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Discussion Forum > AF for a planner/diary

Here is my current system which works with a page-a-day dated planner, (aka a diary). It is a slight change from the CAF thread.

This low-pressure system keeps you on top of current work, slowly prunes older pages, tracks daily activity, and seemlessly integrates with your schedule.

<<SETUP>>
0. Any pages you have now are backlog. You should scan through these and rewrite important items to yesterday's date.
1. Put a bookmark on the newest backlog page.
2. Every day turn to today's date. (It will be blank except previously scheduled items.) Divide it into 2 parts: New and Active.
3. When you work on an item, rewrite it in Today's Active section. This is your record of the day's activity. (Items already in Today's Active section you may choose to skip rewriting.)
4. All new tasks go in Today's New.

<<SEQUENCE>>
1. Turn to yesterday's page. Process 1 or more items:
a) Work on it, b) file it with a project, c) delete it.
2. Turn to the bookmarked page. Process 1 or more items.
3. Move the bookmark up one page. (If at the oldest page, move it to the newest backlog page.) Don't process anything.
4. Turn to Today's page. Process 1 or more *Active* items.
5. Process 0 or more *New* items on Today's page.
6. Go to rule 1.

Do at least one cycle per day. If you don't, then don't start a new page until you complete it.
June 25, 2011 at 16:42 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
I'm very happy with this. It really is a low-stress high-focus method.

Today I've done all the household activities I hoped to, and then some. Everything was done by the book with a bit of fudging, but there was never a moment of anxiety over being in the wrong page or losing something, because there's never a need to do more than one thing before moving to what you want. Yet everything is covered.

At home I plan to start one page a week, and weekdays just do one or two odd items as I go by. At work this week I was able to handle everything that came by including frequent interruptions and make good progress on several projects including delegating — and keep tabs on all my activity.

The dating is entirely optional. It works equally well if you advance a page when new or active sections are full. The thing is, advancing a page is a great way to clean the slate and work fresh on a new clean list, making tight focus easier.

The key to the system is that as the day progresses, you have repeated views of "yesterday" so you can pick up the loose threads; either things you were working on, or new things that came up. By day's end, all important things were brought forward, yesterday turns 2 days old, and it will be free of priority items. You will get to the remainder at leisure.

Now i'm adapting this to other areas: FoodFocus, BookFocus, and WardrobeFocus.
June 26, 2011 at 0:32 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan,

I like the idea. I'll try it soon. Can you elaborate on FoodFocus, BookFocus and WardrobeFocus.
June 26, 2011 at 1:30 | Registered CommenterIlse
What quality of the system leads you to describe it as low pressure?
June 26, 2011 at 12:32 | Registered CommenterDavidC
Each page it only requires you to process 1 task of the many there, and that doesn't even have to mean working on it. Unlike SF where the unfinished tasks must all be worked on every round, and AF generally which threatens to dismiss stuff in batches if you don't pick something.
June 26, 2011 at 13:00 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
+JMJ+

I like your system, Alan, very simple and elegant. It emphasizes CURRENT work, not urgent or unfinished or what not, so I can see how it reduces stress, yet it still encompasses urgent work since it can easily be current work.

I can see too why you do not need a dismissal procedure here, since it is required to get at least one task per pass per page, and you have to go through the whole list at least once a day. Therefore even if you have thirty tasks backlog in one page, at the very most that page will last only one month. An excellent solution.

Finally, I noticed your note: "([Today's date] will be blank except previously scheduled items.)" That means you can combine your system with a calendar system. A nice departure from AF systems! This also means one can use this system even in a calendar program. This also means that scheduled recurrent tasks are easily handled.

I have some questions though.

1) What would you do if you run out of space for your New Tasks? But then again if you have a big enough daily diary, or write 2-column wise, it is a non issue, huh? ^___^

2) Have you found any re-writing issues? Isn't re-writing too much here? If you have a recurrent task, you'd have to write on the Today's New Section, then upon working on it cross it out from the Today's New Section or Backlog and re-write it to the Today's Active, then upon finishing cross it off and re-write it at the Today's New Section again.

3) If you have new urgent items, you can always write them directly on the Today's Active Section, bypassing the Today's New Section, right?

Again, an excellent system, Alan. Thank you for sharing.

God bless.
June 26, 2011 at 16:01 | Registered Commenternuntym
Do you keep the distinction of new vs active items as they move into backlog? Once "today" is over and becomes "yesterday" and beyond, what happens to this distinction?

