OPW#1.14 Autofocus: The Master List

QUOTE

II. ALTERNATIVE … Mark Forster’s Autofocus – what do I do next?
1. Have a master list … write everything on it.
2. Daily – quickly read over the list, looking for the tasks that have energy – you’re drawn to them, they seem interesting or important, or it feels like the right time.
3. Collect five, and get them done. Return for more if you wish.
4. Additional rules for marking your master list:

QUOTE:
The system consists of one long list of everything that you have to do, written in a ruled notebook (25-35 lines to a page ideal). As you think of new items, add them to the end of the list. You work through the list one page at a time in the following manner:
1. Read quickly through all the items on the page without taking action on any of them.
2. Go through the page more slowly looking at the items in order until one stands out for you.
3. Work on that item for as long as you feel like doing so
4. Cross the item off the list, and re-enter it at the end of the list if you haven’t finished it
5. Continue going round 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
6. Move onto the next page of the master list and repeat the process

7. 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.
8. Once you’ve finished with the final page, re-start at the first page that is still active.
[1]

COMMENTARY

The master list, of course, is your inbox as well as the entire system. As you read down the page each morning, you refresh your memory of every item that waits for your attention, and you are looking for the few that you’re in the mood to do today. Normally we are excited because we are ready and because we know what to do to get something done. Sometimes our emotions cause us to procrastinate, but sometimes our emotions tell us what is the next task for us to do. It takes a lot of energy to force us to do something that we don’t want to do, we are not ready to do or we are anxious for one reason or another about doing right now.

The rules about highlighting certain tasks, crossing off tasks when we done a little bit of work on them and then adding them to the bottom of the list, keep the master list time sensitive as we use it. The older items, sometimes the work we are avoiding, sometimes the work that is not fun for us to do, begin to migrate to the early pages.

We can think carefully about why we keep avoiding these tasks. It could be that they’re not really important. It could be that we have no clue how to actually accomplish them, or there’s some other kind of confusion or lack of knowledge that prevents us from getting started.

It could be that our subconscious mind is telling us that there is someone else to whom we could delegate this task or who could do it much better than we could. Sometimes it’s wiser to pay an expert for a little bit of their time to do something that would take us much much longer to do finish.

As an item on the list ages, it might lead us to think it through more carefully and work through the reasons why we are wishing to avoid it. When something is ready to be done, we normally want to do it.

SOURCES

[1] The Autofocus Time Management System, “Quick Start”
http://markforster.squarespace.com/autofocus-system/

RESOURCES

Website: http://markforster.squarespace.com/autofocus-system/
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF1ngJAyD_s&feature=youtu.be
PDF Downloadable Directions: http://markforster.squarespace.com/storage/Autofocus%20system%20instructions.pdf

Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.-
Key: OPW_#. Last Revision:

Dave’s Autofocus
Based on the work of Mark Forster, with insights from GTD and Stephen Covey.

GTD = Getting Things Done = first, empty mind onto paper. (Brain dump.)
“Pay attention to what has your attention.”

Front of notebook: Tasks.
List of tasks … keep in view.
Indent when tasks fit together (grocery list)
or happen in a sequence of steps (recipe).
One item per line.
Don’t invent or brainstorm tasks; just record what has your attention now.
Information is for the Records section in the back of your notebook –
these are things to do, especially the “next action” – focus on that.

Back of Notebook: Information.
Accounts, Records, Recipes, Project lists (Sermon), Mileage & expenses.
Generally, once information is recorded in the proper place, this task is done.

Binder clip to separate old pages from current
Paper clips to mark specific pages.

CONFIDENTIALITY: never write down anything private or secret in your notebook.

Write it down so that out of focus, infinite concerns become clear, finite, specific tasks.

Write it down.
Write everything down. Get it out of your brain and on to someplace else. Whatever “it” is that’s on your mind — your to-do list, the chocolate chip recipe you just concocted, your need to call your husband and ask him to pick up milk on the way home — everything. Leave nothing in your brain. Don’t make your brain the holding place for all those bits and pieces hovering around your day.

 Then, jot down every. little. thing. on your mind. Everything. Don't worry about making sense of it or putting things in order just yet - simply transfer it from your brain to paper. Don't hold on to any of it - your body will physically react to it (stress, fatigue, not concentrating), and your soul will react emotionally (stress, frustration at innocent people, bitterness from having too much on your plate).

