How can we improve Simpleology?

Optional "Advanced DTP" for those who manage several projects simultaneously

Simpleology should be kept as simple as possible for everyone.

However, many of us do have several goals/projects at a time, that do not necessarily fit into just one Short, one Medium and one Long Term Major Focus. It is too limiting and not the way most people work. Some projects will have similar-term due dates but we cannot wait for another similarly-termed project/target to be completed before we can work on/focused on the others (if it's a Long Term Focus target this could be up to a year!). As we work toward our Long/Medium/Short Term targets, our Daily Targets will need to reflect this and should be incorporated somehow.

Freelancers and contractors will work on multiple contracts. Many home workers will have sever longer term goals too. As freelancers/homeworkers (probably) make up the bulk of Simpleology users, and don't have managers breathing down their necks setting goals/targets for them, they need the most help managing their time. This does not just apply to project managers in big businesses who may require more complicated PM software/systems.

The answer: Provide an "Advanced DTP" (ADTP), with an option for people to switch on/off from their "Manage Account" screens, that will modify the WebCockpit / DTP to reflect the need for more than one Long/Medium/Short Term Major Focus.

Note: I suspect the reason for having one Long/Medium/Short Term focus is to encourage us to walk the straight line to our goals and not be distracted. This may be why it is good to keep a simple DTP option for those that still need it. But this addition will not mean our attention is unfocused (as taught in Simpleology 101) because we will still be focusing on one daily target at a time, but with a different Major Focus end in sight. All of these different focuses should still be driving us toward our Ultimate Life target.

(I have deliberately left out suggesting a specific way of implementing this so people can offer and discuss suggestions on the best way to do this in the comments below, rather than voting for my own specific suggestion—also below).

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  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Of course, once you are working on "Project X" you can assign tasks from it to your Daily Targets via delegation, but sometimes it's helpful to have the additional reminder of a Recurring Task.

  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thanks for your kind comments Sid.

    FWIW, I too have embraced Simpleology Projects but, as Michele, would like a way to incorporate them into Start My Day but I think I have solved that particular problem.

    Perhaps the option to add a Project as a Major Focus would help. However, then we still have the issue of the number of Focuses available when we probably need to switch projects more often than we have slots in the Major Focus tab.

    In order to incorporate Project work into Start My Day, I use a Recurring Task along the lines of "Work on Project X". I can, of course, add as many Recurring Tasks as I have current Projects which solves the problem of managing multiple projects.

    As a result, I no longer use Major Focus tabs for projects or concrete tasks/goals but more for overarching conceptual goals and reasons for doing my Projects in the first place (e.g. "Become self-sufficient financially" and "Find a way to reduce global poverty / hunger").

    My Long Term Major Focus right now is probably never going to be marked complete (as it's to do with ongoing character development), but that's OK with me.

    So, in short, I use the Major Focus tabs for motivation rather than tasks and I use the Projects to spell out the actual tasks I am working on. I use Recurring Tasks to remind me during Start My Day to work on a Project.

    There may be better ways of doing this, either using the current system or via new Simpleology features, but this works quite well for me at the moment.

  • sid merwin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just a quick thank you to Mark Jones for develoopping this thread so thoroughly and interestingly (Yes, I see you do go all the way when you get the bit in your teeth indeed! I also do but with multiple projects, why I appreciate Simpleology so much. Not good at superficial anything.)
    Your posts and idea have given me and I'd guess, seberal people here excellent direction and thoughts on organizing in general, and a lens on each of our own ways that we could readjust to more clarity. Bravo and thank you.
    (And yes, I do notice you also have a good Cymraeg name, no surprise there!)

  • sid merwin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    fascinating the good minds of the simpleology users. A pleasure to meet you all..

    I agree. I handle several very different projects at the same time that need tracking and development at their various paces. I would have the possibility of (possibly a limited number, to ensure clarity and follow through, the idea of Simpl.) say 5-8 short, med and long term goals. Then ONE additional version that will be used in the organization sequence to click in whichever entries for the day +/or possibly also for the week. A Life Goals to refer to whenever as a separate version that is mandatory for all users to keep us clear. Thanks as always!

  • Michele Wiedemer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    To be honest, I don't find the focus tabs all that useful, except as a reminder for where I want to go for my major focus. I use the new project area instead to keep track of all the different balls I'm juggling at one time. Not sure how to incorporate that into Start My day, though.

