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Discussion Forum > DIT/RAF Mash-Up (DRAMA?)

Today, if I can muster enough motivation, I'm going to start using a system that's a lovechild of Mark's DIT and RAF systems.

In late April I posted in the thread on the Eastertide Challenge (see below) about what I'd learnt from the Lenten Challenge, and outlined a system I thought might work for me in overcoming my personal challenges with all systems of time and self-management. True to form, I failed to follow through, and ever since I've been struggling with feeling overwhelmed by too much choice in every area.

If I remember correctly, I think the possibility of using RAF in a diary (day-to-page or similar) has already been mentioned somewhere in the blog or discussion forum, and for me, the magic bullet in combining DIT and RAF will be using a specified timeframe, then another, then another, as a filter to stop me overwhelming the system (see (c) below).

Hi all - in another thread I'd mentioned that I am planning to do the Eastertide challenge using some of the rules of DIT but with variations that tailor it to my preferred way of working. For the Lenten challenge I used the Bounce, and that experience was very useful in teaching me three things.

(A) A catch-all list doesn't really work well for me because, left to its own devices, my brain produces dozens and dozens (hundreds!) of possible tasks every day ,from the sublime to the ridiculous, so my commitments (urgent and non-urgent) are mixed in with everything else, scanning feels cumbersome and there's just too much choice of what to do - and when faced with too much choice I often feel overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. So I want a system in which commitments, to myself and others, are kept on the working list, and I have a separate list for someday/maybe tasks and ideas.

(B) I want a system that uses a day-to-page diary or similar for my working list, and I'll use the DIT method of writing tasks on my list (put it on tomorrow's date unless is needs to be done today). I'll have a section on each page where I write 'must-do-today' tasks, and I'll have a task "Action daily checklist" (which is on a separate list to avoid having to rewrite it on the working list every day).

(C) In order to decide what to put on my working list and what to put on my separate catch-all list I need some way to filter my ideas/tasks as they arise. I think the best way to do this is to have a set timeframe in mind which helps me decide. My timeframe is going to be from now until mid-June, which fits approximately with the Eastertide challenge. Once that date is reached, I'll set another one, and so on. This doesn't mean I don't make plans and prepare for events beyond the timeframe - working on future events is part of my current commitments and I hope to work on them little-and-often.

So those three features form the basis of the system, inspired by Mark's ideas over the years. As for processing each day's list, there are many choices of how to do this, but perhaps using good old FV (as per Mark's latest blog) could be the way to go.

This all sounds fine and dandy - let's hope I can live up to it! I've always been better at planning what to do than actually doing it.

Best wishes to all.

The mechanics may get a bit messy if there are more tasks arising than I can fit on the page for that day (because I'll be re-writing unfinished and recurring tasks) but I'll face that when I come to it (write smaller?). Also, I should probably enter tasks on today's date rather than following the DIT rule of entering them tomorrow. I expect the DDD rule of RAF will replace the DIT audit process. (This is starting to look less and less like DIT the more I tinker with it!).

Anyway, I'm hoping that putting this out there to you good people on the forum will motivate me to take action instead of feeling so overwhelmed by choice that I bunk off and do nothing until the last possible minute before a looming deadline - I'm sick to the back teeth of living this way.
August 19, 2017 at 10:26 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1
Good luck with this, Margaret. Keep us posted!
August 19, 2017 at 11:20 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Thanks Mark. I'm using a day-per-page diary, which I've used for DIT sporadically since the start of the year, and because it's been sporadic, there are plenty of blank pages that I can now use as my catch-all list of things that don't fit within my specified timeframe (currently mid-September). And if I feel like it I can have a task 'Review catch-all list'.

The day-per-page is also great for recurring tasks - today I watered my plants and don't need to do it again till next Saturday, so I've entered it there and don't need to see it till then. It saves me having to remember that Saturday is my plant day, and it's not cluttering up my list meantime - that's one of the things I love about DIT.

Since I'm starting today, the Delete/Defer/Do will kick in on Monday. The defer part will be easy; I just need to enter deferred tasks on an appropriate date and they'll be waiting for me when that day comes.
August 19, 2017 at 17:35 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1
Just a quick update on using the system so far.

I felt as if Saturday and Sunday (the first two days of using the system) were a complete failure, because I spent most of both days just thinking! But on reflection, the things I was thinking about were situations that I'd let drift to the point where I was feeling hugely guilty because I hadn't taken appropriate action at the time I should have. When I started putting tasks on the list, there were five "Think about ...." tasks, all things I'd been resisting big time. Whether it was the excitement of trying out a new system or not I don't know, but I worked on all of them to the point where I no longer felt guilty because they each led to further tasks on the list that I can now take action on to rectify the situations. So instead of feeling despondent at "failing", I was quite jubilant.

