Through the years, I’ve tried many time- and task-management systems. Like many people who are into this sort of thing (the type of people who enjoy walking the aisles of an office-supply store), I was always drawn to new, shiny systems. I’ve used the FranklinCovey® system, Daytimer®, Day Runner®, QuoVadis, the Planner Pad®, even dabbled in GTD. About 18 years ago, I was practically apoplectic with excitement when I purchased a European-style planner called Time/File. (Does anyone remember that? It was a lower-cost version of Time/Design, which is now apparently called Time/system.)
Then, in 2006, I read the book Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management and I was smitten with the system described in it. I was doing so well with it, particularly after its inventor Mark Forster created a modification, that I was actually a tiny bit reluctant to try out Mark’s brand-new time-management system, Autofocus when he announced in late 2008 that he was looking for beta testers.
I signed up instantly because I think Mark’s one smart fellow. I was curious to see what he’d come up with. But I was a little concerned about stopping the good thing I had going.
I needn’t have worried. Autofocus is working beautifully for me. It’s very different from Do It Tomorrow, in that it’s much less structured. As a small-business owner, my time is my own and when I’m at my desk I can decide what I do. (Sometimes that used to mean I’d decide to spend time playing online solitaire or reading about American Idol... okay I still do that.)
Autofocus, which is designed to use my intuition (combined with my rational mind) to select what I’m going to work on next, is perfect. I’m getting so much done. And I’m doing it with a sense of lightness and freedom, something I’ve never found in a time-management system before. I’ve raved about Autofocus several times in the four months I’ve been using it. Click the autofocus tag in the left column to see a list of those entries.
I love Autofocus so much I’m giving a free talk tomorrow night to explain it. (I’m doing this with Mark Forster’s permission.) If you’re in St. Louis and interested in learning more about it, please go to the events page of my website and sign up.
I’ve been using Autofocus faithfully since its debut on January 5. Some days I don’t consult the list because I have no discretionary time. But the list is always waiting for me. And when I’m ready to work, I can plow through the tasks. This system feels like a real keeper to me. Given my past history of planner jumping, that’s saying something.