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« Autofocus 2 latest situation | Main | Autofocus: a closer look at "dismissal" »

Autofocus v. 2 on its way

I should have learnt by now not to write articles with headings like “Back to Autofocus” - because whenever I do something happens to throw me off. In this case what happened was that, as soon as I started using Autofocus again, I suddenly realised what was missing from my attempts to produce a revised system.

As a result I am now putting the final touches to the revised system and intend to release it later this week.

What I’ve been aiming to achieve in the improved version are the following:

1. Easier handling of urgent and must do items.

2. A more balanced approach to the day as a whole.

3. Quicker handling of large or difficult items.

4. Eliminating the tendency for the list to slow to a crawl.

5. Faster sifting of unwanted items.

6. Dismissal less of a hit-and-miss process.

7. Less need to use subsidiary lists.

8. Removing the need for most of the ‘tweaks’ which people have reported in the Forum and elsewhere.

By and large I think I have succeeded.

One of the features of the new system is that it uses exactly the same type of list as before. So there is no need to re-write your Autofocus list in order to switch to it. The same applies if you don’t like the new system and want to revert to the old one. In spite of this I expect most people will want to start from scratch with the new system.

Reader Comments (29)

Awaiting eagerly for the new version ;)

I've adopted your system of "do it tomorrow" very successfully at workplace, but for personal matters "autofocus" seems to work better.
June 22, 2009 at 7:24 | Unregistered CommenterTamagochi
Yay Mark, looking forward to the release!

Although I'm not sure if I like the last sentence about starting from scratch: that used to be the one motivation for me to switch systems, so I could spend more time tweaking without getting any work done :-)). I try not to do that anymore, therefore I was happy to read I could keep using my old lists with the new system. Hope to be able to keep myself from rewriting everything all over again...
June 22, 2009 at 7:30 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
Eager to hear more about it ... ;)
June 22, 2009 at 8:00 | Unregistered CommenterStefano F. Rausch
That's great news! Thanks, Mark, I'm looking forward to hearing more about this!
June 22, 2009 at 8:15 | Unregistered CommenterLefty
(And yeah, isn't that always the way? As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you when you've made other plans.")
June 22, 2009 at 8:16 | Unregistered CommenterLefty
Hi Mark,

Good to get your email this morning. One thing that I loved about DIT was that I had a clear view of how full my day was and could use it as a tool to help buffer and keep at bay emerging so-called urgent requests. If there's anyway of considering that as part of your new system that would be welcomed.

Nicole, I'd urge you to see it as a reboot of your system rather than a switch. Having In May started a new list after reaching a fragmented 100 activites spread over 35 pages it really helped get back to basics.

Best regards.
June 22, 2009 at 8:33 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan in London

What I've found myself with AF v. 2 is that it is very good at giving shape to my day and making best use of the time available. Unlike AF v. 1 all the tasks on the list are potentially available for action at any time. So it improves the handling of both genuinely urgent and non-urgent stuff. In the way it works it's much more like AF than DIT though.
June 22, 2009 at 8:58 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark, the list of functions/features/capabilities (whatever) looks very good. I think many of us will be pleased with getting just four of the eight.

"Giving shape to the day" sounds intriguing and potentially hopeful for the likes of me.

I look forward to v2 being released, ideally by Thursday as I am due to spend about 7 hours at Cairo International Airport waiting for the 04h00 KLM flight out of there..

Jonathan in London comment about rebooting: that's a very good way of describing it
June 22, 2009 at 9:28 | Unregistered CommenterRoger J
I'm looking forward to it too, Mark.
June 22, 2009 at 9:51 | Unregistered CommenterVirginia
Wow... How exciting. I can hardly wait!!! Thanks Mark.
June 22, 2009 at 9:55 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Davis-Wilkie
Looking forward to it too, Mark. And thank you.
June 22, 2009 at 11:18 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Go Mark! I may yet be tempted back to Autofocus!
June 22, 2009 at 11:23 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Cant wait for AF2 - i never thought AF could be bettered! - shows how much I know!
June 22, 2009 at 12:07 | Unregistered CommenterDerek D
Hi Mark,

Great! I'm looking forward to this exciting development.
June 22, 2009 at 12:14 | Unregistered CommenterCatus Lee

One thing I found hard to get my mind around was getting started with AF when I had a large backlog to handle.

