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Discussion Forum > Random Thoughts 1

A continuing thread for discussing random thoughts and observations. A gathering place.
December 6, 2016 at 4:00 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
I haven't yet had any random thoughts today.
December 6, 2016 at 11:22 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
All my thoughts are random.
December 6, 2016 at 17:16 | Unregistered CommenterPaul MacNeil
Haha. This thread is already so focused. I'd randomly suspected it would be.
December 7, 2016 at 0:41 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Just read blog post by Altucher somebody about Tim Ferris new book. Here's a quote.

<< B) Doing is everything. >>

<< Derek Sivers told him, “If all we needed was more information, then everyone would be a billionaire with perfect abs.” >>

<< It’s the DOING that’s difficult. >>

<< I asked Tim: “there’s 700 pages of advice here. How can anyone follow everything? How do you know what will work for you?” >>

<< Just pick a few things. Pick what resonates with you. Start slowly. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just start DO-ing. >>

<< Dan Ariely once told me something similar. “If you say sorry to someone, even if you don’t mean it, even if THEY KNOW you don’t mean it, then you still have a better relationship with them a year later compared with people who never say sorry.” >>

<< DOING > THINKING. >>

http://jamesaltucher.quora.com/Tim-Ferriss-%E2%80%93-What-I-Learned-From-Tim-Ferriss%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98Tools-of-Titans%E2%80%99


It reminded me of Goldratt's idea about identifying core problems (Current Reality Tree)

Life is complex, so problems are almost always inter-related. So if you just look at some part of your life or work that needs attention, you can just start writing down a few problems in that area that really bother you. Find two that are related, and connect them with an arrow, showing cause-and-effect. If there are intermediate causes/effects, then include them. Start working in the other problems ("undesirable effects") that you listed, connecting them to the tree with cause-and-effect arrows. Start noticing how they lead to each other, how there are causal loops / vicious cycles. Look for the items that have lots of arrows coming OUT of them. There is your root cause, your core problem. Fix that one -- it's the domino that will knock down all the others.

Another interesting way to look at the inter-relatedness, is that you can work on any one of the problems, and it will have some impact on all the others. And it will have impact on all the OTHER stuff that's bothering you, that maybe you didn't even write down!

In other words, Goldratt says, don't worry about finding the "most important" problems. Just find the ones that bother you the most. Then think a little bit about how they are related to each other. You will find that the "important" stuff gets taken care of in the process.

This led me to think of tasks and projects in a similar way. And somehow this quote from Altucher made me think of it and want to write about it here.

In other words, many tasks and projects in my life are inter-related. There are many interesting things I could do, many problems I need to solve, many things I could work on.

Time management helps figure out what to do first, helps figure out what is "most important". But I think it really matters less than we think it does. We should just write down the stuff that's bothering us the most, and then give some quick thought about how to tackle that small set of items. This is what NO-LIST does so well.

You might think NO-LIST will cause you to miss all your commitments, you need some kind of reminder system. Well, maybe you do. But less than you would think. Because while you are engaged in your work, NO-LIST style, all of that stuff is getting taken care of, since it's all inter-related.

I have found this approach FAR FAR more effective than making an exhaustive list and using some algorithm to process it - whether AF, DIT, FV, FVP, or other systems like GTD or whatever. With NO-LIST, I am engaged with my WORK, rather than engaged with a list of stuff that I keep building resistance to whenever I skip over a task.

Go ahead and write down your lists if you want. But don't WORK from them. Work from NO-LIST. Then at the end of the day (or whenever you need a break from real work), go look at your lists and cross off the TONS of stuff you are getting done. And cross off all the stuff that is now clearly irrelevant or unneeded. And in the process, refresh yourself on what still remains. But DON'T WORK ON IT till your review is done.

This doesn't create resistance, since you're not working from that list and rejecting task after task. You are just reviewing. It's non-threatening, non-binding.

Anyway that's my random thought for the moment. I'll probably have another one in a few minutes. LOL But won't be able to write it down cuz the thoughts come way faster than I can type. Especially when I am in no list mode. :) :) :)
December 7, 2016 at 1:01 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Here's another one on the same thing, but applied to reading material and the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

All the stuff out there that you can read is inter-related.