GC
June 26, 2011 at 20:12 | Registered CommenterGreenchutney
Thanks Alan. I like this Bookmarked / Yesterday / Today idea. This sounds like a good strategy to obtain that in-time-everything-will-be-under-control feeling. Turning to the “bookmark” seems like a straightforward task rather than turning to the “past”, or the “backlog”. With calendar pages, it is also seems apt for “future” (scheduled reminders).

With regard to keeping separate notes and controlling paper, there are some good discussions in this forum ( http://www.markforster.net/forum/post/685427 , and http://www.markforster.net/forum/post/624006#post624475 ). I would like to try this approach to knocking out backlogs of project notes, phone notes, print-outs, etc. Look (and process) yesterday, then today, and then to a bookmark. Especially if there are all kinds of uncomfortable things hiding in there that you don’t want to deal with.
June 26, 2011 at 20:44 | Registered CommenterBKK
"I like your system, Alan, very simple and elegant."  Thank you!

"I can see too why you do not need a dismissal procedure here, since it is required to get at least one task per pass per page, and you have to go through the whole list at least once a day."
Not quite. It's usually impossible to go through the whole list in one day. What I meant in the instructions was that you should never start a new page if you didn't cycle active-new-yesterday-bookmark at least once. Preferably a few times. This guarantees eventually you will get round the list, though it may take several days. 

"at the very most that page will last only on month. An excellent solution."
See above it's not guaranteed. However, you will see all this old stuff a few times this month.

"1) What would you do if you run out of space for your New Tasks?"
No idea. It hasn't come up.

"If you have a recurrent task, you'd have to write on the Today's New Section, then upon working on it cross it out from the Today's New Section or Backlog and re-write it to the Today's Active, then upon finishing cross it off and re-write it at the Today's New Section again."
Skip the last rewrite. Leave it in active. 

"3) If you have new urgent items, you can always write them directly on the Today's Active Section, bypassing the Today's New Section, right?"

You could. I think you might prefer your tagging to all this.  Instead of sections, write new tasks with no tag, activate them with a minus ( no rewrite ), and deactivate by turning it into a plus.  Keep the sequencing for the Today page. 
June 27, 2011 at 0:44 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
"Do you keep the distinction of new vs active items as they move into backlog? Once "today" is over and becomes "yesterday" and beyond, what happens to this distinction?

GC"
The rules ignore the distinction except for Today's stuff. But you can look back to see what you did and when.
June 27, 2011 at 0:46 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
BKK: Interesting notion of applying this process to a paper backlog. It makes perfect sense to me! Divide the backlog into piles of 20 or less, and treat these as closed.

As general advice ( for paper and lists ), where the rule says 1 or more, usually go for more unless you are rushing back to something important.
June 27, 2011 at 0:58 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Correction to June 27, 2011 at 0:44, responding to nuntym:
The system does guarantee every page eventually is completed, but the timeframe may be longer than one month. Every situation is different, but I expect that of 40 items entered today, 15 will remain after tomorrow, and after 45 days the page will be gone. This depends greatly on individual working habits and page content. Be aggressive in removing stuff.
June 27, 2011 at 1:07 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
So, Alan, what do you call this system?
June 27, 2011 at 1:40 | Registered CommenterBKK
It has no name. I call it my current system.
June 27, 2011 at 2:33 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan,

I suggest "Do It Yesterday" as a name for the system. (Just kidding – not really). ;-]
June 27, 2011 at 18:35 | Registered Commenterubi
How about ABC List (Alan Baljeu's Closed List) :)

GC
June 27, 2011 at 19:01 | Registered CommenterGreenchutney
I found a slight gap in the system, and suggest a fix:
Things not picked up today or tomorrow may be lost for a week in the backlog. If there's something you'd rather not lose, I'd suggest picking a date in the coming week and scheduling it there.

It's a rare task that you can't do today but can't leave until next week either. Of course you can always reenter it later as a new item if it comes up.
June 28, 2011 at 1:04 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Yes, let's hear about BookFocus, et al!
June 28, 2011 at 15:58 | Registered CommenterDS
It's interesting to compare my current form with my previous success proclamation. http://www.markforster.net/forum/post/1369286. I think it's not much different except the deconstruction of Old tasks and I've long since decided loose paper and binders are not the medium of choice. A compact spiral notebook is much nicer. OneNote is still da bomb though.
June 28, 2011 at 20:35 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan - thank you for sharing your system. I've been using it for a few days, and have a comment, question and request in that order:

Comment: There are two things I really like about it: starting the day on a fresh slate, and capturing the day's activities in the active section. I sometimes forget to re-write tasks there, and it can be a bother, but I see the benefits. There's a neat list of important stuff waiting for you the next day. I have a narrow column on the right with a timescale where appointments and scheduled activity are captured.

