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FV and FVP Forum > "No List" FVP (NTLIYHBTLIWTS-FVP)

Here's how "No List" FVP works.

I want to stress that I have not yet had a chance to test it out properly since I've been away on holiday for the last week. However if anyone else wants to try it out, they are welcome to have a go and leave feed-back on how it works for them.

Write down a task you want to do.

Ask yourself "Is there anything I want to do first?"

Write that down on the next line.

Repeat the process until you get no answer to the question.

Do the end task on the list.

Before you do the next task (i.e. the last active task remaining on the list), ask the question again and repeat as above until you get no answer to the question.

Continue this process until there are no active tasks left on the list. Write down another task you want to do and start the whole process again.

Repeat ad infinitum.

POINTS TO NOTE

1) It's perfectly ok for there to be no answer to the question when you've written down the first task. In this case just do the first task and then write down another one. If this results in writing down tasks one by one and doing them immediately, that's fine.

2) You can build up to a difficult task by entering it as the first task and then gradually working back to it. This is quite an effective technique for getting moving on something. When deciding what to write as your new first task, it's a good thing (though not compulsory) to select relatively difficult and/or important tasks. The more trivial tasks will get done as "fillers".

3) It's good to end the working day with no tasks remaining on your list. So try and select the tasks you write down towards the end of the day with this in mind.
July 13, 2015 at 12:44 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
An alternative way is "One Day" FVP, in which you work FVP as normal (either with or without question according to preference), but in which you aim to action every item on the list by the end of the day.

There is no carry forward - you have to construct the list afresh each day. Since the aim is to do the lot it is best not to make the list too long, especially as you can always add tasks during the day.
July 13, 2015 at 14:32 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
How about you combine DIT with ODFVP?
July 13, 2015 at 16:35 | Registered Commenternuntym
Or heck even do a "Daily" FVP. You would need to have a schedule book or a notebook where you date every page starting from today.

Like in "One Day" FVP your goal is to action all tasks by the end of today. Like in DIT you add new non urgent tasks in the page for the next day. For the other days, you also add special events and day specific tasks and info in the future days. For example, if Wednesday is errands day you can write the different errands you have to do in the page for the upcoming Wednesday.
July 13, 2015 at 16:59 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

In fact I have already tried FVP with DIT. I quickly found that the problem with it is that FVP is no better than any other method with a closed list so it really doesn't achieve very much.
July 13, 2015 at 17:19 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I should have mentioned in my first post in this thread that a good method with "no list" FVP is to start the list initially with the three or four major tasks/projects that you want to take action on during the day. You need to make sure that they are in the reverse order to that in which you want to do them.

Doing this gives a lot of focus to the day. It ensures that the major projects get done, while routine stuff fits into the gaps between them.
July 13, 2015 at 17:32 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Since there is still a list, I'm trying to figure out the name of the process.

Maybe "short list FVP" would be more fitting?
July 13, 2015 at 18:59 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

The "list" in standard FVP is something that can be done in any order. In standard FVP you apply the algorithm to the written list to establish the schedule for doing the items.

"No list" FVP has no list in this sense - or rather the list is in your head. You apply the algorithm to the list in your head to establish the schedule for doing the items. Only at this stage are they written down. Other items from the list in your head can be added, but once written down they too form part of the schedule, not the list in your head.

So I think it should be called "Not-the-list-in-your-head-but-the-list-in-the-written-schedule"-FVP (NTLIYHBTLIWTS-FVP). This could perhaps be shortened to "Not the list" FVP or even "No list" FVP. Just so long as you remember what "No list" FVP is short for.
July 13, 2015 at 22:00 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I guess I will just have to give it a try! LOL
July 13, 2015 at 23:26 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
No list at all can't work because the most important function of the list is reminding me of important things I totally forgot about. Now, a list of important things that I occasionally look at while doing this no-list thing makes a lot of sense to me.
July 14, 2015 at 20:42 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Is there any sort of Inventory list? Where are incoming tasks parked so they are not basically forgotten about? (I'm curious because I'd like to understand it...not trying to be difficult).

