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  • #46
    Backlog!

    Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
    This idea comes back to me regularly. I try and I always end up with a huge backlog from the last week to be moved forward... Aren't basketball matches scheduled similarily?
    I have come to think that this in inevitable... yesterday I ended up with a backlog after I discovered that a key part of my website wasn't working. Bam. 3 hours required. Just like that.

    Many who use lists (and argue against others using schedules) predict that I should feel guilty, stressed, or annoyed as I reconfigure my schedule, but that's not necessary. It's just life. Like anyone else, I just change my plans around.

    You see, I discovered that with or without a schedule... when I lie in bed in the morning, my mind constructs a mental calendar of what my day will look like. I think this is only natural for those who are time-constrained.

    As I lay in bed waiting for my body to wake up, I consider the following:
    - what do I need to get done today?
    - how much time do I have?
    - how long will each item take?

    I start constructing a mental calendar - automatically.

    The difference comes in the next step - I spend time that morning putting together what I hope is a realistic calendar, and not give into the planning fallacy (our tendency to be over-optimistic.) Then I see what happens. During the day, I am able to juggle it more easily than ever before thanks to improved mobile technology.

    Point is... I have discovered that it's easier for me to juggle this calendar if it's electronic, and displayed in front of me - than if I skipped over this step and kept it mental.

    To elaborate on TesTeq's experience - success at this approach requires a number of new practices, such as juggling, planning, task estimating and responding to prompts. Most people won't succeed at first for a number of reasons - but the skill can be taught and learned if broken down, supported and converted into new habit patterns.

    Why go through the pain? Because there's tantalizing (but not conclusive or exhaustive) evidence that this approach allows someone who is extremely time-starved to do better than they'd do with lists. We can discuss this further, if interested. It happens to match my experience.

    Francis... still ducking a bit... LOL

    Comment


    • #47
      Priorities summarized

      Wow! A lot of very interesting posts here both about priorities and about scheduling. Too much for me to comment on in one go, so I'll start with priorities. It is quite apparent that we (and DA) are using the word priority in a lot of different senses, and sometimes are using entirely different terms when in fact we could equally well have used the word priority.

      Let me try to summarize it all. But before I do, let me suggest that we leave causal sequencing (hard priorities) out of the discussion, e.g "raise ladder", followed by "climb ladder". Although we probably have different opinions about whether such causal dependencies should be "coded" or not, I believe there is no fundamental disagreement whatsoever that "raise ladder" needs to be completed first - prior to "climb ladder".

      OK, then, this is what we have got (please correct me if I am wrong):

      Fact 1: DA/GTD, and I believe the vast majority of GTD followers, favor what TesTeq calls "delayed prioritization" when already in a given context, e.g. if while doing errands we find that we still have some time; we look at our Next actions (Errands Context) and decide right there and then what additional errands to do and in what order. No one really needs any predetermined coding for this, nor would it be meaningful or possible, I believe. In other words, prioritization in terms of task selection and task sequencing is decided on the fly. This choice, however, is often influenced by other prioritization factors such as importance and urgency, which are often quite stable, but which may "drown" among temporary contextual factors such as distance to next shop.

      Fact 2: DA/GTD advises strongly against "ABC" prioritization of tasks, in other words against deciding in advance that you will do the A tasks before even considering to do the B tasks.

      Fact 3: DA/GTD emphasizes the need for keeping only a reasonable number of projects active. This is, in fact, is an "AB" type prioritizatation, but at the project level, just as Gardener points out.

      Fact 4: DA/GTD indicates that Someday/Maybe can be used for many things. It can be used for "true Maybes", i.e. things that you are not sure you would do even if you had nothing else to do (and this is how I use it). DA also seems to indicate that you can put things there if you deem it unlikely that you will do it in the near future. This is, in fact, another instance of a "AB" prioritization, just as Gardener points out.

      In a way, you could say that if the C tasks are the "Maybe" tasks, and if the A tasks are the "definitely quite soon" tasks, and if the B tasks are the "definitely but no rush" tasks, then the only question is where the B tasks should be tracked - as Next or as Someday. I keep them as Next. Many others keep them as Someday. I am not quite sure how to interpret DA's own recommendation.

