News from The Time Freedom Coach

15/03/2013 22:18

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ March 13th, 2012 in this issue Introduction The FV Algorithm A Longer Example Additional Tips Why it Works Yet to Come Introduction ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here are the long-awaited instructions for the Final Version (FV) time management system. I don't know if it's the best time management system ever devised. What I do know is that it is the best time management system that I have ever used myself. It's shown itself to be resilient, responsive and very quick. FV is based on my earlier time management systems, particularly the extensive range of AutoFocus and SuperFocus systems developed over the last three years. These were unique in that they were constantly developing with the assistance of a large band of commenters on my web-site. Anyone who has tried one or more of these systems will recognize the strong family resemblance that they have with FV. The most striking resemblance is that they are all based on one long list (either paper or electronic) which can be used to capture just about every possible action that springs into one's mind. There is a minimum of special markings or annotations. Such a list depends on an effective algorithm to process it. There are three main requirements which have to be kept in balance. These are urgency, importance and psychological readiness. Traditional time management systems have tended to concentrate on the first two of these. The neglect of psychological readiness is probably the reason that most people don't find time management systems particularly effective or congenial. The most distinctive feature of FV is the way that its algorithm is primarily based on psychological readiness - this then opens the way to keeping urgency and importance in the best achievable balance.

The FV Algorithm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Anyone who has followed the discussions on my website will recognize that the FV algorithm is loosely based on two powerful methods of making a decision, "structured procrastination" and Colley's rule. I don't intend to go into either of these now as an understanding of them is not relevant to the finished algorithm, but anyone who wants to know more about them can google them. The FV algorithm uses the question "What do I want to do before I do x?" to preselect a chain of tasks from the list. What exactly is meant by "want" in this context is deliberately left undefined. There may be a whole variety of reasons why you might want to do one thing before another thing and all of them are valid. The chain always starts with the first unactioned task on the list. Mark this task with a dot to show that it's now been preselected. Don't take any action on the task at this stage.

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The question therefore changes to "What do I want to do before I check email?" As you continue through the list you might come to Tidy Desk and decide you want to do that before checking email. Of course if you do finish the task that's great. The answer to this is probably "nothing". Note that as in all my systems. Everything else is further examples and explanation. then that becomes the benchmark.e. i. Write report.com/fs004/1100358239599/archiv. This task is now selected by marking it with a dot and it becomes the benchmark for the next task. Check email. A Longer Example ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In this example for ease of understanding no new tasks are added while working on the list. This of course is unlikely in real life. so you have now finished your preselection. but if you don't then all you have to do is re-enter the task at the end of the list. preselect another chain of tasks starting again from the first unactioned task on the list. 2 of 6 . you don't have to finish the task .only do some work on it. Once you have taken action on all the preselected tasks.News from The Time Freedom Coach 15/03/2013 22:18 This task then becomes the benchmark from which the next task is selected. For example. That's it! You're now ready to go. the question becomes "What do I want to do before I write the report?" You move through the list in order until you come to a task which you want to do before writing the report. Tidy desk. and change the question to "What do I want to do before tidying my desk?".constantcontact. Your initial list of tasks: Email In-Tray Voicemail Project X Report Tidy Desk Call Dissatisfied Customer Make Dental Appointment File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob Back Up Put a dot in front of the first task: · Email In-Tray Voicemail Project X Report Tidy Desk Call Dissatisfied Customer Make Dental Appointment File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob http://archive.. if the first task on the list is "Write Report". If the first task you come to which you want to do before writing the report is "Check Email". The preselected tasks in the example are: Write report Check email Tidy desk Do these in reverse order. Select this in the same way by marking it with a dot..

Put a dot in front of it. In-Tray.. · Email In-Tray · Voicemail Project X Report Tidy Desk Call Dissatisfied Customer Make Dental Appointment File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob Back Up Now ask yourself " What do I want to do before I do Voicemail?" You decide you want to tidy your desk. · Email In-Tray · Voicemail Project X Report · Tidy Desk Call Dissatisfied Customer Make Dental Appointment File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob Back Up There are no tasks you want to do before tidying your desk..News from The Time Freedom Coach 15/03/2013 22:18 Back Up Now ask yourself " What do I want to do before I do Email?" You work down the list and come to Voicemail. The only task you want to do before In-Tray is Back Up. so now take action on the dotted tasks in reverse order: Tidy Desk Voicemail Email Your list will now look like this (I've removed the tasks that have been actioned but if you are using paper they will still be on the page but crossed out): In-Tray Project X Report Call Dissatisfied Customer Make Dental Appointment File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob Back Up Now start again with the first unactioned task on the list. You decide you want to do Voicemail before doing Email. 3 of 6 . and repeat the same procedure.com/fs004/1100358239599/archiv. As this is the last task on the list there are only two dotted tasks: · In-Tray Project X Report Call Dissatisfied Customer Make Dental Appointment File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob · Back Up http://archive.constantcontact.

