My Latest Book

Product Details

Also available on,, and other Amazons and bookshops worldwide! 

To Think About . . .
An economist is someone who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it could work in theory. Ronald Reagan
My Other Books

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Click to order other recommended books.

Find Us on Facebook Badge

Search This Site

FV and FVP Forum > DIT with FVP Override

I had a brainstorm for a new system that dynamically changes between DIT and FVP (or Fast FVP) depending on the circumstances.

I don't intend to test or use this system right now, since I'm more engaged with my DIT/TOC method, and we're currently going through the Lenten Challenge ( )

But I wanted to write it out while it was fresh in my mind. This idea was sparked by some of the Progress Report discussion for the Lenten Challenge ( ).

Start with DIT. Work as normal unless you get behind (defined in the usual way as unfinished tasks lingering for 3 days or more). You are presumably behind because of some kind of emergency or unusual situation. (Perhaps the emergency is that you are chronically overcommitted?)

If you get behind, then switch to FVP (or Fast-FVP if you prefer):
1. Stop the DIT cadence of current initiative followed by the daily tasks and task diary. Your current initiative is "the emergency", and you should focus most of your time on it, using FVP.
2. Treat the existing pages of tasks as your FVP list. Dot the first unfinished task and work as usual according to FVP rules. Enter new tasks as per normal FVP rules, i.e., at the end of the list. If you are using a dated journal, don't pay attention to the dates on the page.

Switch back to DIT when the situation has normalized. How to tell if the situation has normalized? At the end of the day, check what pages you worked on. Were you always working in the last two pages of the list? Then you are probably still in emergency mode. Carry on with FVP. But if you've started to work in earlier pages of your FVP list, you should consider going back to DIT:
1. Starting tomorrow, go back to the normal DIT practice of working on your current initiative as your first order of business. If you balk at this because you still feel the time pressure of the emergency, you can carry on with FVP. But it's probably good to pause and ask yourself whether that's really necessary.
2. Use your current initiative time to do the following:
- Review your old "daily tasks" list, and bring it up-to-date if needed.
- Declare a backlog as follows.
- Draw a heavy line at the end of yesterday's page. Review all the unfinished tasks in your list from before today. Highlight things you need to do to wrap up the emergency and re-establish normalcy. Highlight also the most pressing things that have been neglected during the emergency. All these highlighted items are your backlog. Ignore all the other old unfinished tasks in your task diary (i.e. everything else before the heavy line).
- Set aside your backlogged email in a separate backlog folder. Same with paper.
- Clearing this backlog of emails, paper, and highlighted items is your current initiative until it's done.
3. Go back to the normal DIT routines: start the day with your current initiative; work your daily tasks and task diary; enter new tasks on tomorrow's page, etc.
March 5, 2017 at 1:27 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim, I just read this post of yours on combined DIT and (F)FVP - I assume that you have moved on from this, seeing that you have more recent posts suggesting your use of other systems? Can you comment on your overall experience with this? Thanks!
April 8, 2018 at 10:01 | Unregistered CommenterBernard
Hi Bernard,

I completely forgot I'd ever written that! But it's very interesting you've stumbled across this just now.

For the last month or so I've been taking a more flexible approach, just using a dated notebook, and using different tactics that seem appropriate, rather than trying to follow any particular set of rules.

The interesting thing is that it's been working out very similar to what I wrote above, but somehow without all the rules. :-)

What I'm doing now has a similar feel to DIT, but not quite so structured:
+ I generally write new items on tomorrow's page -- or some other time in the future when I want to be reminded.
+ I generally work from today's page.
+ There are a handful of recurring items that would appear on the daily Will Do list in normal DIT. But I just enter them in the task diary. Making them into a Will Do list seems to give them too much importance -- I find myself more motivated to bring to perfection the work on that Will Do checklist, than to do the more impactful "initiative" type work. So I don't use a Will Do list. And it seems to be fine.
+ If I work on an item for a while and stop before finishing, I normally re-enter it at the end of today's list. But if I feel I've done enough for the day, then I re-enter it on tomorrow's list (or some other future date). Sometimes, if I feel the item will come back by itself, I don't bother re-entering it.
+ If there are many leftover items from previous days, I'll scan through them, trying to weed and delete. If something "stands out" then I'll either get it done immediately, or copy it to today's page, or maybe to a future page where I want to be reminded of it. In theory, I suppose this is risky behavior -- I could repeatedly defer items to the future and never take any action, and build up backlogs like that. But it usually doesn't work out that way. I just like to follow my intuition. If it feels like I need to make it easier to find the task, but not actually work on it now, I just accept that and re-enter the task wherever it seems to make the most sense to re-enter it. When I see the task again, it's either ready to be done, or has gone stale and can be deleted, or maybe it needs to be re-entered in the future again.
+ Often (usually?) I'll process the active items with the FFVP algorithm. Sometimes I'll use it only on today's list (ignoring any active items from older pages). Sometimes I'll use it with all active tasks. Whatever seems to be needed at the moment.
+ I really like the paper notebook. It always feels "grounding" to use paper. It has a natural calming and focusing effect, and allows me to be very flexible with side lists, notes, scribbles, etc.

None of these are "rules" -- it's just what I am doing naturally without really thinking about it.

Sometimes I go "no list" for a time. Works fine. I just use today's page, or maybe a whiteboard or something. Actually it seems to integrate pretty seamlessly into the overall DIT/FFVP model. I can return to DIT/FFVP whenever I want. It just happens naturally.

I still use TOC to think about where to focus. Sometimes I do that completely off-list.

Anyway, my intention is to stop spending so much time fretting over whether I have the "best" or "optimal" system. I've come to suspect that it's trying to be more accurate than the noise. Almost nothing really needs perfect prioritization, perfect alignment of motivation & ability & etc. Basic core principles and habits, and a clear idea of where to focus, seem to be far more important in the long run. A good system (read: any of Mark's systems) will teach you better habits if you let them -- but I guess I've found that, once I've learned the habit, the system can actually get in the way and become a source of resistance.

One of the best principles it only took me 50 years to learn is just to get stuff done immediately -- DONE, not just moved forward -- whenever possible. Otherwise it piles up as WIP and clogs up everything. A side benefit is it never needs to be written down at all -- no need to track, remind, prioritize, defer, or anything.

Anyway it all seems to be working pretty well. I guess the best sign of that is I barely ever think about the mechanics of the system, and I'm generally pretty happy with what's getting done. And I just feel a lot calmer.
April 10, 2018 at 23:56 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Thanks for the thorough response, Seraphim. I always enjoy reading your posts, as I find them to be very insightful.

Sounds like you have developed a nice Intuitive DIT workflow (I-DIT, or maybe with some creative acronym development, something like I-DID-IT!).

I can appreciate the statement of getting stuff done, and not just moved forward - this approach definitely becomes doable if you can successfully break down complex projects into doable bite-sized chunks with a "Done" state clearly defined. This brings to mind the images I have of the HBO Silicon Valley show in which Pied Piper coders go through their huge Scrum Post-it note backlog, but with only a few Post-It notes categorized as "In progress".
April 14, 2018 at 18:09 | Unregistered CommenterBernard