Mark Forster - Do It Tomorrow
what do i like about his approach?
well, i've yet to put everything he says to the test as i don't have any 'real' deadlines to do anything (aren't i lucky). so, i've still got to 'embrace' the rules of the game.
anyway, the things i like about his approach...
don't use to-do lists setting yourself priority tasks - you'll never get around to doing the lowest priority tasks, especially if you just keep adding to the list as you wipe off your done tasks. simple and obvious. instead use a closed-list with a realistic set of tasks that can be done in a day. do all the tasks - doesn't matter what order you do them - just aim to complete them all.
categorise out of control procrastinated tasks/lists as a 'backlog' and separate it away from your daily 'will-do' list. he has recommendations of how to work on this 'backlog' but i'm not explaining everything here.
work on 'batches' of tasks.
new/important projects and tasks should be acted upon first thing each day - before you allow yourself to start inventing other jobs to do.
it helps to work on longer projects by using shorter bursts of activity but on a regular basis - this keeps the project alive.
he also recommends using a method of tricking oneself into getting a task done or, more precisely, into tricking oneself to start a task you seem to keep avoiding. this is done by litterally telling yourself that you aren't really going to do the task but instead you will just perform the very first step of whatever the task may be, eg. don't want to mow the lawn but know you really must - tell yourself you are just going to look in the shed or maybe just clean the lawn mover - you'll often find yourself automatically carrying on with the full task once you've done the pretend start task.
no doubt all of this will sound all too obvious or blindingly simple - and so it should. the book expands on the points i've briefly outlined as well as describing others. i'm sure you'll find similar ideas by other authors on the web and in print. Mark Forster just seems to be someone that has tried the GTD system, realised it didn't work as well as it could and has changed bits of it so that now his version just sounds like common sense, i.e. why would anyone do it any other way.
now, i'm sure that many, or even all, of the self-motivation systems work if you have the discipline to follow them exactly as their rules set out. the problem is that some of these systems are less realistic than others - if you are a super disciplined kind of person then you'll succeed whichever path you follow - if you are not so super, then i think following a system that realises you are always going to be fallible and makes you aware of the limitations you'll encounter is a better one to buy into - GED, or Get EVERYTHING Done by Forster appears to be that system. the crucial thing to be aware of is what the EVERYTHING is for you - of course.
do i think he has the 'complete' system? maybe - for some people. but i'm sure the original version of GTD is perfect for some people. i don't think any system answers everything and i'm sure we'll find many novel and workable suggestions by the people who are going to participate in the DC GTD experiment.
the future's so bright i have to wear shades.