 When you start seeing everything that's been on your mind, it won't take long for you to start seeing patterns, to begin making order of your agenda, or to simply file away ideas that you've held on to needlessly.

[https://theartofsimple.net/empty-your-brain-the-key-to-productivity/]
Right column … sorting codes
Identifying what this item is. … In whatever way helps you.

SHALOM
Solve problems, Harvest opportunities, Achieve goals /
/Love those who love me, Organize life with questions, Manage life with systems (recipes)

PASTOR
Pastoral Care Attention (A stitch in time saves nine.)
Sermon (Reading)
Task List Organization (Doing tasks through people)

Prioritizing: Big Rocks. Remainder. “Show Me The Money”
Q1, Q3 = this week
Q2, Q4 = this month (next 30 days)
Q5 = Later than 30 days.

“R” Codes
Red Flags: Avoiding, Emotion loaded, Triggering
(There is a reason for resistance; be cautious.)
Routines – Days of the week, times of the day. Build automatic habits to save energy.
Roles/”hats”: Pastor, student, wife, mother, cook, etc

Left column … decision codes.
Deciding what to do next … up to five “pull goals” per day.

The FVP Algorithm – building ladders of tasks I want to do.
What you want to do comes with energy and readiness to start.

 The FVP algorithm uses the question “What do I want to do more than x?” to preselect a chain of tasks from the list. What exactly is meant by “want” in this context is deliberately left undefined. There may be a whole variety of reasons why you might want to do one thing more than another thing and all of them are valid. The chain always starts with the first unactioned task on the list. Mark this task with a dot to show that it’s now been preselected. Don’t take any action on the task at this stage. This task then becomes the benchmark from which the next task is selected.                         (The Final Version Perfected (FVP))

“Whenever a task is dotted which I am ready to do right now I stop scanning and do it. That’s all there is to it – it’s as simple as that, but the effect on the speed of the system is enormous.”

[http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2018/1/6/change-to-fast-fvp.html]
The FVP Algorithm – decision codes – building ladders of tasks I want to do.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
The FVP algorithm uses the question “What do I want to do more than x?” to preselect a chain of tasks from the list. What exactly is meant by “want” in this context is deliberately left undefined. There may be a whole variety of reasons why you might want to do one thing more than another thing and all of them are valid. The chain always starts with the first unactioned task on the list. Mark this task with a dot to show that it’s now been preselected. Don’t take any action on the task at this stage. This task then becomes the benchmark from which the next task is selected.

For example, if the first task on the list is “Write Report”, the question becomes “What do I want to do more than write the report?” You move through the list in order until you come to a task which you want to do more than write the report. This task is now selected by marking it with a dot and it becomes the benchmark for the next task. If the first task you come to which you want to do before writing the report is “Check Email”, then that becomes the benchmark. The question therefore changes to “What do I want to do more than check email?”As you continue through the list you might come to “Tidy Desk” and decide you want to do that more than checking email. Select this in the same way by marking it with a dot, and change the question to “What do I want to do more than tidying my desk?”. The answer to this is probably “nothing”, so you have now finished your preselection. The preselected tasks in the example are:

Write report
Check email
Tidy desk

At this point “Tidy Desk” represents the task you most want to do at the moment. Do it.
Note that as in all my systems, you don’t have to finish the task – only do some work on it. Of course if you do finish the task that’s great, but if you don’t then all you have to do is re-enter the task at the end of the list.

Now what are you going to do next? “Check email” is the previous task you selected, but that isn’t necessarily the task you most want to do. What you can say though is that it was the task you most wanted to do up until you selected “Tidy Desk”. This means that you only need to check the tasks that come after “Tidy Desk” in the list.

So what you do next is to ask yourself “What do I want to do more than check email?” again, but you check only the tasks which come after the task you have just done (Tidy Desk).

Once you have worked your way back to the first task on the list and done it (this may never happen!), you take the next unactioned task as your root task.

From The Final Version Perfected (FVP)
[http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2015/5/21/the-final-version-perfected-fvp.html]
Later: Inbox & GTD Sorting & Buckets & File Trays

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