All the books.

The classics and the moderns.

The articles and the blogs and the Facebook posts.

So, since it's all inter-related, just go NO LIST on the reading, too, and you'll pick up a lot of good stuff.

About 15 years ago, when some Google search yielded 15 billion results, I suddenly realized there was no way I could possibly ever read everything. Somehow it had never occurred to me before that, as ridiculous as that sounds!! LOL

So I gave up trying, but still had a lot of FOMO. I put all the stuff I wanted to read in Autofocus. That kinda helped but also kept putting into my face all the stuff I had to give up. But I didn't want to give ANYTHING up!!

What's really funny now is that I can just scan the headlines in my blog reader and get a feel for what's happening that is of interest to me. And I can click "Add To Pocket" to read them later. And that alone sort of keeps me in tune with what I want to know. I only actually read about a tenth of what I save to Pocket. But that's OK!


Since this idea applies to problems -- and to tasks -- and to reading -- I am guessing it applies to a lot of other things, too. And that should help me FOCUS. I know I get a LOT out of focusing on one idea, writing about it, thinking about it, implementing one core strategic idea, and that creates huge value for me. As in McKeown's Essentialism. And going in lots of directions doesn't help. I knew all that before, but with this new idea, it kind of gives me a sense that just by focusing on a few things that really matter, "the rest" (whatever that means) will also get taken care of in the process. Since it's all inter-related.

You know, you probably shouldn't have asked for random thoughts. Or maybe said "everyone but Seraphim, please share your random thoughts." LOL

So maybe I should stop. LOL They just come too easily and probably don't make sense to anyone, I'm not even sure they make sense to me. LOL
December 7, 2016 at 1:44 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

"You know, you probably shouldn't have asked for random thoughts. Or maybe said "everyone but Seraphim, please share your random thoughts." LOL

So maybe I should stop. LOL They just come too easily and probably don't make sense to anyone, I'm not even sure they make sense to me. LOL"

Posts like the above are precisely why I created this thread series!
December 7, 2016 at 2:55 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
"The philosopher (Aristotle) says, what is the first in intention is the last in execution. When a carpenter builds a house his first intention is the roof and that is the finish of the house."

Meister Eckhart
December 7, 2016 at 3:55 | Registered Commenternuntym
Seraphim, reading your post about FOMO, I realized that might be a key piece behind my discontentment lately. All of this music to listen to. All of these projects I have to do. All of ABC to XYZ. If I don't do it all I'll be letting something terrific get away... gotta do it all... but so overwhelming... and...

Interesting observation on how NO LIST can help this.

nuntym, what an interesting quote.
December 10, 2016 at 3:02 | Unregistered Commenterflight16
In the morning, before the world attempts to control your focus, consider answering four questions first. Later that evening review your day with another set.

Morning Questions: The Four When You Hit the Floor

1. What are two *small* things I'm grateful for?
2. Who am I happy is in the world with me?
3. If I wanted to be happy what could I think about?
4. What am I most proud about in my life right now?

Evening Questions: The Seven at Seven (The Seven at Eleven for night owls)

1. What went well today?
2. What were the magic moments?
3. What was planned?
4. What really happened?
5. Why did it happen?
6. How can I do better next time?
7. What's the one thing I will achieve by 1 pm tomorrow that will dramatically improve my life?
December 10, 2016 at 11:06 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
I have been using a tweaked FVP for a week now and I can't really stop using it, I am really liking how it works right now, and I think the reason is that I have stopped thinking of a "catch all" list as a to-do list (which is what Mark Forster has been trying to get away from with all his catch-all systems but inevitably fall into) and have started thinking of it as a "weeks/months/years-long brainstorm of possible things to do". And all you have to do to start looking at the said list as a brainstorm is to approach it with a goal already in mind, even if it is as vague as "I want to be productive today."
December 11, 2016 at 19:45 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

Interesting approach. I've been experimenting recently with some of Mark's list-based systems myself. Perhaps a key to a really good list-based system are some of the lessons learned from the No-List systems.
December 12, 2016 at 4:55 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
"[T]he whole purpose of play is to rest the soul. It presupposes work and looks forward to more work. In the absence of that mental activity which makes play necessary, amusement becomes a terrible bore, as distasteful as a steady diet of spinach or six months in bed. Even too much of it in one dose destroys the sparkling relish of it. Of course the retired business man promptly lies down and dies; he has nothing to do but rest. While rest is fine as a recuperation from work or a preparation for work, rest for the sake of rest is really a killing thing."

