This is a guest posting by Seraphim - the winner of the competition for the best answer to this question.
Many tools and techniques can be used to extract greater power from any system. A lever does not change the raw power but can drastically increase the amount of power applied to the purpose at hand. Reorganizing a process for greater efficiency likewise does not change raw power, but an improved process can ensure that less power is wasted in useless work and more is applied toward the desired output. And better engine maintenance and smoother engine operation can actually increase the raw power.
All these principles apply to SuperFocus and its impact on brain power. I have discovered this through my own use of SuperFocus, and will provide a few examples.
Leverage: While using SuperFocus, I found that certain tasks would always get “dismissed” — the system would highlight these tasks as “undesirable” and they’d never get any action. But the problem was, these tasks were *necessary* — I couldn’t just ignore them. So, after trying to figure out why this kept happening, the tasks would get recycled back into the list for another go. But they’d just get dismissed again.
After seeing this happen a few times, I realized why it was happening. I just wasn’t good at those tasks, and HATED doing them — even though they really needed to be done. I tried to think how I could get around this somehow. It occurred to me that one of my co-workers actually LOVED doing that kind of work — so I asked her if she could handle some of those tasks for me. She got to do more work that she really enjoyed, and got recognition for it — and I was able to rid my list of those ugly tasks! It was a win-win, and it worked out great!!
This is an example of leverage — delegating tasks to someone else who is better equiped to get them done. Delegation can drastically increase one’s total output, as I began to find out. I probably wouldn’t have identified this opportunity for leverage without SuperFocus — but now the SF dismissal process is helping me find opportunities like this all over the place.
Improved process efficiency — Looking back over the last month of using SuperFocus, I can see that my total output has increased significantly. And this doesn’t count the things I’ve learned to delegate. My workload has increased significantly over the last three months, and I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by it. I was now leading two new project teams while still trying to carry my previous responsibilities. Just managing team logisitics was getting to be a real chore (setting up meetings, tracking minutes and action items, etc.) — let alone trying to make sure we were completing our deliverables and project tasks.
But after a few weeks, the workload hadn’t changed, but I found I was staying on top of it. All the important work was moving forward, I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed any more. I feel this is due mostly to SuperFocus. By its very nature, SuperFocus makes sure that the important work gets done, WHEN it should get done, and allows the less important / less urgent to rest idle for a time, or fall to the wayside. SuperFocus also helps ensure that the important work gets FINISHED, not just started. There were a few things I was doing before, that now seemed like they didn’t really add any value, and they got left behind — and SuperFocus helped me identify which things were OK to drop.
Here are some specific process changes that SuperFocus helped me identify and implement: (1) Simplify and streamline email processing; (2) Automate meeting agendas; (3) Quickly close my own action items that really needed to be done; let the unimportant ones sit till they are no longer relevant; (4) Move *all* my own tasks to SuperFocus, and keep all my project-management work in appropriate files outside of SuperFocus.
Engine Maintenance — If you want to increase an engine’s raw power, you might try changing the oil, cleaning or replacing the spark plugs, replacing the gaskets, checking the fuel lines, etc. In other words, regular basic maintenance and cleaning. And this is my favorite feature of SuperFocus — it keeps me working in a very effective mental state. I like to say it keeps me “in the zone”, where thoughts flow clearly and work gets done almost effortlessly. In this state, my mental energy increases dramatically — my raw engine power is operating at a much higher level.
Ever since the original AutoFocus system, I wondered how it was able to achieve this. But then I realized that it achieves this by allowing you to work ONLY on the things that “stand out” — the things that really feel ready to be done. Mark Forster designed a system that keeps you working “in the zone” BY DEFINITION. If you follow the rules, you’ll get into the zone quickly, and stay there.
The dirty oil of boredom, the soiled spark plugs of demotivation, the cracked gaskets of time wasters, the broken fuel line of procrastination — SuperFocus deals with all of these effectively and automatically. There isn’t any boredom, because the SuperFocus list automatically contains a great variety of tasks. There isn’t any demotivation, because you can work on whatever catches your interest at the time. Time wasters tend to disappear or get dismissed, never to return. And best of all, SuperFocus keeps you in a state of achieving RESULTS THAT MATTER — the very opposite of procrastination.
So, does SuperFocus increase one’s brainpower? Yes, and in many ways!