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Author Topic: Suggest Questions for our interview w/ Mark Forster (Do It Tomorrow Author)  (Read 22461 times)
urlwolf
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« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2006, 05:27:49 AM »

Thanks, brownstudy, you really know well all this time management literature.
Some more thinking outloud trying to come up with good questions.
Sorry for the scketchy nature of the writting...

There are several interrelated areas:
  • Difference between having long-term projects (by definition, unfinished) and having a backlog
  • Difference between checklists and todo lists
  • Place for maybe-one-day items?
  • If we do a brain dump, some stuff would be really low priority, and it'll stay floating on a lists for a long time without being actioned. Is that a bad thing?
  • Dangerous combination: the brain dump of GTD produces trillions of tasks, and the 'no priorizing' approach of GED tries to do them all (believing that the important stuff will get too clogged if the small stuff is unactioned).
   

After reading http://www.lifehack.org/a...td-try-wntgd-instead.html
Important problem: the cost of maintaining the system
      "without effective project-priority I wouldn’t recommend GTD to ANYONE. You risk getting dragged down by the enormous job of maintaining the system."
   
      - Jens Poder
   
      I add more tasks than I actually complete in a day. That means that my tasks will be probably unmanageable at some point. Long lists like that must be pruned, otherwise the  weekly review won't be efficient.
      
      This is a common issue:
      "a huge problem with particular implementations of GTD. People build up monster actions lists that are difficult to review and revise."
   

So... it looks like combining GTD and Forster's ideas may be dangerous.
How do we ask Forster about this? As you see, I have trouble formulating questions...
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mouser
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« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2006, 06:43:08 AM »

It's clear to be that Forster has thought a lot about overcoming resistance.  This has come up in other forms in other threads when talking about "discipline".  I'm really anxious to hear Forster talk more about this, and tricks and techniques for actually getting your brain to work on whatever your rational mind has decided to be worked on.

I think it would be very useful to try to talk with him about ideas for software that might help these things.  Things like April's InstantBoss and other utilities to help with the Little and Often ideas.  It would be nice just to brainstorm with Mark during the interview about possible software tools that could help with this stuff.
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brownstudy
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« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2006, 09:04:27 PM »

it IS encouraging to hear that you've get a system going for so long - can i ask, are you a 'disciplined' kind of person anyway? i mean, have you always been quite capable of sticking to things that need returning to time and time again?

i ask this as i think the majority of us are just starting out with these time-management methods, so you are one of the few that has been doing things for more than a couple of weeks - you are an example that proves it can be done.

HA  Grin I think the reason I'm a junkie of this literature is because I feel so often disorganized, and was, for many years. No one really teaches you this stuff unless you pay for a seminar or are in a corporate setting where someone else pays for it.

No, I don't think of myself as disciplined by any stretch of the imagination. Ask my old Spanish teacher, my old piano teacher, my old drawing teacher, etc.

The trick is I'm a little more organized than the people around me, and so THEY think I'm super-organized, when the truth is that I struggle as much as anyone else. (Tip: The Waiting On folder in your email will make you seem fearsomely organized, when all you're doing is just checking the folder for reminders of things that other people said they would do for you.)

For example, the tools and techniques I employ at the office I sometimes discard when I get home. Who knows why? I think I kind of want to be a little messier at home, to make up for my button-down attitude at work. Also, frankly, I don't NEED to be as organized at home as I am at work.

The key to time/task/self mgmt, as with exercise and diet, is consistency. Keep your system going long enough to see where the flaws where and then correct them. One problem we have, besides a love of the fiddle-factor, is that we're trying to create the perfect system from day one. That's crazy-making. You don't start out creating a system like this to cover all the exceptions; you start by creating something that will cover about 80 percent of the cases, and then tackle exceptions as they arise.

That said, everyone's situation is different and what works for me might get you fired  smiley. I don't have the high email levels others do, I work with a team of people but mostly on my own stuff, etc. But I see the value in the workplace of being organized, of staying on top of stuff, and I think I have a knack for being an information packrat, which I maybe translated into time mgmt stuff.

That said, I've probably developed a few rules for myself that work for me but that I've never tried to codify into intelligible gibberish. Some of the rules might be:

* Do the simplest thing that could possible work. This is one reason I like a paper planner. There's less customization of the interface, no worries about backing it up, etc. I used the Psion 3mx and Clie for awhile and was pretty successful with them, too. For now, paper works best for me.