My advice is to start off with the tasks and projects that are of immediate concern to you right now. but at this stage you aren't. FV is pretty resilient. Project X Report) or you are reluctant to do them (e. Each of the root tasks is preceded by a short ladder of tasks which are in the order in which you want to do them.g. The number and difficulty of the tasks in the ladder tend to reflect the difficulty of the root tasks. and then add more as they come up in the natural course of things. So the tasks on the original list have been done in the following order.g.. make a dental appointment and make a start on the Project X Report.g. but the Project X Report is something that you have been putting off doing for a long time.News from The Time Freedom Coach 15/03/2013 22:18 Do the two dotted tasks in reverse order: Back Up In-Tray So the list now looks like this: Project X Report Call Dissatisfied Customer Make Dental Appointment File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob So far the tasks have been relatively trivial. So build up the list gradually. urgency or any other factor. regardless of importance. 4 of 6 .com/fs004/1100358239599/archiv.. The root tasks (the ones in italics) have been done in strict list order.constantcontact. Email) and some are relatively difficult (e. Make Dental Appointment Project X Report Discuss Project Y with Bob Call Dissatisfied Customer Notice what has happened here. In your final pass through the list you Discuss Project Y with Bob and Call Dissatisfied Customer. So repeat the procedure: · Project X Report Call Dissatisfied Customer · Make Dental Appointment · File Invoices Discuss Project Y with Bob You now file your invoices. Some of them are relatively easy (e. Additional Tips ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The best way to sink any time management system is to overload it right at the beginning. Call Dissatisfied Customer). Tidy Desk Voicemail Email Back Up In-Tray File Invoices. The tasks in italics are the ones at the beginning of each scanning process. http://archive.

constantcontact. Yet to Come ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This issue of the newsletter describes only the mechanics of the system. Importance.News from The Time Freedom Coach 15/03/2013 22:18 Tasks can be added at any level. Plan Restructuring..g. then cross it out and re-enter it at the end of the list. This colours the whole preselected list so that even the first task. This is where FV really enters new dimensions. Use the next task as your starting benchmark. If you find that your preselected list is no longer relevant (e. http://archive.g. importance and psychological readiness. wrong time of day. 5 of 6 . If something already on the list becomes very urgent. But this isn't all. gets affected. Why It Works ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At the beginning of this newsletter I said there were three factors which every time management system needs to address: urgency. write them at the end of the list and mark them with a dot so that they are done next. If things come up that are particularly urgent they can be added to the preselected list at any time. which you may not have wanted to do at all. e. then move it to the end of the list and mark it with a dot in the same way. If the first task on the list can't be done now for some valid reason (e. bad weather). Call Pete. etc. If at any stage you find that a task on the list is no longer relevant. urgent tasks tend to get selected . then delete it. Let's see how FV deals with each of these. Tidy Desk. The selection process is based on what you want to do. In future issues I want to deal with such topics as: How to run projects Using the Little and Often principle FV in action How to use FV to best effect etc. However try to keep this to a minimum . Remember that the aim of any time management system is to help you to get your work done. Urgency. Project X. By using a pre-selection process. In addition. doing the list in reverse order. then scrap the preselection and reselect from the beginning.. This is particularly the case when the important stuff is difficult.com/fs004/1100358239599/archiv. However the FV preselection process ensures that tasks towards the beginning of the list are given as much attention as tasks towards the end of the list. with the least wanted task last. Because of the nature of the preselection process. uses structured procrastination to get the tasks done. the brain is softened up towards the selected tasks.g. A shorter way to do this is to reselect only from the last preselected task which you haven't done yet. And most important of all a program of teleconferences and seminars so you can really get the best out of what FV has to offer. precondition not met.generally speaking the human brain wants to do things that it knows are urgent. Generally speaking the human brain is a bit less keen on doing important stuff than it is on doing urgent stuff. not get in the way of doing your work. If one or more very urgent things come up.stick to the rules whenever possible as they will ensure you deal with your work in a systematic way. Psychological Readiness. if you have had a long break away from the list). So don't be afraid to adjust priorities if you need to.

constantcontact..com/fs004/1100358239599/archiv....News from The Time Freedom Coach 15/03/2013 22:18 Quick Links. 6 of 6 . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Website My Blog Discussion Forum http://archive.