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« Most Popular Article This Week | Main | 3rd Day Report on No-List Autofocus »

Final Report on No-List Autofocus

I have decided that I’m not going to take this test any further myself as it hasn’t achieved what I hoped it would for me. I would though be very happy to hear other people’s experiences of it - good and bad - especially from anyone who decides to persevere for a longer period.

I had hoped that it would be successful amalgam of the best features of no-list and catch-all. Instead, for me at least, it fell rather uneasily between them. I didn’t have either the feeling of completeness from a catch all or the freshness of a no-list. The list was definitely feeling rather tired and jaded after three days.

What are other people’s experiences?

Reader Comments (10)

It seems pretty good from a very short trial (half a day!) I like the idea of having recurring items that can easily be referred to and picked up to work on. I didn't quite like the limitation re adding new tasks, i.e. 1 new task at a time. Plus, it seems easy enough to 'cheat' in the way tasks could be phrased as not being 'new'. Finally, I'm trying to get away from a dedicated notebook for tasks and I currently use a large post it note (goes into my paper diary / planner) and a record book to enter items into at the end of the day as part of my 3 x 3 system.

I've been working with my basic 3 x 3 system for a few weeks now that has been working really well for me...I allowed myself to be hijacked - I think - since getting back from holiday and having a lot or work to clear. So, back to my 3 x 3 system, at least for now!
April 1, 2016 at 11:17 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
To be honest... After No-List Aftofocus it is painful for me to use FVP again. I feel really tired. This long long list... And I know that many of this items will never be done, because it's just impossible to do all of this. So this creates strong resistance of doing anything. No-List Autofocus was much more productive, because I really did every thing that I entered to the list.
April 1, 2016 at 16:15 | Unregistered CommenterAlex.Muraviev
What I like about the simplicity of 5T or No List is that the 'rules' are simple. DIT is also simple to understand and implement, in this regard.

It seems as if, when rules for dismissal are added, the system automatically becomes more cumbersome to use and manage.
April 1, 2016 at 16:27 | Unregistered CommenterMike Brown

Just because I've stopped using it, doesn't mean you have to.
April 1, 2016 at 17:03 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mike Brown:

<< It seems as if, when rules for dismissal are added, the system automatically becomes more cumbersome to use and manage. >>

Good point!
April 1, 2016 at 17:04 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I like it but I need more time to try it because I often stop using a list after a few days. However the list is staying very fresh. I think this time might be different for me because after a day my first full page is about to be completed and my new page has half a page of mostly recurring items. Choosing one new item at a time to do now is really different than listing all the things you think you need to do but never get around to.
April 1, 2016 at 17:36 | Unregistered CommenterDon R
I'm persevering on this one. I'm on my 3rd day with a few modifications. The main differing points being that I combine the list with my other notes journal style. I only reveiw the current page as I go and leaving the previous pages to a weekly review or when I must reread because I'm left with a nagging feeling or nothing else to do.

Because I'm combining this with a catch all notebook, I'm using notations to distinquish the workflow of AutoFocus no-list/Now (AFN is what I'm calling it :))

Here are my current rules in case anyone can benefit from them. I only have 3.

1- Similar to original rule 1, Write down what you are going to do right now. - This item gets a in process checkbox next to it. [/]. Only one "checkbox" item can be in process at a time. The task is written down and immediately started. Once the task is complete the checkbox is filled in completely [X] - Or cross the line out if you must.

2- I can close the task in step 1 and re-enter the task as a next-step task with an empty check box [] to signify it is a continuing project that I need to get right back to. I'm ommitting recurrant habit tasks and only enter recurrent tasks when I am ready to do them as in step 1.

3- If I am interrupted I can enter the note on my list but it doesn't get a checkbox. Because it is at the end of the list I know I will read it as I move down the list. If I later decide that this note needs action, I can put an in process checkbox [/] next to it and put it in process. Or cross out the note and put the starting task at the end of the list to keep the list fresh and more linear.

Again only one in process task at a time. The key here, is that I don't put a checkbox on an item until it is started per rules 1-2. This tells me that I need to have a bias to finish what I started before I start more things.

That's it for now. I'm not focusing on dismissal yet because it is early on and the list has stayed surprisingly fresh.

Emotionally, I really want to fill in the empty checkboxes and close them out. That is why it is key that I only put the checkbox next to something I've actually started doing. In the past I have used checkboxes for what I should do but quickly just had a wishlist rather than a doing list.

The doing list has really resonated with me because it helps me focus in my office where it is not uncommon to be interupted every 15 minutes or so.

April 1, 2016 at 21:29 | Unregistered CommenterBrent
Thanks for sharing Brent, this looks simple and effective. I tried for ages and ages to combine a place for notes with tasks but couldn't quite nail it long term...I guess you write the date at the start of each day?

I suppose it would be pretty simple to do some sort of weekly review, e.g. on a Sunday evening - for example, close out pages at the end of the week with some sort of sign in pen (like an 'X' in the top page corner or something) after pulling through any essential tasks, but without adding check boxes next to the tasks that have been pulled through of course.
April 1, 2016 at 22:18 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

I am dating my pages a the top. I've also tried a lot of things over the years. I am currently using loose leaf paper with the current day/page always on top clipboard style. I tend to prefer a clean page to start each day and when I discard pages I bring things forward onto a consolidated page or I'll digitize it if it is primarily reference. I'm a big fan of Workflowy and tend to put more long term project notes and reference/writings there. I've never been able to stick with a fully digitized workflow because you can't beat the immediacy and portability of paper. So I'm doing the "doing list" and note taking on paper and transferring from there in the review process as it make sense.
April 1, 2016 at 23:25 | Unregistered CommenterBrent
Hi, Mark.. Hi, everyone:

I feel the same: I used the list during three or four days. It has the advantage of being a small and very focused list. On the other side, you need another place to catch some things that you must remember. This is not a bad thing. The exercise make me feel more conscious of the tasks I do during the day, what tasks are important and how my mind works, and finally I think I'm going to a system that combines the incredible focus you gain with this kind of list, the methods of "How to make your Dreams come true" (this are the bests for me) and a place where you can put the things you must remember in a way that doesn't collision with your attention.

I will continue this experiment and share some ideas in the future.

Thank you, Mark. You always make me think (and act).
April 4, 2016 at 13:45 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

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