Question: Say you are working on your backlog, and an urgent new activity comes up. Do you stop working up your backlog, deal with it and resume working on your backlog? Or do you force yourself to work through your backlog before coming back to the urgent task? Obviously, I'm not referring to the "building on fire" type of task, something that important enough to cause a sense of anxiety and which you want to get to asap.

Request: Would you care to share your One Note setup? I tried setting it up, but I don't think I'm doing it very well. Sub-pages for new and active tasks, one task per sub-sub- page, and a page for every day, but I think the nesting is excessive. Makes moving and copying tasks a pain.
June 29, 2011 at 2:16 | Registered CommenterJD
"Question: Say you are working on your backlog, and an urgent new activity comes up. Do you stop working up your backlog, deal with it and resume working on your backlog? Or do you force yourself to work through your backlog before coming back to the urgent task?"

Unlike SF, there is no provision for urgent things. As a rule, I would force myself to work through the backlog. This is only 1 page and only one task need be processed. If there's more you want to tackle, activate them and move on. Then tackle one active item. Then tackle the new urgent item. In Practice I often forget that rule and jump on the urgent item. :-)
June 29, 2011 at 3:26 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
"One Note?... Sub-pages for new and active tasks, one task per sub-sub- page, and a page for every day, but I think the nesting is excessive. Makes moving and copying tasks a pain."

I agree that setup would be a pain. It took me a while to find a happy setup, but what I do now is slick:
One section for each date (day number is the title) One section for New tasks. Today's active tasks go in today's date. Today's new tasks go in New. One page Per task. No subpages unless a task wants them for details.

Activate a task by ctrl-alt-m <date>
Create one by Ctrl-n, typing, and ctrl-alt-m New
Mark the current section by dragging it to the right end.
<<SEQUENCE>>
Pull today right, do today.
Pull new right, do new.
Pull yesterday right, do yesterday.
Pull the LEFTMOST section to the right side, do it. [this achieves the bookmark effect automatically]
Then drag today right again and do today.
End of day, move all New tasks into Today (no need to distinguish) and create a new section for tomorrow.
Finally, I move done tasks to a Log section for record-keeping.
June 29, 2011 at 3:46 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Mmm ... Tomorrow is a new month and I'm "free" to try a new system. Alan Baljeu Current System (ABCS in short ;) is getting more attractive to me. I think very minor update to how I work SF on my iRT GTasks Outliner is needed.
June 30, 2011 at 5:58 | Registered Commentersabre23t
I expect my approach to OneNote will work with iRT.

I'm currently mulling the relationship between new, urgent, active tasks in the system. I believe it's critical to encouraging flow, that while you work on the Active Section, you don't allow any new or urgent tasks be added there. Thus when something arises, you can work on it instantly, or a little later (your choice) but only by taking a deliberate break from your active work. Then, similar to CAF, you pick up any new, urgent, or old items before returning to your present work.
June 30, 2011 at 13:14 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Would it be right to call the Active column "also done"? New is for things you added today, or things that you added before but didn't want to activate. "Also done" is a diary of what you did.

My diary system has gotten complicated. I think this might simplify it.
July 1, 2011 at 0:43 | Registered CommenterCricket
Everything in Active is something you worked on today. So I think the correct answer is yes.

Heads up: I'm finding the system slow to get through the old pages. Keep that in mind, you may want to bypass the rules a bit to go through these more frequently.
July 1, 2011 at 0:49 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan Baljeu said: <<It took me a while to find a happy setup, but what I do now is slick>>

Slick's the word, Alan. Thanks for the sharing your ON set up. Works very nicely. It would've taken me ages, if ever to hit on an effective set up like yours. Shifting sections to the rights adds the "turn the page" effect, too.
July 1, 2011 at 2:19 | Registered CommenterJD
To clear the backlog faster, I propose:

2. Turn to the bookmarked page. Process 1 or more items.
3. Move the bookmark up one page. (If at the oldest page, move it to the newest backlog page.) Don't process anything.
3a. You may repeat 2,3 as often as you wish.
July 1, 2011 at 13:51 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Update: Still following the method, but I completely dropped the sequencing. Instead, I quit working one page when nothing stands out, then I pick another page that stands out and work on that. What stands out?