I suppose a dated notebook page could have incoming tasks listed on it and a large post it note could overlay that?
July 14, 2015 at 21:04 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
I have been doing "That long named" FVP since yesterday and it seems it is more complex to setup than vanilla FVP. Like what Leon and Alan said I had to make an "Inventory List" to make sure I was not forgetting anything.

However, ending the day with "Sleep" as the remaining task left is very satisfying, much more satisfying than vanilla FVP. Indeed, the pre-formed "Longer than the Nile named" FVP list the next day (today) starts with "Sleep"!

Also I am more attached to my "That's a lot of letters" FVP list now. Because of the nature of "That thing's name is too long, isn't it?" FVP, I write on my "I am having a nosebleed just thinking of the name" FVP list each and every thing I am doing. Good thing I am using my smartphone which I bring anywhere.

Woe is me though when my smartphone runs out of juice and I cannot play with my "tl;dr" FVP.
July 15, 2015 at 1:33 | Registered Commenternuntym
Alan, Leon, nuntym:

The whole idea of "no list" is that you don't have a list. In this respect it is similar to SMEMA in that you already know what the important things that you have to do, and if you forget them then they couldn't have been that important.

If you have an inventory list then you are going against the entire spirit of the thing and you would do better to accept that a "no list" method is not for you.
July 15, 2015 at 22:50 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
"if you forget them then they couldn't have been that important."

I am amazed such a statement is even possible. It is definitely not true for me. The number of times I forgot my keys or wallet or phone some place, before I developed hacks that make these less likely, are too many to list. I have missed major events I wanted to attend because I forgot. It's trivial for me to get lost in things I love doing, forgetting completely things that matter. When I don't write things down, I'm often approaching a weekend thinking "I want to do X but I have this nagging feeling there's something more important I'm forgetting."
July 18, 2015 at 16:13 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
I agree with Alan. Remembering all the little commitments (which can become big issues if missed, but are low-key in the short term) while I am working on the bigger and more obvious things is a primary reason I use list-based systems at all. I would go as far as to say that the primary benefit of Mark's systems for me has been being able to rest confident that everything is accounted for and will get remembered and dealt with in a reasonable time.
July 18, 2015 at 18:29 | Unregistered CommenterAustin
Alan Baljeu:

<< The number of times I forgot my keys or wallet or phone some place, before I developed hacks that make these less likely, are too many to list.>>

Yes, but these aren't things most people would put on their time management list anyway.

<< I have missed major events I wanted to attend because I forgot. >>

Again, that's not something for a time management list. Those sort of things go on your diary/schedule.

<< It's trivial for me to get lost in things I love doing, forgetting completely things that matter. >>

In that case you'd probably forget to look at your list as well.

<< When I don't write things down, I'm often approaching a weekend thinking "I want to do X but I have this nagging feeling there's something more important I'm forgetting." >>

Yes, I can imagine that happening if you just drift into the weekend. But if you'd been asking yourself multiple times during the day "what is the most important thing I can do next?" as in SMEMA or No List FVP, you'd almost certainly have remembered it.
July 18, 2015 at 19:20 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Austin:

<< Remembering all the little commitments (which can become big issues if missed, but are low-key in the short term) while I am working on the bigger and more obvious things is a primary reason I use list-based systems at all. >>

The little commitments tend to be things that become routines when you are using a "no list" system. In fact the way in which "no list" systems encourage the development of routines is one of the primary reasons for using them.

<< everything is accounted for and will get remembered and dealt with in a reasonable time. >>

I agree with you. That is one of the primary reasons for using a list-based system. But the downside is that "everything" has a strong tendency to get larger and larger. Witness the number of people in this forum who report lists of 100 or more items. The items may all get remembered, but whether they get dealt with in a reasonable time remains to be seen.

