Clarification: "Standing Out"
Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 23:31
Mark Forster in Articles, Autofocus

It’s clear from reading the comments that many people are having trouble with the concept of a task “standing out” when one does a pass through a page. This is a difficult concept to grasp for people who are used to using an analytical frame of mind, but it is essential if you are going to use the system correctly.

Here’s a little exercise to help you grasp what I mean:

Arrange six or seven coins in a row in front of you. They can be all the same or a variety.

Starting from the left hand end run your finger quickly along the row, making a very slight pointing movement towards each coin.

Now start again from the left-hand side and move your finger more deliberately along the row, pointing quite definitely at each coin. In the course of this pass, pick up at least one of the coins and put it to one side. Try not to anticipate which coin or coins you are going to pick up.

Now start from the left again, and do exactly the same but this time you can pick up any number of coins from zero upwards. If you picked up no coins by the time you reached the end of the row, stop. If you’ve picked up one or more coins, keep going until you either pick up no coins on a pass or you have run out of coins.

This is exactly the process that you go through when dealing with a page (except of course that you are moving from top to bottom, rather than from left to right). Get the hang of what it feels like to pick an item without making a conscious choice.

Article originally appeared on Get Everything Done (
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