Over the last couple of years I have played with several systems developed by Mark Forster. Currently, I am using Final Version Perfected (FVP), or at least my own version of it. Briefly, my own version of this system involves having a list of things I might do during a day (pulled from a larger master list that is never, of course, fully comprehensive). I start with the first item on the list and put a little circle next to that item. Then I move down the list, asking myself with each new task I hit, “What do I want to do (for five minutes) before I do the item marked above?” If there is something I want to do more, I put a little circle next to that item and then I go down the rest of the list asking “What do I want to do (for five minutes) before I do the most recent item marked above?”. Eventually, there is nothing that I want to do more, and I do the last circled item. If the system interests you, I encourage you to follow the link to read through more examples. I find that even though I have to spend some time just thinking about my list, the process cuts through some of my procrastination as it sometimes seems easier just to do the task rather than to keep thinking about whether I want to do the task! It also gives me an out so that I’m not being forced to do the task, if I’m doing a task, it is because I choose to do it.
Once I have worked on a task (even for just 5 minutes), I can cross it out. If it is not finished, I add it back on to the bottom of the list (or to a list for tomorrow, or to a master list). If something else comes up that I need or want to do, I add that to the bottom of the list, or I add it to my master list if it is not something I want to work on today. Once I have crossed off a task, I go to the marked task above that task, which was the last selected task before the one I just did. I can then ask if anything below that ask is something I now want to do for five minutes before this new current marked task, repeating the whole system again.
The biggest trouble I have with this system is having a list that is too long. If the list is long, I might never cycle around to the beginning of it again! So I try to stick with lists of a tractable size, but that’s very difficult for me.