      So all in all, I think it is reasonably clear that DA clearly condones and even recommends "AB" prioritization (phasing), definitely at levels above the runway, but sometimes even at the runway level (using Someday, not the letter B, for the "low priority" tasks). And he speaks clearly against coded priorities for typical spur-of-the-moment "context scenarios".

      I do not recall DA mentioning in any "methodological" terms how to use priority in the sense of importance and urgency when looking ahead at the rest of the day (or couple of days) for which contexts you will choose to set yourself up, e.g will you plan to go on an errand run, or will you go and spend the rest of the day at office2 etc. He often mentions more generally that you must always consider what is important, but does not detail how these considerations should influence your choice of context. But he does mention, I think, that you must look at your calendar before choosing additional tasks (based on the context of the calendar actions).

      For me it is no wonder at all that there is quite some confusion about GTD's priorities. The only reason that I do not feel confused - only amused or rather a bit disappointed - is the fact that I'll only do what I personally have concluded is the best way known to me so far
      Last edited by Folke; 12-17-2013, 12:23 PM. Reason: Grammar etc

      Comment


      • #48
        I had chewed on this a bit and had decided I'd asked the wrong question. I mean, people can and often do misunderstand anything and everything. The reasons are as plentiful as there are people.

        With all due respect to Folke I don't think DA was "reckless" with the use of the word "priority." The word has an established definition already. The question isn't how to define "priority" but how to determine what one's priorities are. Getting Things Done is unambiguous about that issue: the best way to do so is intuitively, each time you review your lists, but grounded in an understanding of your roles, goals, and life's purpose.

        I think a better question to ask is, "Why do people insist on complicating GTD?" TesTeq beat me to it with the answer I'd've offered.

        Ultimately it all comes down to this: if you want to get things done you have to do things. Talk to someone. Send an email. Write the next paragraph of your novel. Draw a preliminary sketch for your painting. Calculate pricing for a sales proposal. Pound a nail into that block of wood. Create a spreadsheet with budget estimates for the coming fiscal year.

        DO. SOMETHING.

        Again, with all due respect to Folke and others: projects, roles, goals, etc. are all there to serve as triggers for actions. Priorities shift like desert sands in a sandstorm. If you are overly concerned with what HOF a particular action is tied to or trying to force priority codes ahead of time you are distracting yourself from being fully present in the moment as you perform that action.

        I've got a leaky toilet at home. I need to make sales because that's my job. I am toying with the idea that my artistic aspirations are more important to me than I used to tell myself. Those can all be tied into manifold levels of thinking. But ultimately it comes down to this: I need to order a part for that damn toilet; I need to call a client to get her reaction to my latest proposal; and if I want do determine how good I am as a writer of fiction or an illustrator I can go online and sign up for some classes to build my skills. At the moment where the rubber meets the road I don't want to be thinking about anything but the action to take and do it as well as I can, by being as present in that moment as I can. Not because DA said so but because I've found I do my best work when I'm in that zone, and when I'm not I don't.

        It's that simple.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by fwade View Post
          Many who use lists (and argue against others using schedules) predict that I should feel guilty, stressed, or annoyed as I reconfigure my schedule, but that's not necessary.
          You are using lists, though. You list your actions in your calendar. By your own admission, this forces you to spend time re-arranging your lists on your calendar. I don't see the efficiency to be gained in arbitrarily scheduling.

          I wouldn't worry about ducking by the way. I don't think most of us have the inclination or energy to verbally attack someone just because they disagree.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
            Getting Things Done is unambiguous about that issue: the best way to do so is intuitively, each time you review your lists, but grounded in an understanding of your roles, goals, and life's purpose.
            Yes, this is what TesTeq and I both said, too. And it applies to the runway level only, within a given situation (context, energy etc). This is where it makes sense to use this kind of "dynamic" prioritization.

            DA does point out very clearly, though, that already at the next higher level, the 10k level, prioritization is essential - he usually uses the word "active" for the prioritized projects. And that kind of prioritization, at that level and above, is very well grounded in common sense and tradition. At the higher levels you simply cannot twist and turn just because your energy varies etc. It would not make sense. You may have tied up capital, credibility and all kinds of things starting a mussel farm, and most likely cannot switch halfway and start to build a gym - not even if you have the firm intention to do both of those in due course. It is only at the runway level, within given situations, that dynamically shifting prioritization has a major role to play as a means to accomplish more efficient "batching" of tasks (It reduces the "cost" of unnecessary context switching.) (Of course you can change your mind even about the higher level prioritizations, but that usually comes at a "cost" and is usually best avoided unless you discover that a particular avenue was a bad choice etc.)

            I hope it is not me you are referring to when you are asking why people insist on complicating GTD. Be that as it may, though. I am mainly to trying to clarify it to those who are not equally cocksure as you or I

            I believe maybe I have discovered yet another reason why GTD is often misunderstood. Some people probably use the two lower levels only - short-term minor projects and actions. Others are trying to incorporate longer-term projects and goals, too (higher levels). When these two categories of people compare impressions it is no wonder if they understand things a bit differently and have different requirements. Is it possible that this difference might apply to you and me?

            As I said, I am not confused at all about how I myself will deal with priorities. I do as I hinted above. I keep it totally dynamic at the task level. I keep it as firm and steady as possible (but not carved in stone) at the projects and goals levels.

            At the unnamed level in between these, where I choose a suitable context to spend the morning or afternoon etc., I use a kind of "attention flagging" which is neither directly GTD nor any other methodology. It is my own invention, but definitely aligned with the GTD spirit of reviewing and making dynamic decisions. Before I even choose a context to be in next, I always look both at my calendar (for appointments etc) and at my consolidated Next list for flagged next actions. Based on what I see I will intuitively select a context to put myself in (or remain in), and based on that choice I will then select the actual actions intuitively within that context. I usually review my choice of context a few times a day, and check flagged next actions each time.

            Comment


            • #51
              Calendars

              Originally posted by fwade View Post
              As a few have mentioned on this thread, there are many who use calendars instead of lists as their central point of coordination. I am one of them.

              When I empty points of capture, I move tasks right into my calendar... knowing that I can juggle whatever is in my calendar on a given day with ease. (This wasn't possible when my calendar was on paper.)
              Although I personally avoid "subjective" dates, and always have, I have full respect for your choice. I suppose the majority of people do like you do, and I suspect it is because it is what works best for them. Well, in some cases maybe they have not realized that there is an alternative, due to the heavy touting of the "put-it-on-the-calendar" philosophy that we are exposed to most of the time from other gurus, but I believe that for you and many others it has been a conscious choice. And there is nothing wrong with it. It gets more and more "accurate" the more stable your personality and life/work conditions are, and, as you say, it is easy enough to shuffle stuff around if you have electronic tools. But personally I have no use for it.

              What really beats me, though, is why time planners do not make the distinction between "hard" and "soft". One of all the disadvantages I can see with time scheduling is the fact that you cannot see any difference between those tasks that you can juggle as you please (soft; non-GTD) and those that you would need to renegotiate (hard; GTD). The real ones drown among all the phonies, as it were. In electronic apps for time scheduling they ought to use two different calendars with different colors, and for the soft calendar they could even have more convenient reshuffling features, such as move all soft events forward one day while avoiding time slots that are hard scheduled. Since I do not use soft scheduling at all I do not need this myself, but I find it quite remarkable that this never comes up as a request in the forums of generic time planning apps. (Lucky for them I am not a time planner )

              Originally posted by fwade View Post
              Also, many people who keep lists construct a mental calendar each morning of what they plan to do that day. Keeping it mental works for some, but for others, it doesn't... especially when the juggling game starts... which happens whether there's a written calendar or not.)
              I do something similar, but perhaps a "tentative written picture" rather than a "calendar" with exact times etc. The last few apps I have used all have had a Star, which allows me to make a tentative selection of tasks from all over the Next list(s). This gives me a tentative written picture, but without exact times. I never enter task duration - too fiddly and inaccurate for me, and even the selection of tasks is not carved in stone - if I get tired or unexpectedly need to move to another context I will simply un-star many and select other tasks. The Starred list always does represent my latest tentative choice, though.