  • Michele Wiedemer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I am a freelancer, and I end up having a separate step to review all of my projects for what needs to happen on each next. This is a little bit different than the idea I've submitted to be able to organize projects, but it's clear that Simpleology needs to tackle this problem one way or another.

  • Andrew Bell commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I am in total agreement of the desire to separate business and personal tasks in a simple and appropriate way.
    When I sit down at my desk in the morning I want to lay out ALL my "Tasks". Presently, the first thing to do is separate business and work in my head. It would be the most appropriate to just let it all out on to one page at one time; next, after it is all on the screen, organize it into the appropriate frame work as "Business" or "Personal". Being able to drag tasks into the appropriate "DTP" could solve this problem simply.
    Of course we all have subcategories within both business and personal; but those can be taken care of in their own time. Getting all that garbled info out of my morning thought process and into the correct to-do list (Bus. or Per.) in an efficient way will take the worry out of my day so I feel comfortable delegating work to my staff and knowing I can get back to my Personal list when Business has been taken care of.
    Thanks! Keep on keepin' on!

  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Obviously, this will take time and cost to develop but, as it would mostly be of use to professionals and business people who are already working, it could be added as a feature of Pro or Elite accounts.

    This would also benefit free users (who might not need these extra features anyway) keeping things as simple as possible and letting them get used to the Simpleology basics and principles first.

  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


    Now that I've gone through the above thought processes, I feel I am concluding in favour of multiple focus tabs (as above) but colour coding, with a colour-key legend, replacing the life modes idea.

  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


    For 2) Life modes made a lot of sense to me initially. When I was studying, I had a short, medium and long term major focus as a student, and short, medium and long term major focuses as a business owner. I might also have them as personal targets (e.g. health/exercise). I liked the idea of compartmentalising these so they don't end up distracting us when we are in one mode or another.

    Usually, we would want to be focusing on only one of those life modes at any one time, i.e. when you are working you don't want to be distracted by study, and vice versa. Mixing up all these in multiple focus tabs could distract.

    On the other hand, it might be helpful to have all life modes' focuses together to act as a reminder that there are other things we need to get to at some point that day so you don't work on just one thing/mode to the detriment of the rest. Seeing the other targets in your list could help prevent this (I have a tendency to zone in on one project and want to keep doing it until I finish it, but often I should actually find a good place to stop and move onto something else that needs to be done that day).

    Life modes (i.e. separate Start My Day) could mean you can focus on one Major Target at a time, and when you've finished with that for the day, move onto another. Also, Simpleology 102 talks about how you might have more than one system, or be both an employee and a business owner at the same time; it does make sense to have these separate from each other. I don't really have a problem with doing more than one Start My Day for each life mode (though the name doesn't really fit so well).

    What could work instead of Life Modes is to make (and encourage) use of the existing colour coding for targets for each mode. As I have up until now been labelling targets with a textual prefix, i.e. “BUSINESS: “, “PERSONAL: ”, “TRAINING” and so on, I can easily start colour coding each target according to a mode. To organise my day according to modes, I can just re-order my targets on the Daily Targets screen listing targets by colour code so, for e.g. if I want to do business targets first in the morning, then training/study in the afternoon, and personal targets at the end of the day or in the evening, I can easily be arranged in that order on the Daily Targets screen.

    What may be helpful, then, is to have ability to add a textual key to a colour code and provide a legend on the screen that associates each colour code with the appropriate mode key (e.g. red = business, blue = personal, etc.).

  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


    For 1), Additional Focus tabs this could be implemented visually like a web browser with an "add" (or "+") button next to a sublevel of tabs. Clicking the button would add another Focus tab.

    Should there be a warning on adding additional focuses? Should there be a limit on additional focuses?

    A warning about focusing on too many things at once would be good but warning each time might be annoying for people who use this regularly. There should be a general warning about too many focuses in the training (101) but perhaps only in the WebCockpit after a certain amount. I think most people would struggle with managing more than three focuses of any one type and seven (the magic number) is pushing human capacity to the limit (or at least severely reducing efficiency). I'm for providing a warning alert when setting more than three focuses of any type but not on less. If anyone adds more than 7 extra focuses either this could be prevented by the software or a more strongly worded warning (I can't imagine anyone adding any more than this so I am not sure hard limits are necessary).

