Autofocus is a system that proposes the use of a single master To-do list. Organizing and processing the list is done in such a way that the right tasks will be done at the right time. Very important, and we emphasize this basic element of the system, everything will be done without prioritizing tasks according to their importance.
This simplified task management system is based on the original idea that the “right task” to be done, would emerge intuitively by working the list.
The author said about its “One’s vision” system:
The Autofocus system … encourages a “little and often” approach and an intuitive sifting of possible actions, it is an ideal system for riding the crest of a wave - and also for spotting likely waves as they approach!
The Autofocus Time Management System was launched in early 2009. The one who created this task management system is Mark Forster, born on 24 November 1943. A British business coach specialized in time management and personal organization, he is best known for some of his books on time management:
Over time Mark Forster has created several versions of the Autofocus time management system but its concept of the Master List remained unchanged.
Lack of concentration caused by boredom, inattention, interruptions, or distractions is a major problem in all aspects of time management. The solution proposed by Mark Forster for this problem is the consistent use of a Master To-do list. It seems that taking this as a starting point, we will go through the following:
The author especially proposes the creation of a written Master To-do list. This should have on each page a number of about 25-35 lines in which we write down everything we might think that we have to do. As new tasks appear, we will add them to the end of the list. Always at the end.
The "scanning" process involves quickly reading all the tasks noted on a page. Only read them, do not take any action.
To do this, we will read again the tasks noted on the same page. This time, we will perform the procedure
slowly and carefully. The task that simply stands out will be the one we will work on.
A very important clarification is that at this stage mental prioritization of tasks should be avoided.
If certain tasks on a page never seem to tempt us to work on them, then we will mark them as Dismissed and they will not be re-entered at the end of the list. It is recommended to mark them in a certain color so that from time to time we can re-evaluate them to decide whether to re-enter them in our list or delete them altogether.
While following this procedure we will have to deal with 4 types of tasks, namely New, Recurring, Unfinished, and Old. These will be included in the processing cycle is as follows:
It is worth mentioning that each page will be considered "a unit". The work process requires us to move to the next unit only when all the elements on the active unit have been processed.
Processed in this situation does not mean that all tasks in that unit have been completed. It is about the fact that one of the following measures has been taken with regard to the tasks that make it up:
Mark Forster, the creator of the Autofocus method, says lists that no longer have any active items are affected by "The close list effect"
The following are the steps to follow when working with Autofocus:
Intuitive and easy to use, the Autofocus Task Management System offers outstanding benefits in terms of personal productivity.
One of the reasons why the method works so well is that it provides a framework that balances the rational and intuitive parts of the brain. Thus we make balanced decisions in a non-stressful way.
More instructions on how to work with Autofocus are presented on Mark Forster’s web page.
- “Read quickly through all the items on the page without taking action on any of them.
- Go through the page more slowly looking at the items in order until one stands out for you.
- Work on that item for as long as you feel like doing so
- Cross the item off the list, and re-enter it at the end of the list if you haven’t finished it
- Continue going round on the same page in the same way. Don’t move onto the next page until you complete a pass of the page without any item standing out
- Move onto the next page and repeat the process
- If you go to a page and no item stands out for you on your first pass through it, then all the outstanding items on that page are dismissed without re-entering them. (N.B. This does not apply to the final page, on which you are still writing items). Use a highlighter to mark dismissed items.
- Once you’ve finished with the final page, re-start at the first page that is still active.”