              Originally posted by fwade View Post
              But back to the purpose of the thread: "Why is GTD so often misinterpreted and misunderstood?" I think it happen sometimes because some users try to get GTD (and their system of choice) to take responsibility for their success/failures.
              I think you may well have a valid point there. A good illustration might perhaps be all those "bandwagon" allusions we always get to hear. Everyone is responsible for creating his/her own system. If they use GTD to some extent, or to a large extent, is fine. But the choice is each person's own. It is probably good to be a bit eclectic. I would advise people never to blindly follow other people's advice

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Folke View Post
                What really beats me, though, is why time planners do not make the distinction between "hard" and "soft". One of all the disadvantages I can see with time scheduling is the fact that you cannot see any difference between those tasks that you can juggle as you please (soft; non-GTD) and those that you would need to renegotiate (hard; GTD). The real ones drown among all the phonies, as it were. In electronic apps for time scheduling they ought to use two different calendars with different colors, and for the soft calendar they could even have more convenient reshuffling features, such as move all soft events forward one day while avoiding time slots that are hard scheduled. Since I do not use soft scheduling at all I do not need this myself, but I find it quite remarkable that this never comes up as a request in the forums of generic time planning apps. (Lucky for them I am not a time planner )


                You could use either Google Calendar or Outlook to display soft tasks in a separate window while keeping the hard landscape calendar in the main view. Both support different list views undated if you want to view tasks next to your calendar. I understand where fwade is coming from. These days most electronic calendars allow you to create as many calendars as you like so they could be based around location, role or project if you like. One click is all it takes to display or hide the relevant context, then you can drag to arrange or rearrange according to your needs. The advantage would be you could see all tasks and calendars in one cockpit view which makes it easier to judge the merits of one against the other.

                From what I've seen most electronic task apps these days are moving far beyond the basic GTD concept of simple lists to becoming mini project management tools in their own right and that's the only way they can command a paying customer base.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Is a Schedule really a List?

                  Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
                  You are using lists, though. You list your actions in your calendar. By your own admission, this forces you to spend time re-arranging your lists on your calendar. I don't see the efficiency to be gained in arbitrarily scheduling.
                  bcymers - of course, you are absolutely right. A schedule is nothing more than a fancy list. In other words, it's a list of tasks, each of which have been tagged with a particular attribute: start time/date and duration (at the very least.)

                  (By the same token, a list is nothing more than a schedule with the dates removed!)

                  To take that thinking further, time is a particular kind of context. A temporal context.

                  I won't try to prove that there's something to be gained from "arbitrarily scheduling...", but as I mentioned later, people do it all the time - just not on paper.

                  Let's a take an everyday example: At 11am your boss wanders into your office and asks, what do you plan to work on this afternoon?

                  Most people don't say "I have no idea, it depends on what I choose from my list at the time." This might be because they don't want to appear to be inefficient. But it's more likely that they'd give a definitive answer such as: "The Penske File" because earlier that morning they created a mental plan of the work they decided to do. A mental schedule, in other words.

                  If their boss responds with "Can you take 2 hours away from working on the Penske file and work on something else I want you to do?... But I still need that Penske report done by Thursday."

                  Now you have to make a snap judgement based on you mental calendar for the next few days.

                  One small efficiency to be gained is that it's far easier to tell your boss "Let me check my calendar" than it is to consult your memory.

                  I have found that it's stressful to maintain a mental calendar.

                  Small example. With more time and space, I could share some others, I imagine. i'm not trying to prove that one method trumps the other (Lists vs. Schedules), BTW, just that there are efficiencies I have discovered from my first-hand experience of both that aren't discussed.

                  This all makes me wonder where particular spatial contexts come from in the first place, such as @Errands.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Choosing a Context - How Is It Done?

                    In a prior post, I mentioned...
                    This all makes me wonder where particular spatial contexts come from in the first place, such as @Errands

                    We often give the example of being out on errands, and using the @Errand context (or tag) as a way to discover what other errands can be completed while we are in the process of completing an intended task. It's one way to take advantage of a physical location - while I'm in the garden, let me take a look at all the tasks tagged with @Gardening.

                    Contexts and tags can be used in a way that allows us to take advantage of particular physical locations.

                    However, there's a bigger question - how do you decide when to schedule your gardening or errands in the first place?

                    I wonder if the (surprise) convenience of using contexts/tags to take advantage of particular locations obscures the more important questions - what's the process of deciding when to leave on errands or walk out of the house into the garden?

                    For people who aren't time constrained, this probably isn't a problem, but for those who are time starved, it's likely that their busy lives may lead to them forgetting to go do the errands, and never set the time aside to do the gardening.