Walter Farrel, O.P, "A Companion to the Summa"

http://web.archive.org/web/20080510103438/http://www.domcentral.org/farrell/companion/comp319.htm
December 19, 2016 at 22:54 | Registered Commenternuntym
When you search Google on an iPhone and click on certain links, you are no longer sent directly to the link. Instead, Google forces you to view the site through a Google tweak called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). This can be highly annoying to users like me who read an article and wish to save it to Evernote. Evernote will not save the article, but will instead save the fact that you did a Google search.

Many Google users have complained about this and the answer seems to be: "Thanks for using Google! We're not changing it, or allowing you to turn it off. Enjoy!"

One of the main reasons behind this seems to be analytics. Google wants to know what links you click on when at Google's site, and now, what links you click on once you've left Google.

No one came up with a workaround for iPhones and iPads, so I have:

1. When visiting a link in the Safari browser that has been interfered with by Google AMP, tap the action button at the bottom of the Safari browser, located in the center. It looks like a box with an arrow in it.

2. Next, tap "Request Desktop Site".

3. Voila! It will now remove the Google AMP wrapper and take you directly to the page you visited, allowing it to be saved in Evernote or the page's address to be copied directly without all the Google AMP junk in the address.

Take that Google!

Interestingly, for the majority of pages viewed with Safari, tapping "Request Desktop Site" does not actually present you with the non-mobile version of a website. But it does bypass Google AMP.
January 1, 2017 at 2:02 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Google's AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) "feature" is also sometimes referred to as: "Annoys Many People". Mostly I refer to it this way, but I strongly encourage others to adopt this meaning too.
January 1, 2017 at 2:25 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Article on Google AMP:

"Google Helping Mobile Publishing? Some Publishers Not So Sure"
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/01/technology/google-amp-mobile-publishing.html
January 2, 2017 at 6:41 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
I've just confirmed that sending a link from Safari to the multimedia saving service Pocket bypasses Google AMP. So there's no need to request the desktop site first before saving articles to Pocket. Only when using Evernote.
January 3, 2017 at 3:42 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
I have been using a lined paper notebook, starting each new day on a facing page. It has at least 200 pages, and I started with FVP, then switched to DIT, and now NL-FVP. I only have 5 blank pages left. This will mark the first notebook in my life I've ever actually completely filled. I usually abandon them part way as hopelessly backlogged, and start over with a new book. This time I just kept plugging away, always feeling like tomorrow would be better. And eventually, it was!

One technique has stuck throughout this book - a daily appointment list. In the lower right corner, I start on the second-to-last line about an inch away from the right margin and write a 5. I then write a 4 above that, then a 3, and it ends up looking like this:

9
10
11
12
1
2
3
4
5

----- bottom of page -----

I then check my calendar and copy over any appointments. I write evening appointments on that empty last line (rare that I have more than one).

9 morning touchbase
10
11 weekly POS
12
1
2 Budget review
3
4
5

It's simple, gives an immediacy to the items as I rewrite them, and it feels very complementary to No-List. It gives me a quick view of my non-discretionary time, and then the No-List (which starts from the upper left corner) handles the discretionary time. I check the calendar items off as I go.
January 3, 2017 at 21:45 | Unregistered CommenterScott Moehring
I have also set a goal for 2017, which I suppose could be called a resolution.

I've designated 2017 the Year of Enjoying What I Already Have. It will be a wild experiment of 365 days. I recently learned the Japanese word "tsundoku", which essentially means a pile of unread books stacked up in your house. I realized I already have a year's worth of books I haven't read... and movies I haven't watched, exercise programs I haven't finished, games I haven't played, software I haven't learned, projects I haven't published.

