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« AF4 News | Main | Preliminary Instructions for Autofocus v. 4 »

Some Reflections on Yesterday's AF4 Demo

I must admit that by the time yesterday’s demo was finished I felt very tired. This was a surprise to me because normally AF4 is a very restful way to work, and I use it all day as a matter of habit. I hadn’t allowed though for the extra energy required by the fact that it was a performance!

Another factor was the extra overhead through working the system as a blog entry. Although I spend a huge amount of time each day on my computer, I really do not like using it for a To Do list (of whatever type). I find paper and pen much quicker and easier, and it has a meditative natural quality about it which the computer entirely lacks.

There were certain “extras” necessary for demonstration purposes. I had to number items, change from normal to italic, to bold, to strikethrough and so on. As my regular readers know, I abhor having to annotate entries, so I found the extra fiddling with each task a real strain.

So the whole thing seemed much more like hard work yesterday than it normally does. I was also conscious that having an audience changed what I was doing. I did an impressive number of tasks yesterday, but they are probably not quite the same ones that I would have done if I’d been working normally.

And I’m still trying to work out how to get back to my usual way of working. I feel that yesterday disturbed things, and put them out of their rightful sequence. I think for list purposes I am going to pretend yesterday never happened. I will just pick up my written list from where I left it two days ago.

Reader Comments (16)


Your performance was really impressive. If it can be of some relief, I'm sure it has been appreciated by everybody.

September 5, 2009 at 14:31 | Unregistered CommenterJiru
Thanks, Jiru

My old written list feels like a comfy old pair of slippers now!
September 5, 2009 at 14:37 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Yes, Mark, sorry it was a strain for you, but it was very helpful for the rest of us!
September 5, 2009 at 18:43 | Unregistered CommenterSeraphim

I'm actually interested in the process that you went through with this. This is one of the issues that comes up for me with time management systems. They are easy when I have a relaxed environment at home and I am controlling that.. They are Not so easy when working in the field. What you experienced as far as I am concerned is a useful part of the experiment which is being "on". That is trying to work a system not just in the comfort of your armchair but when people are watching your performance: commenting, questioning and putting different pressures on. This is a true testing of a system not just an armchair one! I'm not suggesting you have to do this again but it's not an aberration it's more like "real life".

September 6, 2009 at 3:35 | Unregistered CommenterPhelim
Thank you for your efforts the other day Mark. It was a very interesting way to test the system and I know, judging by the number of times the page was loaded, it was appreciated by many.
I am very much a visual learner, so to see the system unfolding was very helpful.
September 6, 2009 at 7:38 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
Some of the things I learned from watching the demo:

- Your little and often approach

- You don't wander from the list ... I generally go off and do something then find other associated things to do ... you seem to return to the list much more frequently than I do

- You put things on the list that I would not ... "Lunch", "Watch Movie". I'm going to try that and note the effect.

So there was probably more information in that demo than you realize. It conveyed far more information than just the rules of the new system.
September 6, 2009 at 9:24 | Unregistered CommenterMike
I agree, more than just the AF4 rules, I got plenty of inspiration from the actual tasks that were on the list. I'm right now changing some things in the way I use the list. It's always great to learn from the example of others.
September 6, 2009 at 10:23 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
I can also appreciate the overhead Mark had through the digital documentation. Creating the PDF version of the demo took me nearly half as much time as it took Mark to actually do all that stuff and blog about it.
September 6, 2009 at 10:25 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Hofmann
The whole thing was immeasurably helpful. Many thanks, Mark.

It would be wonderful if this was a regular fixture, say, once per month; but I could understand completely if you were not amenable, given that you were left a little frazzled!

Thanks again.
September 6, 2009 at 12:46 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Cumming

many thanks for your pdf-doku! -now I got it.

September 6, 2009 at 14:08 | Unregistered Commenterclaudia
Thanks for all your hard work during the Demo Mark, also very inspiring to observe the high level of productivity you are working at.
September 6, 2009 at 20:17 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
Thank you very much, Mark, for performing yesterday's demo. I found it very instructive to see you actually working the list in a real-time fashion. Much easier, I have to say, than interpreting *any* written instructions. This whole experience makes me wonder if your instructions for all of the AF versions might be helped by pictures that depict each step.

Thank you, too, to you, Andreas H. for your marvelous pdf play-by-play. It reminded me very much of a little flip book cartoon, where the picture changes slightly on each page so that when you flip through you see it as an animation.
September 6, 2009 at 22:16 | Unregistered CommenterLenore
Thank you, Andreas H!!!! I was unable to follow any of Mark's working of his list since I was on a mini-vacation with absolutely no internet connection. Reading Mark's description first, then seeing it in 'action' made it very plain how it all works together.

September 7, 2009 at 4:16 | Unregistered CommenterTerri
Wow. That was so wonderful to see Mark "in action" and also to have Andreas do the pdf quick-version! I, too, loved seeing things like 'wash up' appear on the list. This really brought home the idea of 'little and often'. Thank you so very much, Mark, for being a bit frazzled for all of us!
September 8, 2009 at 6:51 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
Thank you for the post.
I am so thankful.
October 8, 2009 at 10:40 | Unregistered Commenterasthme
I like your comment about using pen and paper for todo lists. I'm slowly reverting to notebooks for contacts, to-do lists, and, well...notes! There's a personal content in writing on paper, then reading one's own notes some time later that is simply missing from computers. There's also the opportunity to make the information richer by writing: underlines, squiggles, arrows linking items, little diagrams, etc.
November 20, 2009 at 3:31 | Unregistered CommenterDalan

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