Prioritizing by Anxiety.

I see what he’s getting at although I’m not entirely convinced.

Obviously No Free Lunch tells us that no “prioritize-by-X” strategy could be appropriate to all circumstances. (Including the FIFO algorithm of Mind Traffic Control).

Because of this, the less time wasted imagining you can specify priorities in advance, the better. Because the only time you can assign priorities is when pulling things out of your queue. To the extent that “anxiety” helps you identify the most urgent to do now it’s useful. But Andre does recognise that anxiety (like most *emotional* indicators) is pretty ambiguous; it might be that an item makes you anxious exactly because you *don’t* know how to do it or even what you *want* to do about it. So, even choosing to address it now, doesn’t mean “doing” it now, it may be a signal to cancel entirely.

Still … it’s to good if it helps you reduce anxiety overall. Perhaps not if you start to *cultivate* it as a priority-identification mechanism.

BTW : MTC works on the opposite theory, assuming that it’s easier to know which items you can definitely postpone, than it is to know which are most urgent … so at least it helps you clear the former out of the way. Nevertheless, what this post mainly reminds me is that, now I’m up to around 200 items under Mind Traffic Control, even MTC is breaking down for me.

Or rather, it’s missing something. And I’m starting to wonder if that’s the “someday/maybe” bucket. Originally I assumed that “3 months in the future” was more or less equivalent to a someday/maybe … but I’m finding that that’s not the case.

I’m scared to push things so far ahead, even for things I have no idea when I’d get round to. Because there’s always the possibility that I might get inspired to try them tomorrow. I need another queue to get things out of the way, but from where I can bring them back, if inspiration strikes.

Opinions anyone?

Softlaunch … no fanfare …

Mind Traffic Control

This is my first Google Application Engine application. A kind of next-action list for the Twitter generation.

Basic instructions :

1) You need a Google account to login (eg. Gmail) … it’s a GAE app.

2) There’s a blue box for inputting tasks you need to do. Once you start entering them, Mind Traffic Control will show you your next action.

3) At which point you have a choice. Say you did it. Delay it (push it to the back of the queue). Delegate it to another user. Defer it to a future date. Or delete it altogether.

4) Keep going.

There are a couple of ideas behind this. First, that people have been getting too hooked up on the idea of “organizing” their tasks and actions into lists. But organization itself isn’t really an end, it’s a means towards making sure you remember and discover your tasks, as a means towards the ultimate end of getting stuff done. So instead of thinking of tasks as list-management, Mind Traffic Control treats tasks as un-structured flows.

The real focus is on capturing the tasks as quickly and easily as possible. So, inspired by Twitter and Folknology’s Rel3, the input box is always there at the top of your page.

The other focus is when the task is presented to you. At this point you need all your options to quickly route the task. In a more static system we might say route into particular “bins” but here it might be better to say “channels” (unless it’s the ultimate sink of “done” or “deleted”.

Another idea … it’s meant to be the simplest workflow that could possibly work. Just short messages which can be routed. Everything else has to be constructed by humans on top of this. But as, once again, we’ve seen with twitter, it looks like humans are pretty good at filling out these communication channels.

Anyway, off to bed … will write more posts here soon …

please have a try with Mind Traffic Control, and if you have any comments, feel free to post them here.