So here's my vow. For the next year, unless I'm fixing something that is legitimately broken, or replacing something that needs a refill (food, gas, monthly fee), or addressing something given to me (work assignment, unrequested gift), I won't buy or begin anything new in 2017. I can use anything I already have or know about, but that's it. I'll just use, work on, finish, or enjoy all the things I already have. That's the goal anyway. I expect it will be mentally/emotionally very challenging to "turn off the radar for NEW stuff", but not a physical hardship at all. I'm very fortunate to already have everything I actually need.
January 3, 2017 at 21:57 | Unregistered CommenterScott Moehring
Great ideas, Scott.

Since I'm also using NL-FVP, I think I might give your Daily Appointment List sidebar a whirl. Thanks.
January 4, 2017 at 0:38 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C
Scott:

<< For the next year, unless I'm fixing something that is legitimately broken, or replacing something that needs a refill (food, gas, monthly fee), or addressing something given to me (work assignment, unrequested gift), I won't buy or begin anything new in 2017. >>

Only a year? I think I'd need a decade!
January 4, 2017 at 15:42 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Why is it so difficult to find a polished-looking mobile email app that automates email sorting into folders or categories of my choosing? Essentially I want mail rules that I can set up in the app as I deal with each email. This means no paid services, no signing up for third-party accounts, and no need to set rules by logging into your email accounts directly on the web—all functionality must be in the app.

The latest fad is developers making mail apps that sort your mail like a reminder or task app. The problem with this is that those apps make you choose what to do each time you encounter mail from the same sender. So you can delay emails, but you can't automate them. I want automation. Set and forget. I want to tell the app: "Put any email from this sender into a folder called 'Weekly' every time it arrives from now on".

To be clear, I'm not looking for a mail app that charges for an ongoing service, requires a sign up of any kind, or sorts the Inbox automatically into "Important" and "Unimportant", or "VIP" and "Not VIP". I want automated sorting into folders or categories of my choosing and I want this functionality locally, built-into the app, not a service.

Anyone have an app suggestion?
January 5, 2017 at 23:30 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B., take a look at Google Inbox.
I no longer use it for various forgotten reasons.

But did just take a look for you and as I'd remembered it does allow me to create rules/folders from the phone. I'm on iOS, and as Google I assume there must be an Android version.

It is of course free, it is however Google for whatever issues that has.
January 6, 2017 at 21:04 | Registered CommentermatthewS
matthewS:

Thank you! Checking it out now.
January 6, 2017 at 21:05 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
matthewS:

Such a good suggestion as it's 99% what I want. Unfortunately Google Inbox only allows users to check Gmail accounts. I believe one of the reasons they do this is because the mail rules functionality is not really in the app itself, but is actually server side, at Google. Essentially the app is just setting your Gmail mail rules for you without you having to login to your Gmail account through a web browser.

I found another app that's 99.999% what I want and looks great too. And they (knowing how rare this feature is) want to charge users $9.99 a month to be able to use rules in the app. Haha. They may want to get their first few downloads and maybe some positive app reviews before calling for $120 a year.
January 6, 2017 at 21:42 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Haven't found the automation feature I'm looking for in a mobile email app yet, but my search has been very fruitful.

I've discovered a new email app that is so good it has replaced my current solution, which is also quite good (Email by EasilyDo: iOS App Store: http://bit.ly/2i5ojNg ).

The new email app I'm using and highly recommend is called Unibox:

Unibox Website: http://bit.ly/2jg6w3G

I suggest watching the short video on their website.
January 8, 2017 at 0:43 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B., wow, did not even realize there were so many choice available. I've just always slogged along with stock Google GMAIL app, now you have me curious.
January 8, 2017 at 21:23 | Registered CommentermatthewS
Currently:

• Using Flexible Autofocus
• Writing all urgent tasks into column 2 of the current page
January 13, 2017 at 1:30 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Update 1:

• Using Flexible Autofocus
• Writing all urgent tasks into column 2 of the current page
• Column 2 is treated as part of the page
• I do a scan from the beginning of the page after writing down any urgent tasks*
• If no tasks stand out during a scan of the page, all column 2 tasks are left in place and I continue to the next page


*If the urgent tasks occur to me while doing a task, I write the urgent tasks into column 2, return to the current task, and when the task is done, I cross it out and do another the scan from the beginning of the page — same as in Flexible Autofocus
January 13, 2017 at 3:56 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Update 2:

