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Special User Sections > The Getting Organized Experiment of 2006

Suggest Questions for our interview w/ Mark Forster (Do It Tomorrow Author)

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i'd say that is just for 'trivial' tasks. you've got a list of things that aren't that special, you don't know where to start so you just attack them all in short bursts to get things moving.

is it realistic - in the right situation i guess it is - i can't quite see how it would be that practical to use as your main system. it's there to overcome the inertia of not being able to do anything at all so 5 minute chunks are so quick and easy they are something you wouldn't complain or object to - 5 minutes doesn't sound like a 'serious' amount of time so you wouldn't feel any fear of trying - it would sort of be fun to rush through the tasks.

you probably wouldn't get any 'proper' work done but you would get airborn - the 5 minute tasks are like bouncing across the runway - eventually you make a big enough bounce to take off completely and get into 'serious' task completion mode.

that's how i see it - correct me if i'm wrong.

yep, makes sense nudone, but some of forsters other suggestions like:
"Stop Right as You Begin a New Item" (i'm paraphrasing that)
and forcing yourself to stop at specific times even if you are in the middle of something
might still be worth thinking about even if your work periods are in blocks of hours not minutes.

i did think about his 'stop as you have just begun' technique when i read it but i'm not that convinced by it. i appreciate that the idea is because he sees that the mind will want to to finish the task off so it will be easier to pick up again.

i'm sceptical on this one because pretty much everything i do gets left uncompleted - i don't really ever end up rushing back to complete these unfinished tasks - they just get done when i get around to them next time. i don't have any sense of urgency in my mind to get back to them either - rather, i'm often bored by them - that's why i move on.

as an example: all the cody wallpapers i'm doing - none are particularly finished, nor are they at an interim stage that could be called complete. am i rushing to get back to them and finish them? no, i'm not. am i walking around with them playing on my mind? not really.

perhaps i'm belittling his idea as i know that i'll complete these wallpapers very soon so the task is obviously still in 'focus' but i'm procrastinating about getting them done right now.

this just extends from what i said above. i mention it as it seems more important than the 'leaving tasks unfinished' principle OR maybe it is the 'leaving tasks unfinished' principle.

i've had a few ideas for these wallpaper things i'm doing - just rough sketches and doodles on a scrap bit of paper - THIS makes me want to carry on with the task. i'm not going to carry on right now and i might not get chance tomorrow either but i'm certainly eager to get cracking.

so, am i just doing what Forster described or is this different. if it's different then i think it worth considering - the principle being to think of new things to incorporate into your procrastinated task. i guess it's just an obvious thing to suggest - find something or invent something novel that relates to the task, something that makes you a little excited about it.

easier said than done i suppose and it certainly will depend on what you are trying to achieve. it's something i'm going to think about anyway - see if i can conjure up a novel approach to non design related tasks that i have to do.

i'm wondering if this is simply how these self-motivation systems tend to work - they make you get on with stuff because you are approaching the task in a novel fashion that you wouldn't normally do. you are thinking about it differently to what you would normally. the problem is that the novelty wears off after you have been using the system for a while and you soon find yourself back to procrastinating - if so, then the solution lies in keeping things new - keep changing the rules of the system. is this why Forster keeps moving on to a new system? i think this might be an important and valid point.

Ok, some obvious Differences with GTD:

In GTD if an item is in your list it is not a commitment, it may be there as a reminder, a 'maybe one day' thing. In DIT all items in the list are commitments. They all have to be done. This has the added advantage of NOT having to prioritize your lists.

But, how are 'maybe one day' things integrated in the DIT system? If you have to write everything on paper (one of the lemmas of DIT), some of these things will not be really commintments but 'maybe one day' things.
How do you action those?

My guess is that you have a monster list (a la GTD), and two smaller lists (today and tomorrow) that draw from the big one.

I also think that the monster list would be called a backlog :)

Another problem that both systems have is that both systems have is time Estimation: For these systems to work,  you need to be pretty accurate estimating how long it'll take to finish something. This is rather difficult, again, when you are programming or writing a scientific paper.

Probably, what the Forster and Allen would say is that one needs to especify actions so they are doable and easily estimated (e.g., write 2000 words today, or work for 4 hours on that paper). This is not an ideal solution, but it may work.



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