* One reason I've stayed away so far from the web-based and application GTD-type tools is that they're too form-based. If I have to fill out 10 blanks to code a task, then I probably have enough time to do the damn task.

* I like Forster's emphasis in DIT on creating a structure and systems that will enable you to keep momentum going without having to do too much meta-thinking about "what do I do next?" That's the value of the will-do list for me. It separates 'doing' from 'thinking,' since those are really two different processes.

* I also like DA's emphasis on keeping the system so simple you could use it if you're achy and sick and tired. I liked the look of a lot of software tools but if I'm tired or sick, it's all I can do to boot up the 'puter. I think Forster's DIT system satisfies this simplicity requirement for me.

* I'm always asking other people how they keep track of their stuff, and I pick up ideas that way. A co-worker at my first professional job introduced me to Day-Timers and that started me on this twisted path.

* All these books and stuff offer, for me, are tools to compile my own toolkit. One system will not give you all the answers, and not all tools are applicable to every situation. You have to have enough experience using all of them to discern which is best to use now, today. I think that's why it's a good idea to shake things up every few years, go all-digital, go all-paper, see what happens, etc. When you've set up a system to ensure your bills get paid on time, you never forget a birthday card, and you can find that email in a haystack, then that feeling of accomplishment is enough to keep you going and finding further efficiencies.

* I like DA's emphasis on separating the collecting/thinking/deciding/doing stages of his workflow. I think I trip myself up when I'm trying to do too many of these things at the same time.

* You know, sometimes, good enough is good enough. My systems don't have to be perfect, but if they're good enough to trap the things that matter the most to me, then I don't mind when I find I've dropped this or that item.

* I don't do a weekly review, but I have a PBWiki page (http://brownstudy.pbwiki.com/) where I track my big personal projects (different from my workplace projects). As you can see, it's just a simple bulleted list, sometimes keywords, sometimes a stated outcome objective. I review it a couple of times a day, at work and at home. Also, it's dead-easy to edit, get a nice printout, etc. So I feel that I'm on top of what I need to be doing when I have time to work on them. But I don't obsess over the bigger projects unless there are lots of moving parts (like the grad school admissions process). Now and then, I'll do a full inventory of everything (including Covey's roles--you know, son, brother, husband, friend, etc), but not every week.

* Recently, I've liked very much Forster's notion that if I've made the decision that everything on my list is important and must be done, then prioritization has already happened. What drives me forward next is urgency. And so my PBWiki list is roughly ordered from most urgent at the top to least urgent toward the bottom. I start at the top, ask myself if there's anything I can do about this RIGHT NOW, and if I can, I do it. Even if it isn't much, just a little bit every day is enough to keep the train moving. And then I drop down to the next, and so on. Again, the big thinking has already happened, I just have to turn the crank. (And how long did it take me to develop this system? Months, bit by bit, making little tweaks here and there. It didn't erupt fully formed, and I'm still tweaking it. But it's still useful to me.)

Oh crikey, that's enough spewing and spattering all over this nice clean forum  smiley

I'd say don't worry too much about all this, even if it is the rage o' the 'net. You know, it's all about feeling better that you're on top of things. Try a system for at least a month or two before you change up to another one, see what resonates with you and what doesn't, and play with it. Also, read lots of stuff at 43folders.com for much better advice than I could give.

mike
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 09:09:47 PM by brownstudy » Logged
brownstudy
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« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2006, 09:31:36 PM »

  • Difference between having long-term projects (by definition, unfinished) and having a backlog
  • Difference between checklists and todo lists
  • Place for maybe-one-day items?
  • If we do a brain dump, some stuff would be really low priority, and it'll stay floating on a lists for a long time without being actioned. Is that a bad thing?
  • Dangerous combination: the brain dump of GTD produces trillions of tasks, and the 'no priorizing' approach of GED tries to do them all (believing that the important stuff will get too clogged if the small stuff is unactioned).