Same as Update 1, with two new additions:

• Unfinished urgent tasks are rewritten into column 2 of the current page

• If column 2 is full, all urgent tasks are written or rewritten into column 2 of the next available page
January 13, 2017 at 6:19 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
My last update could be a little more clear. Specifically the first of the two additions:

• Unfinished urgent tasks are rewritten into column 2 of the current page

This applies if I'm working on an urgent task and need to switch to another urgent task (or write one down) on the same page. I cross out the current urgent dotted task, rewrite it at the bottom of column 2, and then scan from the beginning of the page.
January 13, 2017 at 9:36 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B, I have to ask why do you feel the need for a Column 2 in your FAF? The vanilla system handles urgent tasks just fine.
January 13, 2017 at 23:00 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

"Why do you feel the need for a Column 2? The vanilla system handles urgent tasks just fine."

Perhaps there are subtleties to Flexible Autofocus that you or Mark can describe that are key to the issue.

So far I've actually found a column 2 to be a simple solution that flows quite well. It's also not my original idea to have a column 2 for urgent tasks, but Mark's. This of course comes from his system Superfocus.

Here is an example of my working the system vanilla:

1. I'm working on page 4 of 15 pages when a soon to be urgent task occurs to me
2. I flip to page 15 and write it down
3. I flip back to page 4
4. I cross out my currently dotted task
5. I flip again to page 15 and rewrite my current unfinished task at the end of the list
6. I flip back to page 4 and do a scan of the page (because I have just completed a task, per the rules)
7. Now I quickly scan page 5, 6, 7, 8
8. On page 8 a task stands out (for any number of reasons) so I dot it and begin
9. I complete the task and cross it out
10. I do another scan of page 8 and a task stands out so I dot it and begin
11. A series of tasks that will soon be urgent occurs to me so I flip to page 15 and write them down at the end of the list
12. I flip back to page 8
13. I cross out my currently dotted task
14. I flip again to page 15 and rewrite my current unfinished task at the end of the list
15. I flip back to page 8 and do a scan of the page (because I have just completed a task, per the rules) — nothing stands out
16. Now I quickly scan page 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
17. On page 15 an urgent task stands out so I dot it and begin
18. As there are many urgent tasks on page 15 I remain there for quite sometime rewriting unfinished urgent tasks at the end of this page and cycling through them


An example of my working the system with a Column 2:

1. I'm working on page 4 of 15 pages when a soon to be urgent task occurs to me
2. I write it down in column 2
3. I cross out my currently dotted task
4. I flip to page 15 and rewrite my current unfinished task at the end of the list
5. I flip back to page 4 and do a scan of the page (because I have just completed a task, per the rules)
6. The urgent task in column 2 stands out so I dot it and begin
7. I complete that task and cross it out
8. Then, per the rules, I do another scan of page 4 — nothing stands out
9. Now I quickly scan pages 5, 6, 7, 8
10. On page 8 a task stands out (for any number of reasons) so I dot it and begin
11. I complete the task and cross it out
12. I do another scan of page 8
13. Another task stands out so I dot it and begin
14. A series of tasks that will soon be urgent occur to me so I write them down in column 2
15. I cross out my currently dotted task
16. I flip to page 15 and rewrite my current unfinished task at the end of the list
17. I flip back to page 8 and do a scan of the page (because I have just completed a task, per the rules)
18. I dot the first urgent task that stands out in column 2 and begin
19. As there are many urgent tasks in column 2 on page 8 I remain there for quite sometime rewriting unfinished urgent tasks at the bottom of column 2 and cycling through them
January 14, 2017 at 1:11 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Essentially, a Column 2 seems to be achieving the following for me:

• I get to my urgent tasks quicker
• I limit the amount of tasks I must scan to one page before getting to my urgent tasks
• My urgent tasks are instantly visible as a group — like a heads-up display
• It feels light and easy to use (but may look complex described in writing)
January 14, 2017 at 1:43 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Update 3:

I've been thinking about a simpler way in which I might achieve most of what I wrote about above, but without use of a second column. This will mean I lose the heads-up display effect as well as my place in the list (as I'll be skipping directly to the end of the list and eventually looping back to the beginning of the list).

