I realised that Autofocus can be combined with no-list to make (I hope) a fast, tight and highly-focused system. So here is how it works:
- It uses the simplest form of no-list, where a task is written down and then immediately done. This is the only way that a new task can be entered onto the list. New tasks can only be entered when you are on the last page of the list.
- If it is a recurrent task or one that needs more work it can be crossed out once it has been worked on and then re-entered at the end of the list.
- The list is worked in the normal Autofocus fashion, that is to say you circulate through one page at a time doing as much work as you want to on the tasks on the page. Once you have worked on a task it is crossed out and re-entered as in rule 2.
- Once a task has been put on the list it remains there until it is no longer relevant or until it is removed by the dismissal process.
- The dismissal process is different from Autofocus. There is no obligation to do any tasks when you circulate to a page, but if no tasks are done on a page during the course of a day then the whole page is dismissed. This is controlled by writing at the top of each page (except the last page) at the beginning of the day the number of active tasks on that page, and checking whether the same number of tasks remain at the end of the day. In practice this only needs to be done for pages that stand some chance of being dismissed.
- A page is dismissed by drawing a single line through the page. If there are no active tasks on earlier pages, then I cross out the page with a double line. Dismissed pages are not included when you circulate through the pages of the list.
- A dismissed task can only be re-instated by treating it as a new task as in rule 1.
I’m hoping that these rules will produce an active list of tasks and projects which I am actually working on. This should result in the building up of good systems and routines, while keeping action focused and moving and making the entry of new tasks a matter of more consideration. The list will be no longer than it needs to be and will be kept trimmed automatically by the dismissal process. I’m hoping to that it will shine a spotlight on projects which are not receiving enough attention.
Please note that I have only been using this for one day myself, which is far too short a period to have any idea how well it works. So I am only publishing it at this stage in case anyone wants to try it out for themselves at the same time as I am working with it.