    For my use, I can't myself setting more than three short term focus targets; I'm more likely to add more medium term focus targets than short of long term, but unlikely more than seven (and only if I am really pushing myself). Perhaps this could guide the warnings/limits?

    Other things to consider:

    a) how to set the Focus Targets from the “Stuff I Want” screen... something along the lines of “Replace medium-term focus X, Y or Z, or add a new focus?” which would probably require an additional (javascript) window.

    b) How to list additional focuses in Start My Day – as sub-level tabs or a vertical list?


  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I've been taking time to think about this issue. Here are my thoughts so far... hope it's not too long—I have put a conclusion at the end but thought perhaps my thought process that led me there might be useful to help people agree or disagree.

    The challenge to keep things simple without being too simplistic. At the moment, for my needs, the Major Focus screens are great in principle but too simplistic. I've noticed I've been skipping over them without paying too much about them or not updating them because I'm keeping too much in my memory anyway (the additional focuses) so there doesn't seem much point in listing just one if I have to remember the others. This wasn't really a conscious decision, I've just found this is what I end up doing, but in a way I regret it because I like the idea of having the Short, Medium and Long Term Focuses to inspire and guide me in making decisions for Daily Targets. I was initially getting around this by listing more than one Focus in each box but found that, of course, I would never end up marking any of them as complete (because there was more than one focus listed) and was only just deleting them from the box. I missed the satisfaction of just pressing that completed button – it gives a sense of closure and achievement. So at the moment, I am mostly using just the Start My Day to list Daily Targets but trying to remember all my Short, Medium and Long Term Focuses in my mind (not ideal).

    There are the two ways of approaching this. I'm not sure yet which is best at the moment so will list both:

    1) Additional Focus tabs. 2) Life Modes.


  • Brett Kraiger commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'm definitely all for having several major focuses. I have some very specific business goals, and I have some, very specific personal goals. These both need short-term focus as well as long-term focus and can run completely simultaneously as they are essentially completely unrelated.

    MJ, your idea about allowing as many as possible but with warnings is a good idea. A warning linked to a video would be excellent.

    I wouldn't want to see separate "Start My Day" actions for different "modes" - I think it should all be in one. But we are all striving for several things at once, and limiting to only one is not realistic.

  • AdminSimpleology Customer Outreach Team (Admin, Simpleology) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    hey guys, we're not sure how to address this one yet ... we're actually having 2nd thoughts about the whole "life modes" idea ... we're wondering if it will make things far too difficult to manage. We're all ears for any suggestions ... the trick is to add this without making things too complex ... maybe allow people to set as many "major focus" tabs as they like - but give them a warning about the consequences of having too many?

    what do you think? would that address this?


  • Ivan Bodnarchuk commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I like the idea to have both "Personal" and "Business" modes available simultaneously, since all of us have personal and business responsibilities throughout a day.
    I still give my 3 votes for "Advanced DTP" option as this might be useful for many people who has multiple projects with the same Ultimate Goal.
    So, let's say, I can work with one project first half of the day, and with another project on the second half of the day.

  • Paul Koenig commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is a great idea. For business I have several primary focuses at once. Being able to track them all will be a great benefit. Having a toggle option is ideal. I expect most people would not find it necessary. From my past experience many people get lost trying to work too many goals at once.

    The Personal and Business mode separation will make this work. Default it to Persona. Perhaps an advanced course could occompy "Business Mode".

    The course would teach how to manage multiple projects.

  • Margaret Ida Havens commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'm very much in favor of the 'Life Modes' addition which, if I understand it as Mark describes it, should take care of this business project management need too.

  • Mark Jones commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Perhaps this idea can be incorporated into the new "Life Modes" Mark Joyner has said will be coming soon. If one has a "Personal Mode" and a "Business Mode", each of which has its own DTP, perhaps each a project can also be set up as a mode so that you decide which project you are going to work on today, do a DTP for that single project/mode with a single ST, MT, and LT Major Focus, then when that is done if you want to switch to another project you can do another DTP for that project (also with it's own ST, MT, and LT Major Focus).

    This way you are still maintaining your focus on one Ultimate Life target with related ST, MT, and LT Major Focus targets.

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