I've been finding I prefer not to add tasks that I know I will do anyway without needing to be reminded (make lunch, do dishes). In previous systems I've tended to add such tasks for completeness, but now I realise it just clutters up the list, especially since I'm trying to keep one day's tasks to one page of the diary. There are physical reminders that alert me to small tasks that need done, and instead of writing each task in my list I have an item "minor tasks" (I think this was a tip of Mark's in the Spinning Plates system) and when it stands out I go from room to room for as long as I feel like it, and do what needs done (pile of laundry to be sorted, makeup brushes to be washed, nailvarnish to be applied, pen refill to be added to shopping list, etc. etc.)

Today was the first day I had DDD (delete, defer, do). I deleted nothing. I was tempted to defer a couple of things but I reminded myself that I'm working in a defined timeframe from now til mid-September, and since those tasks need to be done by then, deferring would just be procrastinating.

I'm also trying to find a better way to handle my daily action list of routine tasks but I'll leave that to another post.

So far so good.
August 21, 2017 at 21:53 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1
If it helps, I use checklists for routine tasks and daily things that need to be done.
It helps me cut out thinking time and ensures I don't miss something. That minimises procrastination.
It also means the RAF to do list is not too cluttered up.
You could create a long checklist being the sub-tasks of one overall task. e.g. housework. That overall task then has one entry on the RAF list.
Checklists seem to work and I'm not sure if there is any better way of handling routine tasks (would be interested if anyone has a better system?).
PS I like plate spinning too.
August 22, 2017 at 12:21 | Unregistered CommenterMrBacklog
I'm struggling to understand your system, I guess because you never really described it. I infer that you are simply doing RAF, but instead of lines you move to a new page every day. This catch-all sounds to me like you limit stuff in the RAF to things that you intend to finish by the end of September, and anything other goes into the catch-all to be reviewed whenever.

Is this correct?

Is there anything of putting stuff on Tomorrow's list ala DIT instead of Today's list ala RAF?

Aside: if you simply shifted your dating -- such that all new stuff and rewritten stuff gets written on tomorrow's date and DDD operates on yesterday's date -- it would I think have that DIT feeling to it, just due to the choice of dating.
August 22, 2017 at 22:56 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Thanks, Mr Backlog, I agree with all the advantages of using a daily checklist that you mention and I usually use one. However, I've found that the task “Acton daily checklist” doesn't stand out for me as much as the individual tasks would if they were listed individually on the working list. Looking through my daily checklist, it has some tasks that I don't need to be reminded of, they/ll get done no matter what, so I'm going to remove them (e.g. meals and dishes, personal grooming). The remaining tasks don't necessarily have to be done daily, but they can't be neglected for very long before they jump up and bite back, and if I write them out every day on the working list I feel more compelled to do them (e.g. walk in local park, an exercise session, action incoming e-mail and paperwork, keep records up to date, filing). And if I don't do them they'll end up on DDD, which for some reason provides further motivation to just get them done. However, all this is seen through the prism of the timeframe I'm working to, which is mid-September, so I don't let them crowd out the tasks that I must get done before then.

Alan, thanks very much for your comments too. You're inference is right - It's basically just RAF using a page-per-day diary to provide me with the security I felt when using DIT, and the DDD provides an elegant DIT audit. I use the mid-September timeframe to decide whether tasks go on my working list or in the catch-all list. At the moment I'm entering new stuff and unfinished stuff on today's date as for some reason it feels more natural.

Using page-per-day gives me a feeling of more control:- writing specific tasks on specific dates rather than on a continuous list. I leave about 6 lines free at the top of each page to enter must-do tasks that are specific to that day, so that they're the first thing I see when I come to that day (e.g. post X's birthday card).

I realise all these piecemeal entries don't add up to a description of the system, and maybe they don't make much sense, but once I've spent some more time using it, I'll have a go at describing it properly. I'll add that to my catch-all list!
August 23, 2017 at 15:49 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1
As you do not want a long list to get overwhelmed in and you seem to say, if I understand correctly, that you focus better on a closed time period, then why not have several time periods. Start with the long list. And from the long list, write only what you will get done in the 2 months. And from that, what you will get done this month. Then this week. Then today. And so on, can get to the what you know will get done in 1 hour, as has also been mentioned as a method by Mark Forster. You do not need to be exact or correct in what you believe, intend, plan or otherwise decide to put on a time period, such as this month. Just do it. Because even if your guess is off or things happen or just change your mind, the month list will already be a huge subset of the everything list and will be better start and better focus.
August 23, 2017 at 20:02 | Registered CommentermatthewS
Thanks Matthew, I can see how it would work, breaking projects down by month, then week, then day, and pre-scheduling tasks to a specific date on the RAF list.

An alternative would be to have "Work on Project X" and use a separate checklist for the details, with the possibility of transferring individual tasks to the RAF list as appropriate. This works in many of Mark's systems.

It's a matter of personal preference - I prefer the second method, possibly because it would be more flexible, and less messy, when circumstances change.
August 24, 2017 at 20:17 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1