Far be it from to explain the ways of Forster and Allen to mortal men, but here's my take on your questions:

  • Long-term projects are represented by tasks sprinkled through your daily task diary. You probably have project-support materials in your planner or in a file on your computer. My getting into grad-school project has been on my lists for months, but it's still active and I do whatever I can on it. It has a definite end point and a definite accomplishment so I can say, "Yes, this is done."
  • A backlog occurs when your email or other daily tasks pile up so that you can't process them in a day. For example, my boss asked me to help him prepare a presentation and so for two days I was unable to handle my emails and new work. This meant I had a backlog of daily waxy buildup that I had to action; within a day, I'd made decisions about the emails, scheduled tasks, etc., and the backlog had disappeared. A backlog should be temporary and no new work is added to it.
  • Checklists help you carry out repetitive tasks so that you don't need to remember them. I use a checklist when I run system checks on my computer so I remember to update my antivirus, etc. You pull it out and use it as needed. Forster doesn't like to-do lists as he says they attract any old task, become amorphous, and can be never-ending because you're always adding stuff to it. That's why he advocates closed lists. This is all explained in better detail in Forster's book.
  • Just create a list in the back of the planner for someday/maybe items. Forster mentions this in his book but it's not the critical piece that Allen considers it for the GTD system. YMMV.
  • "If we do a brain dump, some stuff would be really low priority, and it'll stay floating on a lists for a long time without being actioned. Is that a bad thing?" Again, just use Allen's someday/maybe list. Nobody says you can't blend the two systems. Allen would say that you need to regularly review the S/M list to remind your brain it's there.
  • "Dangerous combination: the brain dump of GTD produces trillions of tasks, and the 'no priorizing' approach of GED tries to do them all (believing that the important stuff will get too clogged if the small stuff is unactioned)." Then use Allen's approach of prioritizing based on context/energy/time/priority (or something like that). Neither Allen nor Forster can tell you how to tell the trivial from the important. They're sort of hoping you'll do that part  smiley

Quote
I add more tasks than I actually complete in a day. That means that my tasks will be probably unmanageable at some point. Long lists like that must be pruned, otherwise the  weekly review won't be efficient.
Ah, then you haven't read Forster's Do It Tomorrow book. His system involves you learning what a day's work is for you, and not putting more on the daily task list than you can handle. If some new work drops in your lap today, AND IT'S NOT URGENT, then put it on tomorrow's list, or the next day's. Maybe you keep a separate list of tasks for a specific project with that project's support materials?
      
I think a lot of your questions are answered in the authors' respective books.
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« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2006, 09:34:54 PM »

I think one of the issues that keeps coming up here is managing projects that dont have such simple discrete single-action tasks.  i think this is definitely worth asking more about, and forster clearly has thought about it as his discussion on tricks to making progress against the resistence of this stuff shows.

What I would do is time-box the project. Set a timer, work on the project for about 45 or 60 minutes, stop, and see where I am. When I start a new project, I typically wallow and thrash for a while until I start seeing what needs to be done. Once that's clearer to me, then next actions typically fall out from that.
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nudone
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2006, 12:37:16 AM »

thanks, brownstudy. again, it is very illuminating and encouraging to see how you are implementing the techniques.

i think you should become a self-motivation consultant or speaker.
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« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2006, 05:40:50 AM »

thanks, brownstudy. again, it is very illuminating and encouraging to see how you are implementing the techniques.

i think you should become a self-motivation consultant or speaker.

Ah, you flatter me. embarassed I'm just a parrot repeating stuff far smarter people have figured out.  smiley
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mouser
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« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2006, 06:23:55 AM »

Quote
I'm just a parrot repeating stuff far smarter people have figured out.

in other words, you're over qualified.  cheesy
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urlwolf
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« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2006, 12:02:53 PM »

Quote
Quote
I add more tasks than I actually complete in a day. That means that my tasks will be probably unmanageable at some point. Long lists like that must be pruned, otherwise the  weekly review won't be efficient.
Ah, then you haven't read Forster's Do It Tomorrow book. His system involves you learning what a day's work is for you, and not putting more on the daily task list than you can handle. If some new work drops in your lap today, AND IT'S NOT URGENT, then put it on tomorrow's list, or the next day's. Maybe you keep a separate list of tasks for a specific project with that project's support materials?
   
I think a lot of your questions are answered in the authors' respective books.


