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I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. J. K. Rowling
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Discussion Forum > No-List vs Catch-all: Are the previous arguments for each still relevant?

With the return of Catch-all systems and especially the change in their mentality into "A wide-ranging list of everything that you might do" as well as the greater focus afforded by "The Bounce" and "clumping" of Flexible AF, are No-List systems still "the future of time management" as Mark Forster claimed in ?
February 19, 2017 at 23:44 | Registered Commenternuntym

Funnily enough I'm just in the middle of writing a blog post on that very subject. My tentative conclusion (which may have changed by the time I publish it) is that I was wrong. "Catch-all" systems fit better my understanding of antifragility.
February 20, 2017 at 0:32 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I keep rediscovering that I need a blend of pre-planning and in-the-moment discovery. The best balance I've found is to run the show from SMEMA while keeping a catch-all list, frequently entering a catch-all list session as an item on SMEMA. Simpler catch-all systems work better, and sometimes I treat it like an email inbox, just scanning it any way I feel like to make a dent.
February 20, 2017 at 1:07 | Unregistered CommenterBernie
@Mark Forster: "Antifragility", very interesting term there, Mark. I eagerly await your blog post!

@Bernie: "...sometimes I treat it like an email inbox, just scanning it any way I feel like to make a dent."

At least with my current thinking on the subject, I think this is the wrong way of looking at Catch-All systems, because it will always leave you disappointed. There is no way you can possibly make "a dent" on a Catch-All list, because you will always have more things you want to do (which is what you list in a Catch-All) than what you can do. That is the nature of things: we are finite, we are human. To look at a Catch-All as a list of what we must be doing is an exercise in futility and despair.

Rather, if you want to make a Catch-All list work, you must look at it as a list of you MIGHT do. Think of a brainstorming session: you put ideas in, recognizing that some ideas are good while some (most?) are horrible, then you decide which ideas are best to use. There is no way you will use most of those ideas because they wouldn't even fit into the project you are planning to do.

That is how a Catch-All system should work: it is a several days (even weeks and months!) long brainstorming session where you put out the best ideas for tasks that you might do, then select and do the tasks that most benefit you.

In fact, this is the reason I hate making a new list every time a "great new system" comes out: I will possibly lose some great ideas every time I test a system. Heck no will I let that happen!
February 20, 2017 at 2:49 | Registered Commenternuntym

"There is no way you can possibly make 'a dent' on a Catch-All list, because you will always have more things you want to do (which is what you list in a Catch-All) than what you can do."

Very true! I neglected to mention that I now keep a Someday/Maybe list as a sort of mind-map that has a rough chronological axis. It is awesome! Now, a common thing I do to catch-all items is put them on the map, which gets them off the list. My list is no longer a holding pen for all sorts of things that I'm not going to do any time soon.

The "weed list" idea by itself never did much for me, when I had no place to put future plans. And a Someday/Maybe as a flat list was always a big loser, because it did not give me a big picture at a glance, so it just created more stress as another list that I had no idea how I would get done. The map I'm using is great, and it even reminds me that if I want to get to a certain project that pops into my mind, I can see that I've already decided not to start it until after doing certain other things. In the old days, I would get anxious about one of these upcoming projects and just start in, leaving the current stuff unfinished, and later leaving the new project unfinished in turn. Having a place to record all these little decisions I've made about priorities is magic! My list stays only a few pages long, mostly recurring tasks and small timely reminders and maintenance items.
February 20, 2017 at 4:41 | Unregistered CommenterBernie
I wonder if anyone here has read Antifragile by Taleb.

It's a fascinating, difficult, funny book.
February 20, 2017 at 7:52 | Unregistered CommenterJesse

That book is exactly where my thoughts about antifragility and time management are coming from.
February 20, 2017 at 7:54 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I've just been dipping into the Look Inside function on the Antifragile Amazon page. Taleb is an infuriating writer: brilliant and stimulating, but an atrocious stylist. I couldn't get through all of The Black Swan for that reason.

I unfollowed him in Twitter because he's so oracular and distractingly full of himself, but I've been inspired by Antifragile to re-follow him. I'll be interested to learn more about antifragility, and to see Mark's response to it.
February 20, 2017 at 12:21 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
Ken Rubin (author of Essential Scrum) has some great articles on the antifragility of Scrum.
February 20, 2017 at 20:17 | Registered CommenterSeraphim

The problem is that I really don't know enough about Scrum to appreciate the points he's making.
February 22, 2017 at 20:45 | Registered CommenterMark Forster