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FV and FVP Forum > Reverse FVP

As I've mentioned elsewhere I've started an experiment with reversing the direction of FVP. Instead of scanning forward and then working backward, I'm scanning backward and then working forward.

This is done with one "current initiative" which acts as the root task. The current initiative can be selected from any part of the list, and is dotted as the first task in the chain. Scanning backwards through the list then takes place in the same way as FVP but in the opposite direction. Once some work has been done on the current initiative, it is crossed out and re-entered with a dot at the end of the list. This procedure is repeated until the current initiative is finished.

When work on the current initiative has been finished, another current initiative is chosen and the same procedure followed.

I've only been doing this for a bit over a day, but the results so far are really excellent. I'm already on my third current initiative - these are things which have been hanging around for months!

I'll write at more length (perhaps in a blog post) in due course of time, but I'd encourage anyone who feels like having a go at it to do so. I think you'll find the results very interesting.
December 19, 2015 at 21:25 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
This sounds really intriguing and I may give a go myself. Please let us know how it continues to work out for you!
December 21, 2015 at 3:27 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
I'm giving Reverse FVP a try. Currently I'm still having to make an effort to reverse my downward-scanning habit into an upward-scanning one, but that'll soon be a reflex.

More seriously, I'm a little troubled by how to work newly arrived urgent tasks into the algorithm. In FVP they're placed at the bottom of the list, and they're scanned as soon as a single task from the selection has been done. That should be soon enough. But in RFVP they're not scanned until the whole current selection has been worked on, back down to the current initiative. That can take an indefinite amount of time.

So the algorithm itself doesn't seem to guarantee that something that's same-day urgent will be reached in time.
December 21, 2015 at 16:39 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
Seraphim and Chris:

I've been working a bit more on this (as well as with it) and my current method of doing it is that, Instead of selecting a "current initiative", I use the first active task on the list. I cross it out and re-enter it at the end of the list with a dot, and it then is worked as "current initiative" as described above.

Chris raises the point about really urgent tasks. The easy answer is to enter them at the beginning of the list (you can leave a blank page, column or piece of paper specially for this). I haven't actually tried this yet myself, but it should work fine. If one of them becomes the current initiative as the result of doing this, that's probably all to the good.
December 21, 2015 at 16:46 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Just wondering if I have this right.

Here's my list:

Buy Christmas presents
Wash dishes
Get ready for work
Plan anniversary dinner
Make a dentist appointment
Take a nap
Pack for trip up north
Work on resume
Clean up apartment
Write for 10 minutes

First thing I do is dot the top item as in normal FVP:

*Buy Christmas presents
Wash dishes
Get ready for work
Plan anniversary dinner
Make a dentist appointment
Take a nap
Pack for trip up north
Work on resume
Clean up apartment
Write for 10 minutes

Now I start scanning from "Write for 10 minutes" going up. If I get the urge to dot something or it stands out, I dot it and begin working on it...

*Buy Christmas presents
Wash dishes
Get ready for work
Plan anniversary dinner
Make a dentist appointment
Take a nap
Pack for trip up north
*Work on resume
Clean up apartment
Write for 10 minutes

I can add stuff to the list at any time, but I'll continue working on the farthest down "dotted" task:

*Buy Christmas presents
Wash dishes
Get ready for work
Plan anniversary dinner
Make a dentist appointment
Take a nap
Pack for trip up north
*Work on resume (I'M WORKING ON THIS)
Clean up apartment
Write for 10 minutes
Pick up friend from the airport (I JUST ADDED THIS)
Call back lawyer (I JUST ADDED THIS)
Read an article about resume do's and don'ts (I JUST ADDED THIS)

Now I feel like I've worked on the resume enough so I'm going to cross it off and rewrite it at the bottom of the list, rewording it a bit to reflect it's new status:

*Buy Christmas presents
Wash dishes
Get ready for work
Plan anniversary dinner
Make a dentist appointment
Take a nap
Pack for trip up north
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Clean up apartment
Write for 10 minutes
Pick up friend from the airport
Call back lawyer
Read an article about resume do's and don'ts
Finish resume

At this point, I scan again from the bottom item (Finish resume) going up and dot the first thing I see that stands out just like before and work on it immediately.

*Buy Christmas presents
Wash dishes
Get ready for work
Plan anniversary dinner
*Make a dentist appointment (I'M WORKING ON THIS NOW)
Take a nap
Pack for trip up north
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Clean up apartment
Write for 10 minutes
Pick up friend from the airport
Call back lawyer
Read an article about resume do's and don'ts
Finish resume

Now I'm making a dentist appointment.

So, is this the same reverse FVP you're trying? I'm going to try it with random numbers versus questionless FVP on a sheet of paper and compare them.
December 21, 2015 at 21:22 | Unregistered CommenterJesse
I had a productive day using the current initiative approach yesterday, it helped me to focus and I cleared 2 important but long standing current initiatives actually. I'd like to continue with it.

I note Chris' and Mark points re urgent tasks. I experienced a bit of friction with this myself. I wonder if it would be simpler to always scan and always work downwards from the current initiative? (One would loop around from the bottom of the list back to the start of it).

The above would mean that urgent items are scanned early and could be actions do efficiently.
December 22, 2015 at 7:11 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Sorry, should read....'the above would mean that urgent items are scanned early and could be actioned efficiently'.
December 22, 2015 at 7:15 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Jesse:

No, you cross out "Buy Christmas Presents" and re-enter it at the end of the list with a dot.

Everything is then done in the same way as Standard FVP but in reverse, i.e. instead of scanning forward and working backward, you scan backward and work forward.

When you've finished work on "Buy Christmas Presents", you take the first active task on the list, cross it out and enter it at the end of the list with a dot.
December 22, 2015 at 13:13 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Leon:

I can't follow your description at all.

If you put urgent tasks at the beginning of the list, as I suggested, then they will be the first tasks to be actioned. The rule in Reverse FVP is "scan back" (which will take you to the new task(s) at the beginning of the list) and "action forward" (the new task(s) you've just dotted will be the first you action).
December 22, 2015 at 13:18 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark, sorry my suggestion is not clear...I do struggle sometimes I'm afraid!

I may have actually misunderstood your suggestion of how to do this 'reverse' method, so that complicates things needlessly!

I possibly jumped to a conclusion that one scans upwards from the (dotted) Current Initiative that has been re-entered at the end of the list. This created a difficulty (for me) in that urgent items that come in and are written under the (dotted) Current Initiative cannot quickly be reached because one would scan upwards only. I hope that makes sense?

I don't think I will try to clarify it any further because it's probably too laborious to do anyway.

Anyway, if I do what I think you might have meant i.e. scan upwards from the LAST / most recent item on the list (not from the Current Initiative) then any urgent items will be picked up anyway. Am I on the right lines?
December 22, 2015 at 17:42 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Leon:

I'm still not clear what you mean... but what I mean is that, instead of writing urgent items at the end of the list where they have to wait their turn along with everything else, you could write them at the beginning of the list where they will be picked up immediately.

Example:

In the normal course of things when a new task comes in you add it to the end of the list. So you have:

Task
Task
Task
[...]
Task
Task
New Task
Newer Task
Even Newer Task

But if an Urgent Task comes in I am suggesting that instead of adding it to the end of the list you add it to the beginning of the list:

Urgent Task
Task
Task
Task
[...]
Task
Task
New Task
Newer Task
Even Newer Task

Wherever in the list you are scanning from the Urgent Task will then be the next task you work on.

If this still doesn't make sense to you then re-read my instructions for Reverse FVP at the beginning of this thread.
December 22, 2015 at 21:34 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I'm going back to the "current initiative" as described in the my first post in this thread. Using the first task on the list proved to be a bit of a disappointment.
December 22, 2015 at 21:49 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark,

Thanks you for taking the time - your explanation certainly makes sense!

< (you can leave a blank page, column or piece of paper specially for this). > I understand this fix also, but not sure if it would work for me. I guess getting urgent tasks in at the beginning of an electronic list could be quite easy.

< I'm going back to the "current initiative" as described in the my first post in this thread. Using the first task on the list proved to be a bit of a disappointment. >

I concur with the above, I feel it works better.

Seasons greetings by the way!
December 23, 2015 at 8:58 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Hi Mark - I've been trying Reverse FVP today (as described in your original post at the top of this thread). I have a question.

With my own Current Initiative tweak, the first thing I'd do, after selecting my Current Initiative, would be to think, "what do I need to do to get this done?" and write it all down as the next items on my FVP list.

This didn't work with Reverse FVP, because I'd write all those things down at the end of my list, but the algorithm would take me in exactly the opposite direction! :-)

So then I tried your Dynamic List idea (as you suggested here at http://markforster.squarespace.com/fv-forum/post/2560976#post2561011 , and described in the "Sowing Seeds" chapter (ch. 31) of your new book): I would just take a stickie note, and write down all the things I wanted to get done with the current initiative. And then bang through that list. Or maybe sketch it out on my white board, and work from there. When I got the initiative done, I'd just throw away the note. (So far, I've stuck with each current initiative till it got done -- which is pretty amazing actually. But I'm not sure what I'd do with the note if I decided to stop before finishing. I guess I'd just set the note aside.)

Using a side note actually seems to work pretty well. It keeps my FVP list lighter/nimbler, and just feels more alive/engaging. It also seems to make me want just to get it done!

But I'm wondering how you handle this.

Thanks!!
December 29, 2015 at 21:43 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

I use a dynamic list, yes. And if the current initiative doesn't get finished first time through, I'd just put the list to one side and come back to it when it's current initiative time again.
December 30, 2015 at 15:57 | Registered CommenterMark Forster