Often it's the active page,until I weary of those tasks. Early morning it's yesterday's stuff. If something urgent comes up, it's the new page. If I feel something's been forgotten, try 2 days ago. Or scan through the pages to find something and pick that page. If I want to catch up on backlog, it's the bookmarked page.

To be precise, here's the method now:

1. Every day make a page for today's date, Divide it into New and Active.
2. Today's Active and Today's New are considered separate pages. All other pages treat these as a unit.
3. Repeat until tired: Choose any page, and process tasks from it.
4. When you work on a task, rewrite it in Today's Active section.
5.Never add tasks to Active except by this rule.
6.Never work on an item unless it's on the chosen page.
7. All new tasks go in Today's New.
July 6, 2011 at 22:57 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan, thanks for sharing this experiment. I finally wrapped my head around it and saw how similar your goals are to mine, and how well your system deals with them. Naturally, I have my own version (yes! The world needed yet another AF version!) which displays the information in my style, or as Seraphim might say, "form factor." The biggest tweak in your system, I think, is your three-tier approach to processing a page: for at least one item, work on it or file it or delete it. That is the biggest departure from AF/SF, and the rest seems to be a matter of how to get through the pages in a sensible order and timely fashion.

I've also finally sorted out Seraphim's latest and worked out what nuntym is doing (and 2mc, whose thread just popped up again). We're all basically doing very, very similar things in our attempts to solve very similar problems getting through our notebooks. The main difference is how the information is presented. In my case, being a "dashboard" kind of guy, it helps me immensely to see at a glance: all my active items, all my urgent items, and all my recent items. Plus, I have grown to love the one-notebook form factor. Alan's system is thus the closest to what works for me—plus I really love his three-tier processing.

I started working with it today, with these personalized touches:

- Active items go at the top of each page, working downward
- New items go at the bottom, working upward
- when they meet in the middle, I draw a heavy line and flip the page
- I have a "Recent" bookmark and a "Backlog" bookmark
- "Recent" cycles through the past week, and "Backlog" cycles through the older ones
- I write little dates in the margin each morning so I know how old everything is
- I call the latest two pages "Now" (that is, the open page and the one before it)
- Then my work pattern is: Now, Recent, Now, Backlog ("Recent" starts on p. 3, to avoid overlapping "Now")
- At each phase of that pattern, I can work more than one page if I feel like it
- Recent and Backlog bookmarks move according to feeling/Pull/anxiety/whatever, as long as they roughly stay within their respective time ranges.
- Absent a clear feeling about where to move a bookmark, just move it back a page (and let it cycle according to the one-week boundary).

Oh, yeah: and this new notebook scheme has taken a great load off my dashboard! No more scanning the notebook to find out what's headed for C2 tomorrow. I'm going to spend half my page-visits on "Now," and it's all sitting right there!
July 7, 2011 at 7:52 | Registered CommenterBernie
I've also been gravitating towards the "page that stands out" with my accordion-folder system, rather than always strictly following the sequence of accordion folder on my shelf.

Since I can see everything on my shelf, it's easy to go straight to whatever project folder I want. (It's usually the project folders that are calling me -- not the miscellaneous folders with standard random tasks.)

When I'm done, I would usually put the project folder at the end of my shelf -- the equivalent of removing the page from the SF notebook, and re-inserting it at the end of the notebook.

But I've been trying a new variation. If I want to see a page again soon, before I cycle through the whole list -- for example, a relatively hot project -- instead of putting it back on the shelf in its original location, or putting it at the end of the shelf, I just move it a few slots forward. That way I'll get to it pretty soon, after processing maybe 2-3 intervening folders.

In page terms, this would be like using a loose-leaf notebook for SF. If I have a "hot" page -- but not quite so hot as C2 -- I can remove it from the notebook, and insert it a few pages forward.

I usually do this with "project" pages, not just the usual SF pages with miscellaneous tasks.

This gives me total control over the rhythm and frequency of exposure to projects, while still giving me an overall progression through the folders on the shelf / pages in the book. This better control seems to be something that SF users wanted to see.

What I really like about it: I'm not locked into any patterns. I get dizzy trying to remember patterns like Now, Recent, Now, Backlog, etc. :-) I just can't remember where I'm at. I can only handle one "bookmark" at a time.
July 9, 2011 at 16:14 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim,

<< This gives me total control over the rhythm and frequency of exposure to projects, while still giving me an overall progression through the folders on the shelf / pages in the book. This better control seems to be something that SF users wanted to see. >>

That sounds really perfect! If only there were a way to do this in a little notebook, without writing in a three-ring binder, which drives me up the wall! I used to imagine an index-card version of SF, and shuffling the cards was part of the appeal.