As for myself, I am currently using a list-based system with 80 items on the list. I weed it vigorously and regularly to make sure it doesn't grow much larger than that. Even so, I think I would be more focused if I had a smaller list. But life wouldn't be quite as interesting!
July 18, 2015 at 19:34 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Mark Forster:

The inventory list that I have been using is just a list of "big projects" that I add to the "no list," four at the most at a time, at the beginning of the day. It only has 7 items currently, has gone to 3 items before, and rarely goes over 10. It is ruthlessly weeded daily, and it does not include any of the routine things I do everyday. So yeah forgive me for saying that I think it is in the spirit of what you are trying to do.
July 19, 2015 at 1:04 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

I can only go by what you say, and what you said earlier didn't make that clear.
July 19, 2015 at 2:36 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Mark Forster:

Oh! Sorry about that then.
July 19, 2015 at 3:01 | Registered Commenternuntym
My thoughts so far on "No List" FVP:

I like it! I like it more than vanilla FVP in that the first item always feels relevant. Also, there is that satisfaction when you close your FVP with no items left behind before sleeping!

As I mentioned above, I have an "Inventory List of Big Things" were I enter the big projects I want to do so that I do not forget them. I found that it is better to add big projects one at a time into the "no-list" daily FVP once it is empty instead of adding three to four items at a time in the morning, since it seems to make my day more focused, yet still I do up to four big projects at a time per day.

Of course the big disadvantage is that you have to keep your notebook (or at least my smartphone) always at hand. But for me this is not much of a problem as I always have my smartphone with me.
July 20, 2015 at 2:12 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

<< I like it more than vanilla FVP in that the first item always feels relevant. >>

This is true, but with FVP it is irrelevant whether the first item is relevant. Because if it's not relevant then you won't get to it anyway.
July 20, 2015 at 16:39 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Mark Forster:

Sorry for the sparse replies, I have been sick lately, had enough energy to lurk but not to answer posts >,<

«This is true, but with FVP it is irrelevant whether the first item is relevant. Because if it's not relevant then you won't get to it anyway.»

True, and especially with my FVP list before. My backed up FVP list only had 38 tasks as I counted it now. I am very ruthless when it comes to weeding out tasks. But that's just it: my FVP list was constantly under threat of becoming outdated, not to mention chains started from irrelevant tasks when I slack off in weeding or even doing the tasks. That is not the case with "No List" FVP, where I always start my day with a clean slate!

Of course I do still have to weed my "Inventory List", but it does not feel the same as weeding an FVP list.
July 22, 2015 at 8:52 | Registered Commenternuntym
nuntym:

<< Sorry for the sparse replies, I have been sick lately, had enough energy to lurk but not to answer posts >>

I hope you're fully recovered now, and if not that you soon will be!
July 22, 2015 at 10:38 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark and others,

So how is it going using this method? What 'tools' are you using?

I'm thinking a calendar, list for big projects and a big post it note or scrap of paper for the 'no list'.

It would be great to hear feedback...I've been using GSD (getting sh_t done) for about a week, it's a very good system but I have noticed that the (daily) list seems to be growing!
July 22, 2015 at 19:19 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
@Mark Forster

Thanks! I am feeling better :)

--------------------------------------

@Leon

Sounds about right. I am using just my smartphone, so I do not think I can say anything much on using a paper system on this.

I found that NLFVP works better with my smartphone than with vanilla FVP. Just using my celphone also integrates my calendar, FVP, and Inventory list into one slim package, too.

However, expect your notebook sticking to you more often with NLFVP than with vanilla FVP; I find that I look into my list a lot. I also keep on flipping orders of tasks, which is relatively easier electronically than I would imagine on paper and pen.

You may find, as I mentioned above, that with an inventory of big projects it would be better to add big projects one at a time into the "no-list" daily FVP once it is empty instead of adding three to four items at a time in the morning.
July 23, 2015 at 14:19 | Registered Commenternuntym
No other replies here? Does this mean I am the only one using "No List" FVP?