Hehe,
I have read DIT twice, I carry it around with me and today I forgot it at a bar. I brought DIT to this forum's attention, and I'm interviewing Forster sometime before the end of the month. It's really funny that you think the answers are in the book, while I explicitly came out with these questions while trying to implement DIT.

I think I didn't communicate well how these questions came up. Some clarification would be good. I still think the answer is not as simple as it seems. You will see how everything falls in place.

[WARNING: long post possibly approaching]
My system as it is today, open for public perusal.

I started with GTD. I did my brain dump and have a large hierarchical todo list, where top level branches are projects. Example, I have:

Business and career
academic
My family and friends
productivity/life
<Inbox>
   

Each branch has many projects. E.g. academic has 10 entries, which are papers I'm writing or grant proposals.

productivity/life contains:
   improve GTD
      read 43 foders back-on-gtd
      finish forsters books, write review on my blog
      sign up for forster seminar Oct 13 after reading his books
      do exercise in GED about attention allocation percentages in excel
      GTD weekly review
      attend forster seminar
      
Among others.

Inbox may contain daily life chores (shuch as shopping, bills etc) that are not important enough to be allocated to a particular point in the tree.

Tasks are a mixture of recurrent/one-time with soft/hard deadlines. Some are small things like 'answer X's mail' (when it'll take a while to answer it), some a larger ones with subtasks. The total TODO list has 243 items. I add around 10 items a day, and may cross say 8, that's why I say that the list will grow instead of being reduced, with time.

When I come up with something that I need to do, I drop it in <INBOX>. These entries do not have a time assigned.

I barely use @contexts. Only @shopping and @phone. No urgency or importance is coded.

Then, I read GIT and liked it a lot. So I started implementing it in the following way.

I have two closed lists called Today and tomorrow. They are in a day planner format (e.g., from 9:00 to 22:00), but I don't use times, I just stretch the box to reflect an estimation of how long I think the task will take.

I drag and drop items from the long TODO list to the TODAY and TOMORROW will-do lists. Thus, the tasks I put in may come from the normal daily route (mails, etc) or from the vintage TODO list. I use the 1-day buffer and set stuff for tomorrow when they are not urgent.

Now, let's see how the questions sound under this new explanation.

Is my perfectly-normal-under-GTD todo list a backlog? If so, I have a huge backlog. I'm not sure attacking it under the current initiative would be the best. I'm not sure I can close it as Forster recommends, because since it contains projects (some of them may take years to be completed), I sometimes add new entries (e.g., I have a new idea for an experiment).

If this is not backlog, then I should find a way to deal with it that is not what Forster recommends for backlogs.

what a day's work is for me

Honestly, I think it's close to impossible to figure out this one. For people working in an office environment, maybe this can be estimated by the orders they get from bosses (emails, calls, tasks assigned by others).

In my case, I do get occasionally emails that ask me to do things like admin or reviewing a paper/book chapter, etc… but the biggest source of new tasks is my own brain. I come up with ideas and just jot them down. It is very difficult to predict how long it'll take to test a particular hypothesis, or write a particular paper (it's always a lot more than initially predicted).

I cannot predict how many ideas I'm going to have in a day. Nor how long it'll take to action those ideas. This is, I think , not exclusive of academics: can a programmer estimate how many bugs he can find in a day? And how long a bug will need to get fixed? Tough call sometimes.

So 'a day's work' is a tough one for me.

What if you produce more tasks that you can humanly action?


In my case, I know for a fact that I can produce more non-delegable tasks that I can humanly action. This will be my situation for a long time, unless I get really smart students that can take things from our discussion and completely develop the idea with little help. They are the exception, not the norm. And I think every academic I know will agree with that feeling (they produce more than they can complete). In a company, you probably can delegate things to others, but in the academia this is difficult, since there are only collaborators and students, and they are not paid to do the things that you cannot do (they have ideas of their own, sometime better than yours). That is they also produce more than they can complete smiley

In other words, I agree with mouser that this situation is not addressed in GTD and DIT as it is described (unless I missed the point of both systems badly).

And combining and creating your own system takes a lot of time, effortm trial and error (as brownstudy said). What I find is that my current hybrid system may be a bad combination.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2006, 01:18:57 PM by urlwolf » Logged
urlwolf
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« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2006, 12:07:01 PM »

BTW, about brainstormng with Forster about software...
In DIT he mentions he uses an outlook plugin called Nelson email organizer, and a paper planner.