<<I get dizzy trying to remember patterns like Now, Recent, Now, Backlog, etc. :-)>>

Understood! I love patterns, so this is a draw for me. If I had a complicated pattern, I would use poker chips as tokens to keep my place (like rosary beads, kinda, except for the casino motif!). Funny thing is, I find myself treating the "Recent' phase as a little break, and while I'm at it, I might as well knock off some Backlog too, so it usually comes out Now, Recent, Backlog, Now Recent, Backlog, ... just like Alan's!


The *really* funny thing: I'm rediscovering SuperFocus! At least the dismissal part. See, my "Recent" is about a week, which Mark lately said should be the span of one's entire notebook, and my "Backlog" is essentially all the stuff that would have been moved out of the notebook and stored in some reminder/review system. And "Now" is the active list, roughly, although my version compresses it to two pages.

So I think I am finally seeing how dismissal would have worked if I'd grasped Mark's vision better. If I were to revisit SuperFocus now, I would let its older pages serve as the additional reminder system (for things not tied to a date or needing their own folder). So, I would have a few active pages which could be got through in a day, up to a week's worth of dismissed pages reviewed regularly, and behind that, a section of storage for items I'm not deleting, not doing in the next week, but are a bother to find a home for.
July 9, 2011 at 23:04 | Registered CommenterBernie
I'm very happy with how this is working out. The system has now morphed *slightly* into a variation on DWM. Ironically, I couldn't work with DWM, but this variation I like.

In short, instead of tasks starting leisurely and eventually becoming urgent, they start prominent and gradually fade away if I don't act on them. Paraphrasing DWM rules in quotes, my answer follows.

1. "Write stuff one calendar month in the future."
I'm writing stuff on today's date. But since the month isn't mentioned, it amounts to the same thing.

2. "Go through pages in order with no dismissal rules."
The in-order part is gone. Instead I work ad-hoc, according to this schedule:
* yesterday, today: frequently
* past week: less frequently
* older: very infrequently.
When I visit a page, I generally aim to do at least one thing, but this is flexible.

3. "Stuff expires after one month."
Yes, absolutely.

4. "Rewrite stuff to 7 days in the future."
I rewrite to today's date instead.

5. "Active stuff expires after one week."
No! Instead stuff fades out of focus after one week. So if it's important I'll either keep it active or trust it will reassert itself soon, or rediscover it as it approaches a month old.

(For what it's worth, I don't think letting things slide after one month is effective. The list gets too long. Stuff for distant future needs to be filed and scheduled.)
July 28, 2011 at 22:20 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan:

Isn't this basically just a to do list without any systematic way of working through it?
July 29, 2011 at 0:21 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
It's structured but not rigidly so. The week and month frames appear to be essential. The free choice of where to go next suits me well. Only I daily aim to keep ahead of the expiring pages, and aim to visit pages up to a week old to keep key tasks moving.
July 29, 2011 at 0:35 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Mark wrote:
<< Isn't this basically just a to do list without any systematic way of working through it?>>

Alan's system is very similar to what I'm doing. Unstructured, yes. But I have gained tremendously by integrating several Mark Forster (tm) concepts: the closed list (or a series of them), the "stand out" method of selection, "actioning" each item rather than completing it, being aware of "one day's work," working through a "backlog," and keeping it all in a running notebook. And that "SuperFocus feeling" as a reference point. There may be a few more.

Before I had experienced those things, an unstructured notebook would have driven me crazy. Now that I have internalized them to some degree (notice that "dismissal" is not listed!), my plain old unstructured notebook is a powerful tool. It may become even more powerful with just the right set of rules.

Does this remind anyone of that "brain power" topic from a while back?
July 29, 2011 at 6:06 | Registered CommenterBernie
Alan:

<< It's structured but not rigidly so. >>

Nevertheless it seems to me that one could sum the rules up as:

1. Keep a continuous list of what you have to do.
2. Do stuff from it.
3. Throw away pages that are more than a month old.

Having used a very similar list in the distant past I know that one naturally falls into a pattern of doing most stuff from the more recent days while neglecting the older days - because they tend to consist of the stuff that one is resisting doing.