What a shame, this system rocks!
July 31, 2015 at 1:06 | Registered Commenternuntym
Nuntym

"No List" FVP looks like too blunt an instrument for me in my day-to-day activities, but it looks very promising for vacation times. I am about to take a month's vacation and I plan to use it as a trial for that month.

On vacation, I find that when I get into "holiday mode" I tend to just "vegetate". This is fine up to a point, but I do like the feeling that comes with meaningful activities, enriching pursuits and stress-free keeping up with essential chores.

So "No List" may well offer me an escape from the disciplines of "the list" but may still retain enough structure to add to the joys and peace of mind that a vacation ought to be about.
July 31, 2015 at 1:42 | Unregistered Commenterjim
By the way, my plan will involve consulting an inventory of 26 things that I would value doing on vacation, as suggested by Alan Baljeu: "Now, a list of important things that I occasionally look at while doing this no-list thing makes a lot of sense to me."
July 31, 2015 at 1:55 | Unregistered Commenterjim
I've been using questionless FVP, in my Arc-bound unlined notebook, unhacked, since 6/16 - the longest I've ever used a single unhacked task management system ever. That, by the way, is a ringing endorsement for FVP. I cannot say I’ve ever gone 6 months with a single system without hacking it at least 12 ways.

This has held true for my work commitments. I find that FVP does not work for me at home. Applying the ever-reliable DIT audit to the situation, I came to the conclusion that I cannot leave enough discretionary time for FVP'ing my list at home. As such, my home FVP list grows with commitments I haven’t addressed, and then I also have too many commitments! As a father and husband, I want to be there for my wife and two young boys – and I am. They are not the “problem” nor is my effort in being there for them. It’s just the nature of raising two little ones which leaves little discretionary time to pursue an FVP list, and it also results in lots of interruptions and changing priorities. True, FVP is sensitive to changing priorities, but things can change way too quickly for me to consult my FVP list all the time.

So at home I primarily have been using a kind of mental SMEMA. (How does this play into No List FVP? I'm getting there) With Mental SMEMA, I mentally note the thing I'm doing and the next two to four things I intend to do, in the order I intend to do them. When an interruption arises, I re-arrange the next two to four tasks in my mind, but I continue working the first task. This allows me to continue the first task uninterrupted, adjust for changing priorities, and move right into the next task without stopping. Rarely, I will supplant the first and current task for something extra urgent, again rearranging the mental list in my head; but I avoid doing so if at all possible. Basically, what it comes down to, is I ensure that I always know what I’m currently doing, and at least the next two things.

I must stress, that I keep these tasks at the "get the folder out" level. If the tasks get too big, it stops working. For instance "Wash Dishes" might appear on my FVP list, but in mental SMEMA, it's "put away clean dishes, rinse food off of dirty dishes, load dishwasher," which becomes a mantra of "put away, rinse, load - put away, rinse, load" while I work. Upon putting the last clean dish away, my mantra changes to "rinse, load, wipe counter" and so on - like a revolving door of mental mini tasks.

I find this works phenomenally when it comes to "putting out fires". It keeps me focused on immediate action, handles interruption without distracting from the current task, and builds quick and sustainable momentum by eliminating the need to consult a list between tasks. I find it drops me into the Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi "Flow State" so easily it's ridiculous. It is an excellent crank to turn for cranking type tasks which I call "Holders"

"Holders" are reoccurring tasks that you must continually repeat just to break even and "hold your ground" like dishes, laundry, email, and other such routines. Doing them doesn’t advance you anywhere in life, but neglecting them can land you in trouble quickly. "Gainers" are those tasks which you can complete with a reasonable expectation that you will not have to complete them again, thus "gaining ground" in some direction. Doing them will advance you toward whatever goal they support, and neglecting them will keep you right where you are.

So Mental SMEMA rocks the Holders like nobody's business in my experience. But it totally falls apart when it comes to Gainers. I need FVP to keep me on top of my Gainers. But as I said, at home FVP is not so practical for me.