Movement through the list is so quick with Flexible Autofocus that I think immediately skipping to the end and resuming my scan from there will work well — even if I do lose my place in the list (instead of resuming my scan from the page I was working on prior to the urgent tasks occurring to me)

Using a previous example, this is what I'm currently doing:

1. Let's say I'm working on page 4 of 15 pages when a soon to be urgent task occurs to me
2. I cross out my current task on page 4
3. I then flip to page 15, rewrite my current unfinished task, and my soon to be urgent task
4. I do a scan of page 15
5. The urgent task stands out so I dot it and begin
6. A series of urgent tasks then occurs to me, so I write them down at the end of the list
7. I cross out my current task on page 15 and rewrite it at the end of the list
8. I do another scan of the page
9. One of the urgent tasks stands out, so I dot it and begin
10. As there are many urgent tasks on the last page I remain there for quite some time rewriting unfinished urgent tasks at the end of the list, rescanning the page, and cycling through them
11. When no more tasks stand out on the last page I continue on to the next page of the list (page 1)
January 14, 2017 at 5:36 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B: "This of course comes from his system Superfocus."

Yes I am familiar with SF. I am just perplexed why you need it with FAF.

"As there are many urgent tasks on page 15 I remain there for quite sometime rewriting unfinished urgent tasks at the end of this page and cycling through them"

This actually is one of the advantages of FAF as explained by Mark Forster: "task clumping". That is, because of how FAF works, tasks of similar difficulty or level of urgency tend to be in the same page which "get cleared together when there is a suitable time available to do them". Also, "the clumping also means that you can look at pages on the list and identify what the common features of the remaining tasks are. This makes it easier to consciously or subconsciously identify when the time is ripe to do them."

http://markforster.squarespace.com/forum/post/2653333

"Movement through the list is so quick with Flexible Autofocus that I think immediately skipping to the end and resuming my scan from there will work well — even if I do lose my place in the list (instead of resuming my scan from the page I was working on prior to the urgent tasks occurring to me)"

You can easily get back to the place you were before by not crossing out the previous dotted task you were working on.
January 14, 2017 at 6:29 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

"Yes I am familiar with SF."

That was for the benefit of others. It was also to give credit to Mark. I know that you, Bernie, Frank, and Seraphim are all fellow fans of Superfocus. And I know that Alan Baljeu really, really isn't!

"I am just perplexed why you need it with FAF."

I thought I'd done a pretty good job of describing why in my previous replies. The short version is I found I wasn't getting to my urgent tasks quick enough while following the rules.

"You can easily get back to the place you were before by not crossing out the previous dotted task you were working on."

That was my first idea. I found leaving the task dotted and then remembering to flip through the pages later looking for the dot to be an inelegant solution. You may as well quickly scan those pages while you're at it. Travel through the list is fast enough that it is simpler to skip straight to the end and then continue scanning from there. You'll get back to your previous page quickly as you loop back through the list.
January 14, 2017 at 7:38 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B. and nuntym:

I must say that I haven't found I need any special way of dealing with urgent tasks in FAF. That's probably because I don't get that number of genuinely urgent tasks. But when I do have an urgent task the knowledge that it's at the end of the list means I speed through the list faster.

Of course there's urgent and urgent. In my book "Do It Tomorrow" I made a distinction between "Immediate" tasks that need doing right now this second and "Same Day" tasks that need doing during the day but not necessarily right now. What I said was that Immediate tasks don't go on a To Do List - they just get done. No one writes "Evacuate Building" on their list when the fire alarm goes off. Nor do shop assistants or salesclerks write "Attend to Next Customer" on theirs. Immediate tasks are a matter of training, not of time management.

I think this is an important distinction because there is always a time lag between becoming aware of a Same Day task and actually needing to do it. The crucial question is "Will I reach this task in the normal course of working the list in time to do it?" In the majority of cases with a reasonably fast system like FAF, the answer is "Yes". In the relatively rare cases of the answer being "No", the solution is to treat the task as "Immediate" and do it right there and then without bothering to write it on the list at all.