In fact it's precisely that natural pattern which my various systems are designed to get round.
July 29, 2011 at 8:56 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Bernie:

<< Alan's system is very similar to what I'm doing. Unstructured, yes. But I have gained tremendously by integrating several Mark Forster (tm) concepts: the closed list (or a series of them), the "stand out" method of selection, "actioning" each item rather than completing it, being aware of "one day's work," working through a "backlog," and keeping it all in a running notebook. And that "SuperFocus feeling" as a reference point. There may be a few more. >>

I don't see where there are closed lists in Alan's system. Nor does he seem to be using the "stand out" method of selection, which requires looking through the list (or part of it) in order. Nor do I see where he is aware of one day's work. Least of all do I see where he's getting that "SuperFocus feeling" from.

Sorry to sound so negative about it. I have no intention of trying to stop anyone from doing what works for them, but I have to look at the wider picture of what will work for people in general.
July 29, 2011 at 9:04 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Detailed feedback: I like it! First a clarification: the most recent rules were imprecise. Indeed the rules in Post1 were closer. Perhaps some of my comments below will adjust your perspective.
"Nevertheless it seems to me that one could sum the rules up as:"
Summary is close. It neglects the obligation to visit tasks over the past week to clear out currently important items.

"Having used a very similar list in the distant past I know that one naturally falls into a pattern of doing most stuff from the more recent days while neglecting the older days - because they tend to consist of the stuff that one is resisting doing. "

1. Your experience matches mine.
2. I feel this pattern is exactly the most desirable.

"I don't see where there are closed lists in Alan's system. Nor does he seem to be using the "stand out" method of selection, which requires looking through the list (or part of it) in order. Nor do I see where he is aware of one day's work."
It's you that called DWM's pages a series of 28 closed lists with two open lists? This is similar. As for the standing-out method, I follow that still, just didn't mention it. Within a page I follow AF1 rules: I scan in order, and am obliged to pick one or dismiss the page. (CONTRADICTION: I'm specifically disclaiming what I said in rule 2 above.)
"One day's work" isn't part of the system.
July 29, 2011 at 13:25 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Mark & Alan,

An example of how "one day's work" affects all this: when I write "email" on my list, it now means to handle yesterday's incoming email, plus any older open items that needed more than a day, but leave alone anything that came in today.

I wouldn't state that rule as part of my "notebook system," but it has become the way I handle any incoming stream of demands. I don't know whether Alan uses this, but it seems likely to me that anyone who has successfully used one of these ideas is probably still using it and benefiting from it within whatever system they have taken up. This partly accounts, in my view, for people's differing results with various systems. If System X works for one person but not for another, perhaps part of the secret is one of these "one day's work" secrets that has become automatic to the first person, while the second has never experienced it. I used to experience email as a never-ending black hole. Now I experience it as a closed list (closing each day), and the change has nothing to do with my notebook rules.

As for my "SuperFocus feeling," it is the feeling I get when I can see my progress through all currently-active items while new ones get folded steadily into the workflow. This feeling has become my benchmark of a nicely running system. I didn't mean to imply that Alan relies on this feeling, but like his, my notebook also has something very like C2, because I am writing currently-active items from the top down, while I write un-started items from the bottom up. *ALL* of my currently-active items live at top of my latest 2-3 notebook pages. This C2-ish top region seems responsible for that SuperFocus feeling, while it also gives me a nice dashboard view of everything going on. Other items drift by in the bottom region of my pages, always candidates to jump up top.
July 29, 2011 at 20:01 | Registered CommenterBernie
Mark wrote:
<<I have no intention of trying to stop anyone from doing what works for them ... >>

Just to clarify, I am *not* one of these lucky (clever?) people who have discovered their own perfect, individualized system. Of necessity, my notebook system branched away from SuperFocus when I took up the "Dreams" protocol, due to the resulting shift in energy/motivation. I was not willing to put a huge effort into designing a new system (nor is it my specialty!), but for now I have somewhat preserved the feel of SuperFocus and a little bit of "dashboard" flair while allowing some flexibility for the Dreams "when I feel like it" manifesto.

Thus if anyone's counting, it has been approximately a three-way compromise, and all three have suffered.


[Mark again:]
<< ... but I have to look at the wider picture of what will work for people in general. >>

I am really looking forward to getting a crack at AF5! Or whatever comes of that effort.


[Mark, from his thread "AF5 Progress"]
<<It produces exactly the right tasks for the situation, time available, importance, urgency and your own psychological readiness. Whenever you use the system you will come away from it feeling that you have done exactly what you should have done and that there could have been no better use of your time. >>

Sounds wonderful! Best of luck.
July 31, 2011 at 6:03 | Registered CommenterBernie