SO! Now finally to the point. It sounds like this No-List FVP could be used mentally, to combine Mental SMEMA with FVP. I could use my standard FVP list to point out the next Gainer task. That Gainer Task could be the beginning of a No-List FVP chain which I would keep in my mind. Theoretically, this would allow me the same level of interruption handling and flexibility as Mental SMEMA, but it may culminate in actually doing a Gainer...

I look forward to trying this out as a mental exercise… I guess this means I haven’t been COMPLETELY hack free for 6 months. But does hacking your mental system really count as hacking? Or is that just “learning?”
November 3, 2015 at 22:08 | Unregistered CommenterMiracle
Thanks, Miracle: if only I'd thought of this 25 years ago...

:0)
November 4, 2015 at 9:41 | Unregistered CommenterWill
I'm not shure, if I understand this correctly. You choose one task plus two to four addtional tasks from your standard fvp list then. Isn't that against the very central rule of FVP (where it differs from FV), to choose one and only one task at a time? That would be no crime, of course, but, man, it would definitely be hacking!

Or have I misunderstood something?

Very nice mental exercise, though.
November 4, 2015 at 11:43 | Unregistered CommenterLaby
Oh no! I've mistook no question FVP for no list FVP. Sorry!
November 4, 2015 at 12:34 | Unregistered CommenterLaby
@ Laby - Wow you just blew my mind. What about a listless AND questionless method? Just thinking about it kind of makes me feel like I'm Icarus and I'm getting warmer.

@ Will - "if only I'd thought of this 25 years ago..." Lol! That's how I feel about everything on this website!

So I tried this mental no-list FVP last evening with mixed results.

It went like this: Before coming home from work in the evening, I chose one Gainer task that I wanted to accomplish before going to bed. We moved to a new house recently, and there are still boxes lying around to unpack, so I chose “Empty 1 box of books.” This is a Gainer Move because I can reasonably expect that having emptied the box, I won’t have to empty it again. When I got home, I took that task, and said:

“I’ve decided to empty 1 box of book but before that, I need to…”
“Choose which box of books to empty. But before that I need to…”
“Change out of my work clothes. But before that I need to…”
“Take out the garbage. But before that I need to…”
“Nothing.”

So I took out the garbage. As I worked, I talked with my wife about the day, and listened to my boys about theirs. And of course, things began to come up. Before X, I needed to… Help my son with his math homework, do some vegetable prep for the Miracle Family Master Chef, my wife (she’s the culinary artist, and I’m just good with knives), speak with the neighbor about the neighborhood watch thing we’re setting up, squash a bug in the bathroom, usher my boys through the actions they needed to take, and several other things. None of these other things had been planned, and I just addressed them as they came up. I finally did get to unload a box of books, literally last thing before starting my “getting ready for bed” routines. To be fair, this one box represents more progress on the “unpacking” task than I had made in the previous week. So… Success!

Two things about Mental No-List FVP became immediately apparent:

First, as Mark stated in the original FVP rules, I have to accept the fact that I may never get to the root Gainer task – I almost didn’t get to it last evening at all; I only got to it because it wasn’t all that ambitious of a task anyway. That being said, it did BIAS my actions in the general direction of my root Gainer task. This represents a definite improvement on Mental SMEMA alone which merely reacts to what’s going on around me.

Second, I can't mentally think of the list in reverse order. For example, after going through the mental exercise above and coming up with “Take out the garbage” as the next step, No-List FVP would state it:

Empty box of books
Choose box of books
Change clothes
Empty garbage

…and work it in reverse order. After going through the mental exercise and coming up with those 4 tasks, my mind put them in order like with Mental SMEMA:

Empty garbage
Change clothes
Choose box of books
Empty box of books

It seems that the mind can read a list backwards, but it must think in sequence. Perhaps brains just work that way, or perhaps I’ve just conditioned my brain all these months using Mental SMEMA. So basically, while Mental No-List FVP did an excellent job breaking down my goal into a sequence of “Get the Folder Out” actions, I couldn’t help but feed those actions back into Mental SMEMA. Not that this is a bad thing – just noteworthy.