If you have found software that can fit the DIT recommendations well, and want me to discuss it with Forster, please let me know.
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mouser
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« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2006, 12:23:25 PM »

let me report a little how i am using some DIT forster ideas, and then where i think i need the most help in my system which im hoping the forster interview might help.

i've taken to heart forster's advocacy of closed lists and WILL DO lists instead of TODO lists.
for me this means: writing each action on an index card by itself, and never ADDING to an index card.
then at the begining of a day assembling a day's worth of index cards to form my WILL DO list.
because the cards are never allowed to add info to them, they are "closed" and can only be accomplished or put back pending completion.  As forster says i do find this to be more satisfying and easy to manage than crossing items off a growing todo list.  i actually like this a lot (ps i paperclip related cards so i can still keep related stuff together).

what i still haven't mastered:
getting myself to work on non-discrete non-snack items that i am resisting.

in general i find gtd and dit very helpfull in managing the tons of small things i have to do.

forster (unlike allen's GTD) actually spends time talking about strategies for working on bigger projects "little and often", but it's so hard for me to do this in practice.  so for me personally, i'm most interested in hearing him reflect on these issues (especially since gtd doesn't address this at all).  Intuitively i believe in my heart that the "little and often" strategy is a very good one.  but actually finding the discipline to do it is the hard part for me.

I guess what i would love to hear the most is forster just elaborating on his thinking in this area, especially with regard to techniques and tricks that may be useful in overcoming the resistance of the subconscious primitive mind (as he discusses in DIT).

It would also be very informative to hear him talk about his evolution in thinking over the course of his books, as Nudone as mentioned.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2006, 12:25:42 PM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2006, 05:25:06 AM »

Quote from: urlwolf
I cannot predict how many ideas I'm going to have in a day. Nor how long it'll take to action those ideas. This is, I think , not exclusive of academics: can a programmer estimate how many bugs he can find in a day? And how long a bug will need to get fixed? Tough call sometimes.
You're probably aware of this aspect:

I'm just reading in Forster (DIT Chapter 13 I think - I can check if you want) about projects/ideas that you want to do as opposed to projects you need to do.

He also describes them as projects that dont have a deadline & recommends picking one & concentrating on that till its done then going on to the next.

I realise that may not be appropriate to a lot of situations, but it could possibly reduce the idea of certain things (ideas/projects) as a backlog?
Which I reckon must be helpful - "backlog" seems like a weight on the shoulders to me!

I'm concentrating on getting a organisation/time-managemnet/system of sorts going here, (apart from the work I have to do) and then I'm going to settle down to next "project" ... actually writing this makes me realise a lot of things I want to do can go on this list - could call it the wish-do-list maybe smiley
« Last Edit: September 22, 2006, 05:27:21 AM by tomos » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2006, 08:18:56 PM »

urlwolf -- I apologize for the condescending tone of my reply to your post. I obviously had not read your earlier posts or totally misunderstood your questions. I'm sorry.

Have you heard of the Google Group for academics?
Google Groups: The Efficient Academic
"Description: Professors, Instructors, and Graduate Students interested in getting things done more easily and quickly. We discuss organization, task management, and tools that helps us to be more productive and not procrastinate. We tend to discuss David Allen's GTD system but not exclusively. (533 members) "
http://groups.google.co.u...Efficient-Academic?lnk=lr

I'm not a member of the group. Given your environment, which has hard landscape stuff like classes to teach, and then your own projects to manage, that group might have things to contribute.

BTW, thanks for bringing Forster's book to the forum for discussion. I think it's a worthwhile addition to any discussion on task management.

I think, given your generation of ideas and projects, both Forster and Allen would advocate writing them down on a list and then regularly reviewing that list to see which projects are ready to be started. It sounds like there is only one of you, after all, and you can't do everything. I've heard most GTD people give a rule of thumb that they only put enough stuff on their context lists that they think they can get to that week. At the next weekly review, they then put new tasks on the context lists for the upcoming week. (At least, that's one way to do it.)

Yeah, "someday/maybe" as a list title sounds better than "backlog." smiley I tend to think of backlogs as temporary and something to which I can't add any more items. Whereas my someday/maybe list can go on and on forever.