The problem came (as you could probably see from earlier comments) when it came to the dismissal rule, and in particular because the order of adding the backlog to AF came as a mind-dump. I.e. all the big projects I could think of were put in first then the smaller ones and then smaller as I dumped at a finer level of granularity.

Since the first pages were mainly large projects, it quickly reached the point where I hit the dismissal rule on a page of projects. I realize I could start one, or label them as "potentials if the resources are available" to avoid outright dismissal of the backlog, but i was caused by the clustering effect of a minddump.

You probably started your new variant with a working list that did not have these attributes and I was wondering if you or others had thoughts on how to overcome the resistance that this clustering can generate. Does AF 2.1 address this any better?
June 22, 2009 at 13:18 | Unregistered CommenterRoger D
I had been previously put off by Autofocus for the very reasons that Mark has described as improvements to his new system.

So I am now eagerly looking forward to it; I will be more than happy to start from scratch!

There's just one thing Mark... I go on holiday on Thursday morning so any chance of the new system instructions before then so I have some reading material while I'm away?
June 22, 2009 at 13:28 | Unregistered CommenterJason
Wonderful news. Have been using AF v1 for work and personal for months now, and look forward with much anticipation to AF v2.

As has been said before, you have been very generous to release this system freely. Thank you.

June 22, 2009 at 14:13 | Unregistered CommenterAlec Satin
Mark, would you start from scratch if you were me, and only had 8 active pages? Maybe it's an added incentive to close as much off as possible before I go.

Jason, I'm going on holiday too and am hoping the instructions come out when I'm gone so that when I come back full of energy, I can dive into a new system! I'd be too afraid I'd build a huge list that I can't work on while I'm on holiday... :-)
June 22, 2009 at 14:13 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline
Jonathan, thanks for the hint about "rebooting," that's indeed a much more effective description.
June 22, 2009 at 14:36 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
Could have used it on a Monday morning...<wink>...but will be delighted to read about it whenever you gift us with it.
June 22, 2009 at 15:16 | Unregistered CommenterRuth
Great Mark, looking forward to it! Autofocus worked really well for me this week so if there is an improvement even better!
June 22, 2009 at 16:15 | Unregistered CommenterClare
Hi Mark,

I am very much looking forward to this!

Best wishes,
June 22, 2009 at 17:41 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Drake
June 22, 2009 at 18:21 | Unregistered CommenterZane
Great ! Hope it comes soon for being operational on next monday !
June 22, 2009 at 19:37 | Unregistered CommenterJupiter

I anticipate that most people will want to make a fresh start, if only so that they can track their progress stats with the new system. However those who prefer not to disrupt their existing list can do so without a problem.
June 23, 2009 at 0:01 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mark you are such a tease, dangling the new version just out of reach. You could have just surprised us on Monday morning but no. I guess some might call that good advertising and marketing. LOL
Thanks in anticipation
June 23, 2009 at 9:12 | Unregistered CommenterDavid W
Hi Mark

I don't want to push you anyway ;)) But i lost my AF book...

So i plan to begin a new one. But before doing this i dont want to make any mistake.

So with AF2 do i have to do as i did when i begin a new AFbook ie "put everything what is in my mind" and use it as usual or would you suggest me to do in another way until having explanation about the new system ?

Thanks for the answer
June 24, 2009 at 18:15 | Unregistered CommenterJupiter

I recommend the same for AF1 and AF2, which is to start your list with a few easy tasks and then add tasks as you think of them or as they come up in the normal course of work.
June 24, 2009 at 19:25 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
What about calling it ... AutoFocus Mark II
June 25, 2009 at 1:27 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

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