So after this one trial, I’ve come to the following conclusion: Mental No-List FVP works best as a mental planning method. It required that I keep coming back to that root task “Empty 1 box of books,” break it down in light of the continually changing circumstances, and persistently re-insert its constituent actions onto my Mental SMEMA conveyor belt. The method that actually did best at directing my actions and adjusting to circumstance, was still Mental SMEMA.

I’m going to begin an extended trial mentally using the No-List FVP algorithm to feed my Mental SMEMA list.

…And as a side note: I’ve come up with a simpler way of stating the Mental SMEMA rules:

A: Break everything down to minute “Get the Folder Out” sized actions. (I would now add to this, the best way to ensure progress toward accomplishing your Gainers is to use the FVP algorithm to mentally decompose your Gainers into their constituent actions)
B: Always keep in mind your current action, and the next 2-4 actions in the order in which you intend to do them. (I find it helps to reduce the wording of the actions to their barest and repeating them in your head as a mantra. See the example in my previous post where I reduced three actions to a mantra of “put away, rinse, load… put away, rinse, load…”)
C: Change or rearrange the actions and their order as needed. (But as far as is reasonable, avoid changing your current action. I find that if I choose only my current action and the next 2, then I have room for 2 more unexpected actions that might pop up)
November 4, 2015 at 15:27 | Unregistered CommenterMiracle
Psh. So basically, my findings, even though done mentally rather than written, totally support point # 2 in Mark's original post. Mark said it first.

So, yup - that confirms it. Mark's always a step or two ahead. ;-)
November 4, 2015 at 16:38 | Unregistered CommenterMiracle
The official question is:

"Is there anything I want to do first?"

I found more effective:

"Is there anything I want to finish first?"
August 11, 2016 at 11:25 | Unregistered Commenternick61
nick61:

My personal favorite is:

"But first..."
August 14, 2016 at 21:13 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
I've found in practice that the following "questions" work best for me:

For standard FVP and FV:
"But right now..."

For No-List FVP:
"But first..."

They both serve to dramatically speed up the selection process while cutting mental friction. One works best with a pre-existing list and the other works best for producing a list.
August 24, 2016 at 1:35 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
In fact I don't usually bother to use a question at all with any of them. I guess my mind knows by now what I mean without having to be told!
August 24, 2016 at 9:00 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I don't know if it's just me, but I find myself procrastinating like crazy with this method
November 11, 2016 at 22:05 | Unregistered Commenterjames220
I found that, too. I find the same thing with any of the systems that don't "let" me write out everything on my mind. Or maybe I should say, I don't do well with systems unless they help me get stuff out of my head so I can think. That's just the way my mind works.

Whenever a system blocks my natural way of thinking, I find myself resisting the system itself, which leads to procrastination. The system isn't working, so I "wing it", and that just leads to drifting aimlessly.
November 12, 2016 at 7:33 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
@Mark:
"The little commitments tend to be things that become routines when you are using a "no list" system. In fact the way in which "no list" systems encourage the development of routines is one of the primary reasons for using them."

What do you mean by this?

A heads-up. I am experimenting consistently with NL-FVP for the past 8 days - resistance being my primary cause of procrastination.
November 18, 2016 at 10:39 | Unregistered CommenterSathyan
Sathyan:

<< What do you mean by this? >>

You've been using a no list system (NL-FVP) for the past 8 days. Haven't you found that you tend to do some recurring tasks in much the same order each day?
November 18, 2016 at 21:12 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Mark:

< Haven't you found that you tend to do some recurring tasks in much the same order each day?>

There is recurring project time blocks, not tasks themselves. So evidently no recurring tasks are there. The only routine that is stuck are my morning & evening tea breaks and a lunch break.

So my question, I hope still holds I guess.