There's also Neil Fiore's book THE NOW HABIT which gets talked about on the productivity boards. He advocates using an "uncalendar." I think it works like this (haven't read the book): Take a weekly calendar. Block out all the times you're already obligated for: work, sleep, dinner, exercise, time with your spouse, etc. Look at whatever time is left: that's how much time you have this week to work on what really matters to you, to read that book, etc. So then you have to decide what projects you can do or get started on in the time that's left. So instead of starting out with a big list of things and an empty calendar, you start out with a blocked-out calendar and then figure out what tasks will fill up the remaining time. (If anyone has read the book, check me on that description.)

Have you read Cory Doctorow's notes on Corey O'Brien's talk in 2004  that started the whole life-hacking thing? (http://www.craphound.com/lifehacks2.txt) Its focus is on how top-producing geeks get so much done. I don't know how much there would be useful to you, but one detail I could never get out of my head: one of the respondents said he kept his tasks in a single todo.txt file which he deleted every year, and then started fresh the next year. I'm too much of a packrat to do that but I admire the sentiment of junking old ideas and starting fresh with new ones. (I think Corey's presentation is archived somewhere on the web, but I can't lay my hands on the URL at the moment.)

Apropos of nothing, there is also this nice little essay from the PigPog blog:
GTD's Dirty Secrets | PigPog
http://pigpog.com/node/1462

Cheers -- mike
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« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2006, 01:56:19 AM »

i read 'The Now Habit' a couple of weeks back. your uncalendar description sounds right to me (without checking the book again). i don't really remember much about the book except that you could tell it precedes things like GTD and DIT. it's obvious Forster has read it.

overall, the book seemed to be aiming at the psychological problems of procrastination - the underlying cause of it all. well, that's what i took from it.
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« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2006, 03:30:48 AM »

I'm interested to hear what Mark Forster has to say about the following points - they're quite specific to programmers / web surfers:

  • How to deal with aimless surfing on the internet, but still allow yourself to visit sites or search for topics that interest you. For example: I'm interested to read what people have to say on these forums, but it's so easy to read more and longer than I'd like to.
  • I can spend hours on a (programming) problem and make very little progress. Maybe that's how programming works sometimes, but I'd like to hear any suggestions on how to stay focussed, how to tell yourself when to stop looking for a solution for the problem or start looking for alternatives.
  • Tips on estimating the time needed for a programming project.
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mouser
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« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2006, 03:38:01 AM »

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I can spend hours on a (programming) problem and make very little progress. Maybe that's how programming works sometimes,
It definitely is.. i always find that there are some parts of code that you can make huge progress on very quickly, but inevitably you will hit areas that require long debugging sessions just to fix problems.  i don't think there is going to be a magic bullet for this.  On the other hand, i've seen mainly new programmers give up when they hit this point, and pushing past it is an important part of becoming a real coder.

Quote
Tips on estimating the time needed for a programming project.
If you ever find a solution to this you might become a hero in the software world.. i've never known a programmer including myself who can accurately estimate project times, except to stop yourself right after you are about to give out your estimate, and multiply by 4 or 10. i wish that was a joke   Cry

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Arjen
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« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2006, 04:01:32 AM »

On the other hand, i've seen mainly new programmers give up when they hit this point, and pushing past it is an important part of becoming a real coder.
I agree, but it's important how you push past that point: knowing when to stop a certain approach and start looking for alternatives, knowing when to ask for help, knowing when to step back and get a good night's sleep. :-) It's easy to get all caught up in it until you realize hours have passed.

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i've never known a programmer including myself who can accurately estimate project times, except to stop yourself right after you are about to give out your estimate, and multiply by 4 or 10. i wish that was a joke   Cry
You are right, I'm probably asking the impossible. :-)
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Lilly
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« Reply #42 on: September 28, 2006, 06:18:07 AM »

Did I miss the interview, or has it been posted somewhere?
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mouser
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« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2006, 06:21:27 AM »

it's not up yet - will be up in october.
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Lilly
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« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2006, 06:58:27 AM »

it's not up yet - will be up in october.

Ah... Thank you muchly!
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dallee
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« Reply #45 on: September 28, 2006, 10:29:58 PM »

Hope this isn't too late to be helpful ...

