Sometimes, a simple manual method is hard to beat for for sheer simplicity and reliability, even with advanced technology. I think flight progress strips are an excellent example of this.

Image credit: isafmedia (Flickr)

A flight progress strip is a small strip of paper used to track a flight in air traffic control (ATC). The strip is mounted in a plastic boot  and placed with other strips in a ‘strip board’. Each Flightstrip carries all the information a controller needs to know about a flight, and as instructions and information is given to the pilot. Also, the position of the strip in the board is a significant part of the information of the strip board. For example, approach and area controllers often keep their strips in level (altitude).

So why not use this system (or something that is based on it) for daily todo/task lists? Ok, if your not working in an ATC tower, your colleagues may look down at the flight strips at your desk and shake their heads in disbelief. But they will jealous once they discover that before lunch time, you’ve not only guided 12 airplanes safely to the ground, but also completed all your tasks efficiently and flawlessly!

But seriously, of course the ATC version of fps need some tweaking for office use, but I think the idea of using a physical system (for example wooden blocks) for prioritizing and ordering tasks is great.

I was disappointed to find out that there aren’t any existing products on the market that resemble the fps system (although at some people someone has had this idea before me. like this guy and this guy) .

Maybe an idea for David Allen‘s next edition of Getting Things Done? :).

4 Responses to “Flight progress strips for daily tasks”

  1. Mark says:

    I have been thinking along similar lines. I found a company selling the holders strips and racks but a bit pricey for office use! Myabe I’ll buy the holders and make my own rack…

  2. Menas Ahmed says:

    I had been thinking about it for a long time. This system has proved why it works because of its simplicity and effectiveness. Even the busiest airports in the world use this simple means to track, prioritize and land the aircraft.

  3. Filip says:

    Nice to see, that some other people had this idea too. I’m about too develop (as I’m a professional developer) such analog system on the base of the flight progress strips, for daily tasks or at work. I realized today that I really need it… All the post it’s and papers everywhere… Maybe it will work, we will see.

  4. Jason says:

    Thought of this too.. I’m going to try magnetic dry erase tape ( cut into equal-length strips on a magnetic white board.

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