                    How do you decide when to enter a particular context / physical location? Or, alternately, how do you decide when to close own down and enter another, like leaving @Office for the day in order to head @Home, for example.

                    Some would say they make an intuitive choice several times per day... which would work well of you aren't time-starved, maybe. But if you are - I don't see a better way than making a schedule of activity that reflects your priorities and intentions.

                    Francis

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Folke View Post
                      What really beats me, though, is why time planners do not make the distinction between "hard" and "soft". One of all the disadvantages I can see with time scheduling is the fact that you cannot see any difference between those tasks that you can juggle as you please (soft; non-GTD) and those that you would need to renegotiate (hard; GTD). The real ones drown among all the phonies, as it were. In electronic apps for time scheduling they ought to use two different calendars with different colors, and for the soft calendar they could even have more convenient reshuffling features, such as move all soft events forward one day while avoiding time slots that are hard scheduled. Since I do not use soft scheduling at all I do not need this myself, but I find it quite remarkable that this never comes up as a request in the forums of generic time planning apps. (Lucky for them I am not a time planner )
                      I have wondered the same thing and the answer I have drawn is simple: programmers aren't designing schedules to be used in this way. They are only thinking of schedules as tools to set appointments.

                      Notice that most calendar management programs are add-ons to email programs. This after-thought effect shows in the quality of the software and it's ease of use. I haven't seen one program that is designed to help someone easily juggle their schedule.

                      Calendar/schedule designers badly need a philosophy to use as the start of new design principles. In this respect, GTD hasn't helped due to its reinforcement of an appointment-only scheduling philosophy.

                      There needs to be a Steve Jobs' like re-think of programs like Outlook and Gmail/GCal. He re-imagined hardware /software tools as consumer appliances.

                      Something similar is needed - a fresh look at design that isn't tied to an email program as the foundation element.

                      What does everyone else think?

                      Francis

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Project-based workflow.

                        Originally posted by fwade View Post
                        Let's a take an everyday example: At 11am your boss wanders into your office and asks, what do you plan to work on this afternoon?

                        Most people don't say "I have no idea, it depends on what I choose from my list at the time." This might be because they don't want to appear to be inefficient. But it's more likely that they'd give a definitive answer such as: "The Penske File" because earlier that morning they created a mental plan of the work they decided to do. A mental schedule, in other words.

                        If their boss responds with "Can you take 2 hours away from working on the Penske file and work on something else I want you to do?... But I still need that Penske report done by Thursday."
                        Great example of the Project-based workflow instead of the Next Action-based one proposed by David Allen. If you focus on preparing report for Project A and have to open Excel to create a spreadsheet you very RARELY make modifications in Project B's spreadsheet just because you are in the @excel context.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Why am I @context?

                          Originally posted by fwade View Post
                          However, there's a bigger question - how do you decide when to schedule your gardening or errands in the first place?
                          As far as I understand it GTD does not answer this question. According to David Allen I am always in @context but I've yet to see the answer why and how I've arrived there. Magic? Is there a higher power that imposess @context on me? No, I choose contexts to get things done!

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Above & Beyond?

                            Originally posted by fwade View Post
                            Notice that most calendar management programs are add-ons to email programs. This after-thought effect shows in the quality of the software and it's ease of use. I haven't seen one program that is designed to help someone easily juggle their schedule.
                            I haven't noticed this pattern. Never! Can you give any example except for Microsoft Outlook?

                            Originally posted by fwade View Post
                            There needs to be a Steve Jobs' like re-think of programs like Outlook and Gmail/GCal.
                            What do you think about the dynamic scheduling in the Above & Beyond PIM?

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Very interesting comments, fwade.

                              Originally posted by fwade View Post
                              I have found that it's stressful to maintain a mental calendar.
                              I agree with that; it can be stressful to maintain a mental picture of anything, and it is very useful to have things in writing (off your mind somehow).

                              I, too, like to have a "summary picture" both in writing and in my mind, and be able to check them against each other. I am not at all sure that this needs to be complete with exact time slots, though. Like with anything, you need a certain degree of precision, but once you reach that degree, additional precision can become a distraction.