Forster discussion addressing the following would be good:

-what are his views on self-discipline and would his answer be different for different people with different styles/psyches?  different types of activities or goals?

My experience is that I am more likely to GTD by approaching myself with kindness
and using Forster's "get the file out" approach.  Some people rebel against their own self-discipline and it is counter-productive.  But I know others love it.  I suspect one has to look at the person and Forster looks like the "hand crafted" approach type, rather than a cookie cutter one, so he may have given this subject a lot of thought.
    BUT he might well stay that one should use self disciple on only one thing at a time, which he suggests on his blog.  He will tell himself to "get on with it" no matter what, but only about one thing.  That sounds much like habit building, and that one should not engage in multiple simultaneous efforts at life rebuilding.  How long does he use the "one thing - get on with it" before moving to a different "one thing"?  After the one thing is incorporated as a life fixture?
    How does he reconcile, or draw distinctions between applying, the "one thing" with "get the file out"?

-In his "life coach" role, are there any particular dimensions he assesses and what rating scale does he use.  Does that lead to any variance in his recommendations?  What subject areas does he make recommendations about?
     Does he have any way he breaks down work situations by type?  By solution?
     Such a discussion might lead to some really useful tips and distinctions.
     I find it really interesting that Allen's outlook software is heavily geared to those who get work input, tasks and appointments by e-mail.  I don't have that situation.  I use GTD in my personal life -- household and family issues, renovating a bathroom, planning changes in a kitchen, restructuring health habits (more sleep, introducing exercise to my life pattern, making sure I structure food acquisition so I can eat in a way I already know is healthy, etc).  I picked an index card approach because I would rather get on with working on my goals and know I would spend months finding the perfect software if I sought a computer approach (and I am somewhat adverse to accessing   personal stuff on my work computer where MIS can monitor content).  I advance this to give a sample of a different situation, far from someone using GTD or DIT as a project or system planner at work.  I am sure Forster would see these differences and draw distinctions.

-what advice would he give a person who engages in time wasters (such as computer games) and what helps those urges shrink?  Does he classify any time wasters as appropriate leisure activity and have any recommendations as to time limits?
      A nod to Arjen on this one.  Good topic.  Sometimes play time is play time.  But sometimes one is "stuck."  Making action possible sets a stage for time wasters to dry up and become self-limiting.  One can get frozen in the urges toward perfectionism and the difficulty of drawing distinctions.  One nice thing about looking for a 15 minute "next action" (a micro movement) is that one looks for a clear possible action, instead of getting bogged down in a global problem.  But sometimes it just helps to accept that a problem is going to require a LOT of massive research which is going to take a lot of time and just realize that the only "next action" is to add to a knowledge base and no decision will show up in 15 minutes.  Just telling what helps me get away from time wasters ...

-ask him to give his four points on GOALS.
      His newsletters addressed these really clearly and in point order, but the new blog mixes them up a bit.  (It might be scurvy to ask why, especially if the old newsletters are not be currently accessible).

-what does he think about the role of luck and/or that just getting started on a problem helps a solution to present itself (the universe answering your call sort of thing).
      I find it remarkable that so often the universe PRESENTS a solution when one starts to focus on framing a "next actions."  When I really am mentally prepared to act, I'll run across the perfect thing -- happened two days ago (my toilet has peculiar plumbing and I have looked on and off unsuccessfully for a year for a replacement which would fit the space and then -- with the renovation ready to begin -- an entirely perfect model turned up on my computer search which, I would swear, was no different that all my prior searches and, no, what was perfect has been around for quite some time and just didn't pop up before -- all of which I found amazing). 

I've tried to give examples where the question might not be clear, because you might want to phrase the questions differently and want to understand the point I am trying to suggest

           Dallee
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urlwolf
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« Reply #46 on: September 29, 2006, 12:09:20 PM »

Hi Dallee,

Interesting questions. However, right now the problem is that we have way too many, and there is no way we can fit them all in an 1-hr interview. I'll try to cover as much content as possible.

You may not have seen it, but Forster himself is answering questions in the week 4 assignment thread:
http://www.donationcoder....pic=5440.msg38145#msg3814
5

Maybe you can post there some questions and get a direct answer?
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