspired me to change my system and simplify. I started following something very similar to what he describes:

I keep a master todo list at the front of a 3-ring binder. I write things down AF style as they come to mind. I use blank paper and draw margins on both the left and right sides. I put checkboxes along the left margin for things that are ready to be worked on. I write the start date if it's not ready yet. When it is ready, I circle the date. Due dates are added in the right margin when they apply. So, visually, I can flip through and quickly see what I can/should do - and what is coming due. All with no re-writing. I haven't used any formal dismissal rules.

I have a separate section for projects. I start a project page if I find multiple todos or other information needs to be tracked for a project. Many "projects" are just one line on the master task list and nothing else.

I've found over the years that I do much better with a daily (closed) todo list. So, each morning I pull items from the master task list and put them on an index card. I also have a timeline running verically down one side so I can easily see my appts schedule for the day.

I plan to prune over time - using my intuition as I read through the master task list each day.

Simple. Paper. Very little time spent on the system itself.

It's easy to enter EVERYTHING. I know exacltly what I NEED to get done every day. My daily plan fits in my pocket.

So far so good. Thanks again Matt for pushing me in this direction.
January 6, 2011 at 22:30 | Registered CommenterScott Hutchins
Hi Scott,

Some interesting stuff there. Glad I could provide some stimulus for you..

So, if I understand you correctly, then your index card is like my flags. But, doesn't that entail rewriting all of your tasks - once on the master list and then at least once on an index card?

Early on I tried that but I soon tired of the rewriting. This was the genesis of the removable, reusable flags.

The rewriting problem is also why I discontinued having a project list somewhere else and then rewriting a task onto the AF1 list. Currently, all my project pages are in a separate section, but during my review in the morning, if my intuition tells me to work on a project, I move the whole project page to the front of the AF1 list (or anywhere in the list). And, I'll flag whatever task on the project that my intuition tells me to do.

I have substituted placing flags for rewriting as much as possible. I find that moving the flags is easier and less tiring on my hands than rewriting everything. The exception is my calendar in which the benefits outweigh the detriments.

Matt
January 6, 2011 at 22:51 | Registered Commenter2mc
Here's a link to the arrow flags I use:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=safari&rls=en&q=3M+post-it+arrow+flags&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=6464288252157645895&ei=hFAnTeKPMMKBlAfLxJGgAQ&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=image&resnum=3&ved=0CDsQ8gIwAg#

It will be years and years before I go through all these. I haven't yet reached the place where even the first flag is unusable after many, many, many reapplications.

You can also write on these. One possible application is to write "Start Here" on a tag and when you finish for the day, place that flag on the last item you did. Then you can pick up tomorrow where you left off. I haven't tried this, because my other methodology eliminates to need to worry about this.

Matt
January 7, 2011 at 17:48 | Registered Commenter2mc
Here is a link to the kind of paper I use:

http://www.levenger.com/PAGETEMPLATES/PRODUCT/Product.asp?Params=category=326-715|level=2-3|pageid=2806

I have a Levenger hole-punch, so I print out my own paper just like this, rather than ordering it.

Matt
January 7, 2011 at 18:27 | Registered Commenter2mc
'Systems are losing simplicity' - very true!

2 things worth bearing in mind... (rules even?)

- Keep it simple.
- Experiment a little :-)
January 7, 2011 at 21:06 | Registered Commentersmileypete
Smileypete,

I totally agree with your 2 things. But, I would add a third: "Don't let your experimentation get away from you such that you violate rule #1" :-)

My "system" is actually "less" than AF1 with only the addition of Flagging Tasks.

Matt
January 10, 2011 at 18:40 | Registered Commenter2mc
Reading all the new posts in other threads since this one began, I'm struck by how much complexity is still being proposed to be added to systems to "make them better."

There must be at least 75 tweaks of various import. Amazing.

AF1 is so elegantly simple. I wonder if the problem is that people haven't sufficiently embraced the little-and-often principle. The little-and-often principle is a real procrastination killer (can I say that or is that hate speech) and a backlog buster.

I wonder if it were really embraced would there be as much need for all the other tweaks?

I remember somewhere Mark saying that he got through his entire list everyday. And, if you look at the video on AF1 where he is interviewed about the system, you'll see that he had quite a number of pages of tasks. I'm willing to bet that what enabled him to get through the entire list was an enthusiastic embrace of the little-and-often principle.

Perhaps we should make sure we have FULLY tried all the components of a system before going on to tweak. Just a thought.

Matt
January 20, 2011 at 17:01 | Registered Commenter2mc
2mc,

I wholeheartedly agree. I think people have a tendency to review the instructions and decide if they think something will work as opposed to trying it and seeing if it will work.

