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Discussion Forum > Short fixed list

I notice my Todo list is becoming more of a fixed list and I just circulate around it doing each task for a period of time.

At the top of this list are a few things I want do every day - e.g. open post, check spam filter, work through reminder/chaser list, tidy desk etc. This is really the checklist part.

Then the items on the list below that are only general categories of all sources of incoming tasks.
e.g. emails, telephone call notes, post, post-it notes, meeting notes and projects.

I have just being doing 2-3 hours work on each category, then move on to the next category. i.e. plate spinning. That has the effect of nicely balancing the work so nothing gets too far behind.
One of the problems I found when I have a very long list of tasks is that I make nice progress on a lot of things and then have a bit of a panic when I spot something that has not been worked on for ages.

Also, all tasks are done on a most recently added basis (last in first out). Add zero procrastination into that and deferral of tasks only when absolutely necessary (if resisting a task then just do a bit of it and defer it). Wonderful!

I was just wondering if any time management system can beat that for speed, clumping, attenuation, zero admin time and all the other hallmarks of an ideal system? After lots and lots of thinking and trial an error with various systems, it seems to have boiled down to this one for me.
December 4, 2017 at 12:53 | Unregistered CommenterMrBacklog
Time for a new name yet?
December 4, 2017 at 13:27 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Ha, ha, funny - yes maybe!
December 4, 2017 at 13:51 | Unregistered CommenterMrBacklog
I suppose you could say that the short fixed list system described above is just simple scanning and it just so happens a short list of tasks is ideal suited for the type of work I do.
Therefore simple scanning is the best system. Full stop!
December 4, 2017 at 14:15 | Unregistered CommenterMrBacklog
sounds like the 'Get everything done' System, doesn't it?
December 4, 2017 at 14:41 | Unregistered CommenterDino
Coincidentally, I started experimenting with a fixed list. Rather than doing any dotting or rewriting, I scan from the top every time. Each line is supposed to be something that could be done (or at least moved forward as much as is logical for the current situation) before moving further into the list. The idea is to fix messes and then make sure they stay that way. In a way, each line represents the creation of a system for staying on top of that item.
December 4, 2017 at 16:50 | Unregistered CommenterDon R
Don R:
Yes, I do like just putting a task on the daily recurring list and doing a bit of it each day.
It is quite satisfying when after a few weeks it is completely done. It hardly seems any effort at all doing it that way.
It is especially good for boring tasks and building habits. After doing the task a bit at a time for a week or so, I quite enjoy doing it.
Odd how that going through this process can turn a task that might be highly resisted initially into something that is done without hesitation.
December 4, 2017 at 17:34 | Unregistered CommenterMrBacklog
MrBacklog, I agree. Most large projects that I procrastinate on become almost fun if I do them daily, even if it's just a short session. I get used to doing them, refine the system, and see progress.

I've started using a small list of themes or projects each day, and often specific tasks within each theme. I now set weekly time goals for each theme. If I finish early, I stay with the theme. Work ahead, improve the system, purge archives, deep clean a corner or drawer, something like that. With the time goals and logging, I now know the minimum time I need to spend on each theme to meet my commitments, and how long to spend if I want to do more. The days vary. Some days I bounce around, doing a bit here, a bit there, adding up to long enough. Other days I stick with each theme until it's done. I find that works better than forcing myself to do one method or the other.
December 4, 2017 at 21:53 | Registered CommenterCricket