The system consists of one long list of
everything that you have to do, written in
a ruled notebook (25-35 lines to a page
As you think of new items, add them to the
end of the list.
You work through the list, one page at a
ti e in
time i the f ll
i g er
1. Read quickly through all the items oN
the page without taking action on any of
2 Go through the page more slowly
looking at the items in order until one
stands out for you.
3. Work on that item for as long as you
feel like doing so.
4 Cross the item off the list, and
re-enter it at the end of the list if you
haven’t finished it.
5. Continue going round the same page
in the same way. Don’t move onto the
next page until you complete a pass of
the page without any item standing out
6. Move on to the next page and repeat
7. If you go to a page and no item
stands out for you on your first pass
through it, then all the outstanding
items on that page are dismissed
without re-entering them (N B This
does not apply to the final page, on
which you are still writing items).
Use a highlighter to mark dismissed
8.Once you ve
8 Once you’ve finished with the final
page, re-start at the first page that
is still active.
this is how I
I use a 200 page A5 notebook,
Fountain pen, Gel pen and High-
light marker pens.
I wrote my name, email address and
phone number inside the front
cover in case I lose the book!
I have a
in the front
part of the
are my non-
* Note: private
information has been
The “office” tasks are on a new list
in the second half of the book I
pasted a calendar for reference.
on a page, I
write an ‘x’.
A circled ‘x’
a lunch active pages
I stapled an
index card in
the back to
make a pocket
for p eces
f r pieces of f
* You can see a list of
library books I am going
to find at lunch time!
At the start of each day I rule a
line then write today’s date. This is
done in both the ‘home’ and ‘work’
New tasks are
added to the end
of the list.
When I choose a
task to work on I
mark it with a dot.
When the task is
completed I cross
it out with high-
lighter, write the
date and put a tally
Am I making progress? How is my
backlog of work? Statistics to
the rescue! each week I review the
tasks and write some numbers.
How many tasks
Count the tasks
added to each
How many were
the tally marks
against each day.
How many open
tasks do I have?
Each week I calculate the number
of open tasks by taking the
previous week’s number, add the
number of new tasks and subtract
the tasks completed or
Knowing how many tasks I can do
each day helps me manage my
If the number of open tasks is
declining then I am being very
If the number is staying the same
then I am just managing to keep up
but I am not clearing my backlog
If the number is increasing
(danger!) then it is time to dismiss
some tasks I will never do, spend
more time on the tasks I must do do,
become more efficient or
eliminate some other commitments
What about date and time
I use outlook
at the office
At home I use
my emacs /
What about projects?
I use org-mode at
home and work for
outlining, note taking
and planning Org-
mode is an extension
to the emacs editor.
I transfer relevant
nf rm t n to the
notebook – printed
All my tasks are captured and
accessible in one place.
know what I ha e to do each
hat have t d
The system is simple to set up,
s mp e to use, portable and
use p rt b e nd
doesn’t need batteries or the
Minimum stress knowing I
haven’t forgotten anything.