If however you are in a job in which there's a larger than normal number of tasks to which the answer would be "No", then I would advise using Flexible FVP rather than FAF.
January 14, 2017 at 10:42 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark:

My urgent tasks tend not to be the "drop everything and do this urgent task" kind. Nor do they tend to be the "sometime today" kind. They tend to be in-between: relatively small tasks in groups of 5-15 at a time. I'll be in the middle of the list and because of a location change, a time change, or just the context of the situation suddenly being "right" I'll have a group of tasks, all of similar urgency, that should be done next. I've actually found that FastFVP works well for this, and by skipping to the end, Flexible Autofocus does as well.

Another possible answer is that responding to groups of tasks in that manner is impulsive and I should let your systems reign that in!
January 14, 2017 at 11:01 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B:

Myself: << I would advise using Flexible FVP rather than FAF. >>

Now I'm the one saying it wrong!

It's Fast FVP and Flexible Autofocus as you correctly say.

Contrary to my initial impression, I'm now finding that I prefer Fast FVP to FAF. I may yet change back again!
January 14, 2017 at 17:19 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark:

One thing I found interesting is after using the FV and No-List systems for so long, my practice of the standing out principle needed some practice!
January 15, 2017 at 11:15 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B:

It's a good point that like everything else in this life if you want to do a time management system well it needs practice.
January 15, 2017 at 12:16 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Currently:

• Using FastFVP
• Using the questions: "Now?" and "Next?".

Testing this new question combo. It seems to be speeding up and focusing my use of FastFVP if anyone else is interested in trying it. I'm looking for a combo that comes as close as possible to the standing-out method.
January 19, 2017 at 2:16 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B

I think I like the sound of "Now?" and "Next?" better than my two questions. Now to try them out!
January 19, 2017 at 9:18 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark:

Used it all day Wednesday. So far this pairing feels light on the mind. Both questions are very easy to run in the background while scanning. It seems to produce a very intuitive and relaxing cadence to it that reminds me of Autofocus. Anyone that would like to give it a try:

1. Standard FastFVP Rules
2. Ask "Now?". If the task feels ready now, do it.
3. If not now, ask "Next?" and continue scanning through the list for a task that you want to do next.
4. When a task stands out, dot it and ask "Now?".
5. Continue on using the FastFVP process.
January 19, 2017 at 11:05 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B:

I tried it for a short time but came across a problem with the question "Next?"

Next to what?

If means next to the task which you have just decided doesn't feel ready, the question would be "First?", not "Next?"

If it means next after the task you have last done, then you are not comparing it with the right benchmark.

The mental disorder caused by this was sufficient for me to abandon the attempt and seek clarification.

I tried using "Now?" and "First?" but somehow that doesn't have the same ring to it!
January 19, 2017 at 15:46 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
An unconnected question:

This thread is called "Random Thoughts" but seems to have become an all-purpose place for discussions which would be better off in their own separate thread or in an existing thread.

I'm far too lazy to start transferring discussions to other threads, so would people be happy if this thread was either discontinued or restricted to random thoughts and nothing else (i.e. no discussion allowed on this thread - rather like the "To Think About..." slot in the margin? If you felt that one of the "random thoughts" needed to be discussed then you could open a thread on the subject.
January 19, 2017 at 15:52 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark:

My original intention with the thread was a place to have random discussions that didn't need the importance or attention-seeking of an official post yet. A place where one could muse a little and riff on ideas before they were so specific and popular that they would then be turned into a post dedicated to the topic.

There didn't seem to be a thread for that kind of open-ended idea generating and discussion. A place for when you just want to put out a quick thought, idea, or update, but don't necessarily want to draw too much attention to it yet as would be done if you were to highlight your single thought with its own official post. I thought of calling it "Discussions".

I'm okay with whatever solution is needed, whether it's being quick to recognize when a topic being discussed starts deserving of an official post and creating one, or simply creating a post for each thought as before, or another solution I haven't considered. It was a decent experiment but now that this thread is nearing the 50 mark it's probably time to decide!
January 20, 2017 at 0:15 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Mark:

A new thread for discussing the FastFVP question pair:
http://markforster.squarespace.com/fv-forum/post/2655276
January 20, 2017 at 0:37 | Registered CommenterMichael B.

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