When I did the beta test for my goals system, a number of people immediately suggested tweaks and or did not do the system. Those that did it exactly as written had great success and a few did in fact suggest tweaks which improved it for their circumstances, but they were mostly following the original instructions.

In some instances tweaks may be needed if they are to solve specific problems one has, other times, I just think it is to tweak for the sake of tweaking.

Gerry
January 20, 2011 at 17:22 | Registered CommenterGerry
I tried hard with AF1 to get people to use it as written for at least several weeks before they started trying to adapt it. But in vain!

I also noticed that the proposed tweaks were always in the direction of making things more complicated, while what I was aiming for was the simplest possible system.

Anyway at the moment I'm trying to find the simplest possible way of working SuperFocus. It's not quite as simple as AF1 yet but getting close!
January 20, 2011 at 17:34 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Matt,

Your post in general and especially mention 1) not having today's intuition influencing tomorrow's intuition, and 2) of idea-generating "machine" is something I instantly related to. I'm going to try starting your AF1 and flag approach starting today.

In your implementation, how do you manage ideas, the workflow of capture and separation of them from tasks which you indicated you have a different place for?

For me, the non-thinking aspect of capturing anything, either idea or task without the distraction of thinking about if it is an idea or a task when capturing allows for a no resistance method of getting it out of my head. On the other hand, not having a useful 'idea store' has been eating at me for a long time. I am very interested in any specific details and insights you have on this capture, entry and review part of your workflow.

As a related note - For me, a large majority of ideas usually come to me in the shower. When I thought someone must have solved this problem, I discovered aquanotes and immediately started capturing many more ideas. Its hard to explain to most people, how such a simple thing can make an enormous difference.

-Darren
January 20, 2011 at 17:36 | Registered CommenterDarrenM
@Mark

>I tried hard with AF1 to get people to use it as written for at least several weeks before they started trying to adapt it.<

That's what I did. I did your AF1 system just like you had it. I was amazed at the stand-out principle and the little-and-often principle. I actually found that the little-and-often principle was hardest to embrace. I kept thinking, when looking at a task, "I can't do that now" - meaning, "I can't complete that now." This was holdover thinking from the "commonsense" way I had been doing tasks before. I wonder how many are like me in this regard. It may be the genesis of a lot of the tweaking.

After working your system for quite a while, I really only had two issues.
1- My brain kept nagging me about the possibility of there being something more important to do that *MIGHT* be on another page, while I'm cycling through the current page.
2- I found myself tensing up whenever I saw dismissal deadlines coming due.

I cured the first by reviewing ALL the tasks in my notebook and then flagging all that stood out. These flagged tasks became my closed list for the first part of the day. When the closed list was finished, I would do a normal AF1 cycling.

I cured the second by eliminating the arbitrary nature of the dismissal process. This freed me from tensing up. And, because the flags made me more efficient, the dismissal process became less and less of a consideration.

The only other tweak I did was to notate a re-entered item. To the right of the re-entered task is a number and a date. The number is the number of times I have worked on it and the date is the date I last worked on it. I find that this helped my intuition, when considering the task versus other tasks.

Looking at it now, because of the efficiency of the flagging, I believe I could go back to the AF1 dismissal rules without a problem.

So, in reality, I've only done one significant tweak to your AF1 – making a daily closed list by flagging the tasks that stand out.

I'm forever grateful to you for AF1.

Matt
January 20, 2011 at 18:15 | Registered Commenter2mc
@ Darren

Here's what I do.

If I get an idea during the day, then I will write it down on the backside of the task pages. You'll recall from my explanation that the front side is for tasks and the back side is for the rare note.

I have another notebook (I began this years before AF) that I have next to my chair. As I pray and meditate in the mornings, I get tons of ideas. (I do this first thing in the morning, because many times I wake up with the idea or solution on my mind as my first waking thought.) I write the ideas down in this notebook.

Now, here's how I keep them and maintain them:
I have a software package for my Mac called TaskPaper. There is a Windows version called ToDoPaper (it's not quite up to TaskPaper yet, but it's version 2 is about to come out and it will be great.).

Each day I make a new dated entry into TaskPaper. In TaskPaper parlance this entry is called a Project. Really it's just a bold heading.

I then type in the ideas I've had during the day. These are sublevel entries underneath the date.

I then add keywords to the idea. These can be searched at a later date. The great thing about the search of TaskPaper is that it is really a filter. So, that when you search, all other entries are filtered out and you're left with only what you were looking for. And, you can isolate any entry onto a tab, so that you can remove all distractions from the idea you're reviewing.

