1. Introduction to the Getting Organized Experiment (GOE)
GOE: THE GREAT DONATIONCODER.COM 2006
GETTING ORGANIZED EXPERIMENT
- WEEK FOUR+FIVE -
MARK FORSTER'S TECHNIQUES
The deadline for this assignment is October 8.
If you will recall, the objective of this three month project is to take a whirlwind tour of various Time Management systems and techniques, and find out which techniques work best for each of us. We start with the belief that there is no one single best system that for all people - but rather that different people respond best to different strategies.
It is your job, should you choose to participate in this experiment, to ensure that at the end of the 3 month period, you have formulated a system of habits and techniques that works for you, and transforms you into a more relaxed and more efficient person. By the end of this experiment, you *will* have a working system in place, either by adopting one of the existing frameworks completely, or by creating your own hybrid set of strategies based on what you learn from existing systems. That is the commitment we want you to make to yourself. There is no room for excuses about "this system is a gimmick and it didn't work for me!" - because if it doesn't work it's YOUR responsibility to invent a system that does.
In your previous assignment
, you learned about David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) System.2a. Week Four Assignment PART 1: Learn Mark Forster's Techniques (Get Everything Done / Do It Tomorrow)
Your main assignment for Week Four of the experiment is as follows:
2b. Week Four Assignment PART 2: Work on a Hard Project 5 Minutes Each Day Until Oct. 1st2b. Week FIVE Assignment: Work on a Hard Project 5 Minutes Each Day Until Oct. 8th
- Learn about Mark Forster's Ideas and Techniques.
- Experiment with the Techniques.
- Decide which aspects of it seem useful to you.
- Think about which aspects of do not suit you well.
- Think about what's missing from these ideas that you still need.
This is a more concrete assignment that fits in with Forster's "Little and Often" recommendation:
- Pick a project you have been putting off for a while and have not been able to get yourself to work on, and work on it for 5 minutes each day, until October 1st. [Update: as Mark Forster has now commented below, this should say to work on it for AT LEAST 5 minutes each day]
- Read more about this challenge here: https://www.donation...dex.php?topic=5418.0
the following description was written mostly by nudone..3. A Short Course on Mark Forster's Ideas
Mark Forster is a time management and life coach expert whose works are best known in the United Kingdom, who brings some fresh new concepts to GTD.
To give you an idea of his recognition in Great Britain, Mark Forster newest book – Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management
(Paperback, published in January 2006) – is ranked #214 in sales at Amazon UK, but is ranked #131,783 sales at Amazon US. Amazon UK readers rate it at 5 stars and give glowing reviews. The Observer recognized Forster as one of Britain’s top ten life coaches.
You may find it hard to obtain his books this week, but you can read the first chapter of Do It Tomorrow on Forster’s website
and the site contains other Forster articles well worth a read, as well).
The main appeal of Forster and his techniques are that they appear to have been developed as a result of genuinely trying other more well known time management methods. He’s not afraid to say he made a mistake or found that a prior part of his system didn’t quite work as intended. This refreshing honesty helps you accept what he’s saying – he perfectly conveys that he is a fallible human being and continuously striving to find a set of rules that can be followed with a good degree of certainty. Indeed, his books convey an evolving set of ideas, receiving ever increasing accolades.
Because of his ongoing reassessment, you can see where he has attacked the procrastination problem head-on, right at the point where you carry a dialogue with yourself on what you are going to do. He demonstrates how to not simply plan for the months or days ahead but how to focus on immediate thoughts –– how to recognize and evaluate impulse actions that are often the very downfall of any established plan.
The crucial elements for his current methodology deal with finding the solutions for ‘‘bad’’ time-management habits and practices
. 4. Closed "Will-Do" Lists for Each Day
His newest system – which accounts for almost every moment of one's task oriented time – calls for constructing a CLOSED LIST OF TASKS FOR THE DAY
Forster asks that you be realistic about what you are trying to achieve at all times. Check how you are making progress every few days if you feel that things aren't going to plan –– be honest with yourself and ask if you are trying to do the impossible in the time allotted in your daily lists.
Prioritizing is not seen as particularly helpful because you will likely find yourself ignoring lower ranked tasks until they become emergencies. The CLOSED LIST of jobs should be reasonable to complete within a day –– this is your daily goal, simply to complete every
item on the list, regardless of their order, as each item is just as valid and significant as every other item. The pertinence of the list is that it is to be completely finished each day. Tasks that are undone are taken control of by including them into tomorrow's plan but only if they fit tomorrow’s plan.5. Working Little and Often
Longer term goals or projects are taken care of by assigning a special time for them first thing each day. This is to keep you focused and prevent them slipping too far off into a future ‘‘will-do’’ date. Chipping away at a larger task on a REGULAR basis
helps maintain your momentum and prevents you from convincing yourself that you’ll get it done ‘‘one day’’ –– that ‘‘one day’’ never appearing as there are always other jobs. Fitting in steps toward bigger gals before you tackle your other planned daily tasks avoids you becoming distracted or concocting reasons to escape what you should be doing.
Forster suggests the concept of having a single "Current Initiative
" which is your big project that you are currently "chipping away at" a little bit at a time.6. Do it Tomorrow and Working in Batches
A key idea in Forster's recent work is the suggestion that you "Do It Tomorrow".
The argument is that work becomes chaotic and inefficient if we are always being distracted by new tasks and swithing from one to the other constantly. Instead, the idea is to collect new tasks and, whereever possible, schedule them in a batch for tomorrow. The current day's "Will Do" list should be treated as a closed list which does not grow. This makes work more manageable, and makes completing the day's list much more satisfying than working off of a growing and messy to-do list.
Forster recommends that routine tasks – like checking your email – be done in scheduled batches
. You’ll save time by marching through a whole lot of similarly related jobs in one sitting, whereas if you frequently dip into such tasks, you’ll find yourself sidetracked and your time drained away. It’s not rocket science but it makes perfect sense. It can increase your enjoyment of these moments of distraction to bunch them together for completion in one sitting (or two or three sittings throughout the day).7. Overcoming Your Unconscious Resistive Impulses
One real issue in not being able to get important work done is that we often fight against ourselves –– Forster has a nice way of explaining that this is a battle that has challenged humans since our very beginnings (described in the first chapter mentioned above, which you can access online). We have our instinctive, fearful and impulsive drives that still appear to dominate our common day-to-day activities, and divert us from our conscious rational desires which we would rather define who we are. Forster has clearly waged war upon these lesser traits that we still possess –– I think he’s winning or, at the very least, he’’s proven that the advantage can now be on the side of reason by bringing the conflict into the open.
He presents several tricks to overcoming resistance, some of which are summarized in an article entitled "I'LL JUST GET THE FILE OUT" and subtitled “Conquer Procrastination for Ever” (posted at http://www.markforst...et/index.php?view=23
He recommends taking a micromovement necessary to start the task – “just get the file out” and see what happens. That certainly worked on this article when I was thoroughly determined to feel ‘‘put out’’ by having to do what is a relatively simple and straightforward task. But I proceeded as he recommends, making a half-hearted attempt at a task and successfully tricked myself into starting, which helped me on my way.
8. Learn More About Mark Forster's Ideas
This post contains only a brief outline of some core elements of Mark Fortster's work. You still need to read more in order to understand the details and figure out how well it will suit your needs. Below you will find some useful places to learn more: