One Difference between 1MTD and MYN: How You Use the Over-the-Horizon Section

May 23, 2012

I often am asked to describe the differences between 1MTD and MYN. Most of you by now know that MYN is a more robust (and more complex) tasks system that handles higher volumes of tasks compared to the simpler 1MTD system. It does this primarily through its use of the start date field—using that adds a great amount of power. And use of that start date is the main technical difference in implementing MYN. For a list of more differences, see this page.

However I’d like to mention a less obvious (but still important) difference between 1MTD and MYN that I only cover in my longer classes, and that’s this: they each use the Over-the-Horizon (low-priority) zone a bit differently. This is subtle; but if you want to dig deeper into these systems, read on.

1MTD’s Use of the Over-the-Horizon Urgency Zone

Let’s start with more introductory 1MTD system. In 1MTD, the Over-the-Horizon section (the bottom or low priority section) is defined purely as this: it’s a place to park all tasks that can wait later than 10 days. That’s it—very simple. So in 1MTD, tasks you want to do sooner than 10 days you place in one of the two upper sections. Again, this rule is very simple, which is in keeping with the overall simplicity of the 1MTD system.

For example, in 1MTD, if a task is due in three weeks say, you would definitely put it in the Over-the-Horizon section, and that would get it out of sight for a while. You’d review that section weekly, and when the date to do the task was inside ten days, you’d promote that task back to the Critical Now or Opportunity Now sections, as appropriate. And in 1MTD, you might even put a due date on a task in the Over-the-Horizon zone to remind you to promote it on time.

A specific case of using the Over-the Horizon section in 1MTD might be a sales report that you need to write at the end of the month, but that you don’t need to work on till then—put that in the Over-the Horizon section and review that section weekly.

MYN’s Use of the Over-the-Horizon zone

In contrast, in the more powerful MYN system, you’d place that same task in the Critical Now or Opportunity Now section—with a future start date.

Why? Because in MYN, setting a future start date hides a task till that date, and that’s useful for scheduling tasks you definitely intend to do. So unlike in 1MTD, in MYN any tasks you definitely intend to do would not go into the Over-the-Horizon urgency zone—that’s the wrong place for them.

As a result, in MYN the Over-the-Horizon urgency zone is only used to list lower priority tasks, many of which may never get done. In essence, it is purely a review zone. Things listed here only have a chance of rising in priority on later review but often don’t. The distinction from 1MTD is that in MYN you are never making a commitment to actually promote or do any items in your Over-the-Horizon list; you are just committing to consider doing that on your next review.

An example might be a small optional project that just won’t fit into your schedule and possibly never will. Or an old task that just isn’t getting done and clearly does not out-bid your other tasks, but that you hope to get to if you can. By the way, many items like this that I put in the Over-the-Horizon urgency zone in MYN sit there for weeks or months—a few even for years—and that’s fine. And since most tasks drop in importance over time, I eventually delete nearly all of those.

You can do this too in 1MTD’s Over-the-Horizon zone—list long-term low-priority tasks like this. But in MYN that is the only way you use the Over-the-Horizon urgency zone—that’s the difference. In MYN, long-term tasks you are committed to always go in the upper sections, hidden till the future. By the way, this MYN practice of setting the start date to the future date you intend to do them within the Critical Now or Opportunity Now zone, is called Defer-to-Do; you can read more about that in Lesson 9 of the Outlook book.

Another Example

Another typical example demonstrating all these differences is this: let’s say you must reach out to a client on Wednesday two weeks from now (at any time of the day) to remind him of an upcoming appointment the next day. So you put on your list “Call Jim, reminder for Thursday meeting.” Now here’s the difference. In 1MTD you’d list that in the Over-the-Horizon section with a deadline on it; when it got close you’d then move it up. But in MYN you would initially list it in the Critical Now section and put a start date of the future Wednesday. That future date hides it, and then that Wednesday morning it will pop into the top of the Critical Now section, reminding you it must be done that day. So, as you can see there are subtle differences at play here.

Personally, I like the MYN approach better as it is more reliable and convenient. But 1MTD works well as long as you keep a good eye on your Over-the-Horizon zone and put some due dates on those tasks.

A Tradeoff

Again, this more advanced use of the Over-the-Horizon zone in MYN is made possible by the use of the start date field, and is something you may want to consider when choosing between 1MTD and MYN. Because of this feature and others, MYN offers you the power to manage hundreds or even thousands of tasks (in contrast, 1MTD tops out at about 100 tasks). But proper use of the start date field in MYN can be subtle, can take a bit of thought, and usually takes a bit of initial software configuration effort—all of which may lead you to want to stick with 1MTD for as long as you can.

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9 Responses to One Difference between 1MTD and MYN: How You Use the Over-the-Horizon Section

  1. Eileen Janeke says:

    Hello again Michael from Eileen in South Africa 🙂
    Well, I have jumped in boots and all to dig myself out of overwhelm and get myself out of very stressful business scenario. Hopefully the anti-depressants for burnout will soon be a thing of the past as well !!
    Got the 1 Minute book; the Outlook 3rd Edition book has arrived AND I have downloaded what I hope is the MYN version of Clear Context! 🙂
    Now to swot up on the books and the Clear Context User Guide that I have printed out as well. When am I going to find time to actually DO the work??
    LOL. Regards, Eileen

  2. Eileen Janeke says:

    Michael, I am curious.
    Why have you never used and promoted the use of OneNote in conjunction with Outlook? It’s a very powerful tool. OK, it’s not Evernote which still has shortcomings IMHO, but OneNote and its tight intergration with Outlook is certainly enough for me and my business.
    Best, Eileen

  3. Burt says:

    Good observation about OneNote. I’m not sure it’s up to Michael to write a book about it, but I’m curious to hear his thoughts on if/how he uses it. I think it’s great for organizing reference information. I also think its a good tool for basic project planning – better than an outlook task. I’m somewhat new to OneNote, and would really like to see a resource on not just how it works, but practical examples on how to really make it work for you.

  4. Eileen Janeke says:

    There are several resources I could point you to if you are interested.

  5. Michael Linenberger says:

    Eileen and Burt, about OneNote
    I wrote about OneNote in my first book years ago, about the Tablet PC, and used it extensively then. But I dropped use of it in favor of Evernote due to the latter’s better cross-platform and mobile footprint. I still like OneNote better feature-wise (for all the same reasons you guys do), but use too many different mobile devices for OneNote to be my solution for collecting ad hoc ideas (which I do on all of them). I am sure Microsoft will launch it into the cloud soon though, they have to. Then I’ll be back.
    Thanks for your comments all!

  6. Eileen Janeke says:

    Thanks for your response Michael. I use OneNote on my Android phone and love it. Only available from Gingerbread upwards though….. therefore upgraded my Android system and off I went. Great stuff.

  7. Eileen Janeke says:

    Burt, there is also a linkedin group, and of course on the MS Office website.

  8. Burt says:

    Eileen, thanks for the sites. Will check them out!

  9. Outsiders says:

    Have Journal installed. When cinslog done PC keep getting Microsoft .NET Framework error.Unhandled exception has occurred in your application. If you click Continue the application will ignore this error and attempt to continue. If you click quit the application will close immediately.Access to the path Cwindowssystem32onenotejournal.settings’ is denied.Any ideas

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