I tag by category, key terms, and with @hot (for those ideas I want to keep on the front burner).

I have an entry to "review ideas" in my To Do list. When an idea is ready to begin, I then make it a project page in my To Do List.

I hope that helps.

Matt
January 20, 2011 at 18:28 | Registered Commenter2mc
Matt,

> 2- I found myself tensing up whenever I saw dismissal deadlines coming due.

there are no dismissal deadlines in AF1

Alex
January 20, 2011 at 18:45 | Registered CommenterAlex W.
>there are no dismissal deadlines in AF1<

There are no dated deadlines. But, there are logical deadlines. My brain is pretty slick – much to my chagrin when I'm trying to fool it.

When cycling through a page and seeing that I'm getting close to the end, my brain has already noticed that there are some tasks I don't want to do, or I'm not ready to do, and it's begins to tense me up, because I know I'm going to have to make a decision. My brain knows that in the next couple of cycles I'm going to be faced with the situation of having gone down the list and nothing is standing out. My brain knows this and causes me to tense up, because of the upcoming decision.

By dismissing through intuition I eliminated that.

But, as I said to Mark in my last post, I have found that the flagging makes me so efficient that I could go back to the AF1 dismissal rules and not be bothered.

Matt
January 20, 2011 at 18:51 | Registered Commenter2mc
I totally agree with Gerry when he says
"I concluded that if I followed two rules I could get 80% efficient and the other 20% was not worth the time spent. Those rules are write in one place ie a spiral notebook and maintain a simple a - z filing system. These two rules have actually saved me tons of time, because a lot of time is spent looking for things, which this system solves."
That's Pareto's rule.

I do it myself. As I explained in another topic I use a diary Travers A5 notebook for notes and tasks. I divided the page in 2 vertical y.
Left for tasks (and a word for appointments)
right for notes and new info about things. (ie buidings, new client)

asks are treated in a AF1 way

Then I have a A>Z filing system by projects were I put every thing. Notes I take on a paper sheet and so on by sujects or people in appointments. I also have a binder with dividers for my crucial projects which are summarized.

It helps me to have it on my desk without taking the paper files wich may be numerous.

I indeed agree, the most simple systems are, the better they are.
January 22, 2011 at 9:29 | Registered CommenterJupiter
Jupiter

It also sound like you customized for your needs which I think is great. A system should solve an individual tm situation. Now if I can come up with a cool acronym and market this like gtd I have got something.

Gerry
January 22, 2011 at 16:58 | Registered CommenterGerry
I've got it

Simple Paper A to Z Method

SPAZM
January 23, 2011 at 0:07 | Registered CommenterGerry
Matt,

What do you do when you're stuck with some Flagged Tasks that you really don't want to work on? Is that a mistake in the flagging process (you weren't *really* ready to work on this)? Or do you then try to force yourself into the little-and-often paradigm (even if it's just a rewrite of the task)? Or do you just discard them (remove the flag)?

In AF1, when nothing in the closed list feels ready to be done, you go to the open list. Flagged Tasks should by their definition feel ready to be done. But is that always the case?

I'm a bit fearful that if I try Flagged Tasks tomorrow I will be flagging tasks of which I know I should get started on, but then halfway the day get stuck because I don't want to work on them. What's the fix (from your perspective)?

Thank you for your time,
Tijl
January 24, 2011 at 1:33 | Registered CommenterTijl Kindt
I can't speak to the effectiveness of the idea or of it fits, but check out Mark's predictive Todo list.

http://www.markforster.net/blog/2008/8/3/predicting-your-day.html

it says forget about should-dos and instead flag what you're confident you will do.
January 24, 2011 at 3:06 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Hi Tijl,

Short answer: You may remove the flags. Why? Because they function as a closed list. As long as you do one task on a closed list and nothing else stands out, then in AF1 you go to the next page and in AF4 you go to the "open list." Since the next "page" in the Flagged Tasks system is actually orthodox AF1, then you will need to remove the flags to get to the AF1 list.

However, you probably really weren't ready to work on it. But, why not try a little bit of the little-and-often method while you're at it. You can always resolve to do a better job of flagging tomorrow, and you just might find that you bust through some unseen barrier.

I don't run into the problem. But, I can see that your brain is getting ahead of you. Mine does that all the time, which is why I came up with the Flagged Tasks method in the first place. I think that since your brain is tweaking you on this, follow my suggestions above until you gain some experience. Then, I don't think it will be an issue.

Matt
January 24, 2011 at 3:32 | Registered Commenter2mc