To extrapolate, are you then meaning that NL-FVP automatically fosters routine building?
November 19, 2016 at 17:30 | Unregistered CommenterSathya
Sathya:

<< are you then meaning that NL-FVP automatically fosters routine building? >>

I've been using "The Next Hour" rather than NL-FVP recently, but they have much the same effect.

So yes, I find that for instance necessary administrative tasks fall naturally into the same sequence each morning, I tend to do longer projects later in the morning when all the small stuff has been cleared out of the way. I do preparatory work in the late afternoon. In the evening I will read and/or watch a movie. Those are just examples. I haven't consciously planned those timings but I find I naturally fall into them.
November 20, 2016 at 8:00 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Seraphim

<<I find the same thing with any of the systems that don't "let" me write out everything on my mind. Or maybe I should say, I don't do well with systems unless they help me get stuff out of my head so I can think.>>

When starting with NL-FVP, this was my biggest concern too. But after experimenting with NL-FVP for so long, I couldn't get back to a list-based system though I tried desperately.

What I found useful was that I had an 'alternate' route to let my mind empty. I use freewriting - either narrative or list form to help my head clear out. That done, I get on with my NL-FVP task engagement process.

I feel that one of the chief selling point of David Allen's system was this 'mind sweeping' or 'brain dumping' process. Like me, I'm guessing people often confuse this with actually getting things done.

For me separating the two processes is helping.

I use the brain dumping to get my head clear. I strictly don't use this list to feed my task engagement process - a conventional approach for most of the productivity systems out there.

While, I use the NL-FVP to actually get things done, because it simply reduces the resistant to the task at hand.
http://sathyawrites.com/10-reasons-no-list-system/

@Mark: I've been saying this other place as well. I think there is something so simple, yet remarkable with the no-list system. I hope you will write about this more.
December 16, 2016 at 8:38 | Unregistered CommenterSathya1
Sathya

Thanks. I've been using The Next Hour as my system recently which I find suits the ups-and-downs of my present life circumstances very well. I hope to be writing more about No List systems sometime, but I've got other priorities right at this moment.
December 16, 2016 at 9:12 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Sathya,

<< I use freewriting - either narrative or list form to help my head clear out. That done, I get on with my NL-FVP task engagement process. >>

Interesting, that's kind of what I've been doing. I write out my no-list brainstorm, but if it gets too long, then I just start over and write a shorter one. I treat all these lists as "brainstorms", not "to-do lists" or backlogs.
December 16, 2016 at 17:29 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Satyam 1 said:

"When starting with NL-FVP, this was my biggest concern too. But after experimenting with NL-FVP for so long, I couldn't get back to a list-based system though I tried desperately."

Yes, that's been my experience, too. No-List feels completely natural to me now, after using it regularly these last few months. The thought of placing my neck back under the yoke of a to-do list now feels too daunting to contemplate!
December 22, 2016 at 1:32 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C
I've had great success with paper notebook No-List FVP in almost every area:

-- no daily backlog buildup,
-- no procrastination,
-- routines naturally handled,
-- easily handling an urgent item added to the bottom of the list,
-- not doing things unless I write them down first forcing conscious breaks rather than just drifting into messing around,
-- actually building a list through the day of things I've done rather than things I hope to get done but probably won't.

Where I struggle and haven't found a simple solution is for two related things:

-- little and often, where I work on something and then want to rewrite it on the list for later,
-- something I think of that needs to be done soon, but definitely not before the the current thing I've decided I want to do first.

If I write either of these items on the bottom, I feel like I'm saying THEY are now what I want to do first. It's like they incorrectly jumped ahead. If however I simply write them down, continue with the task I was currently doing, and then ask the question when I'm done with that task, I end up looking back up the list to compare the new item to the other things I had already written down earlier. It all falls apart because I usually see something up the list which is what I really want to do now.

Can anyone think of a simple solution? Just write them down to capture for action later in the day, then compare with the higher up items, and rewrite the one that I want to do first? Seems like a clunky way to approach this, but I think it does technically follow the rules.
December 29, 2016 at 20:06 | Unregistered CommenterScott Moehring