                              What I am striving for, and succeed with differently well depending on which app I am using at the moment, is to have the following collected on one single "dashboard" ("white index card"):
                              • Appointments today, with exact time slots
                              • Hard deadlines today, with exact time if applicable
                              • Tentatively decided tasks for today (can be changed later at my discretion)
                              • Things that I want to be constantly aware of today, just in case

                              I personally have no problem with saying to people that I need to check my list. (I think calendar sounds a bit stuffy.)

                              Originally posted by fwade View Post
                              programmers aren't designing schedules to be used in this way. They are only thinking of schedules as tools to set appointments.
                              Yes, it is strange. Although I am not a time planner, I believe it would be fully feasible - and economical overall - to develop an app that serves both purposes, and lets the user have access to lots of automated "plasticity" for the "soft" actions, while leaving the "hard" ones in place and automatically avoiding calendar clashes.

                              Originally posted by fwade View Post
                              Contexts and tags can be used in a way that allows us to take advantage of particular physical locations.

                              However, there's a bigger question - how do you decide when to schedule your gardening or errands in the first place?
                              This is really a key question that pertains to the original topic of this thread. There seems to be an enormous amount of confusion in GTD app forums about this. Many people almost seem to believe that you are not allowed to choose a context; that contexts somehow come and go all of their own accord, and that all you are allowed to do is adapt to them. Priority comes as #4, they seem to believe, if all else fails. But they have forgotten that this is only true as long as your decision has already been made to stay in that context.

                              So, how do we choose contexts. One influencing factor, obviously, is the contexts of our hard appointments and deadlined actions. The other main factor is priority! Another important factor is the "economy" of switching - the physical effort, distance etc, the mental effort and mental refreshment etc.

                              May I quote what I myself said earlier about priorities (and the unnamed context switching level) in post #50:

                              Originally posted by Folke View Post
                              I am not confused at all about how I myself will deal with priorities... I keep it totally dynamic at the task level. I keep it as firm and steady as possible (but not carved in stone) at the projects and goals levels.

                              At the unnamed level in between these, where I choose a suitable context to spend the morning or afternoon etc., I use a kind of "attention flagging" which is neither directly GTD nor any other methodology. It is my own invention, but definitely aligned with the GTD spirit of reviewing and making dynamic decisions. Before I even choose a context to be in next, I always look both at my calendar (for appointments etc) and at my consolidated Next list for flagged next actions. Based on what I see I will intuitively select a context to put myself in (or remain in), and based on that choice I will then select the actual actions intuitively within that context. I usually review my choice of context a few times a day, and check flagged next actions each time.
                              And it seems that TesTeq concurs:

                              Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                              As far as I understand it GTD does not answer this question. According to David Allen I am always in @context but I've yet to see the answer why and how I've arrived there. Magic? Is there a higher power that imposess @context on me? No, I choose contexts to get things done!

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by fwade View Post
                                (By the same token, a list is nothing more than a schedule with the dates removed!)
                                That's like saying pure oxygen is water with the hydrogen atoms removed. Pure oxygen is not water. By the same token, a schedule by definition includes dates and/or times. Remove those and a list is not a schedule.

                                Originally posted by fwade View Post
                                Most people don't say "I have no idea, it depends on what I choose from my list at the time." This might be because they don't want to appear to be inefficient.
                                When I review my lists I can flag actions that I've identified as the ones I want to focus on. If one is doing GTD on paper, one could simply do the same thing using an index card or a blank sheet of paper.

                                The difference between this and arbitrary scheduling is that if something comes up to blow up my plan for the day -- which happens pretty much every day -- I can junk my hotlist in a few seconds and my context lists are intact. I don't have to re-do my calendar because I reserve it for those things that are truly date- and time-specific.

                                So if my boss asks me what I'm working on today, I can tell him without creating a mental schedule.

                                Practicing GTD does not preclude planning for the day.

                                Originally posted by fwade View Post
                                If their boss responds with "Can you take 2 hours away from working on the Penske file and work on something else I want you to do?... But I still need that Penske report done by Thursday."

                                Now you have to make a snap judgement based on you mental calendar for the next few days.
                                If I got such a directive from my boss I'd check my calendar (the "hard landscape" items like meetings and other day- and time-specific commitments and my context lists for anything else with due dates. I can solve that issue without resorting to arbitrary scheduling.

                                Comment

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