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Discussion Forum > What I like about RAF, p.1: Catch all truly works

I'll try to notch down all the things I specially like about my favourite TM-system, which is the one I am using: Real Autofocus? - Yes, please.

With RAF, catch all truly works. Prior to that Coming from a GTD background, I always liked the idea of "catch all" fundamentally.

It just was a problem for me in practice. I did manage to keep Autofocus lists short or GTD lists organised. But it still felt like a burden to manage all that. When "no list" appeared on the map, I was all for that and it really helped. But it also led me to have some other lists to manage, well, something. For instance a list of projects…

I also liked to plan ahead when using DIT, but this was always on a per-project basis and I was never quite sure when I had crossed the borders into cheating-land.

With GTD you had the "Tickler", essentially the same idea.

With RAF this is IMHO regulated the best way. I now look forward to checking out the calendar first thing in the morning after I drew the DDD line.

What RAF does so well, is to mitigate days were I had a lot of new ideas. On those days my list tends to get filled, but unlike with other systems, this doesn't lead to an ever growing list.

Instead, when DDD comes along, all those good ideas get nicely scheduled according to a perceived order of urgency (or better: ripeness, if that is a word) and that works quite well.

And off I go to another day with a list that caught it all and remained blazingly slim!


September 11, 2017 at 3:05 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher
Thanks, Christopher.

You've inspired me to stop fiddling around with other ideas - none of which have worked out - and go back and give RAF a real long-term trial.
September 11, 2017 at 11:26 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

Thanks for your post

I want to ask you how you RAF:
Are using pen paper or digital / application?
September 11, 2017 at 14:14 | Unregistered CommenterNanda
Glad to hear someone else is sticking with it. I'm about 50 days in, and haven't been tempted to change systems or even tweak the rules. (Using pocket notebook & pencil.)
September 11, 2017 at 17:01 | Registered Commenterubi

You wrote: "When 'no list' appeared on the map, I was all for that and it really helped. But it also led me to have some other lists."

I used several of the no-list methods - mostly SMEMA - for considerable time, and I think the experience trained me to relax and not fret about always putting everything on the list (i.e. 'empty your head' in GTD parlance). After relative success with SMEMA, I realized that important things mostly get remembered and actioned at the proper time. But I also kept side lists - e.g. checklists for daily routines - and notes/reminders in a Tickler file. I still use the Ticker instead of a calendar when a rare Defer decision is made, but I prefer Delete or Do, knowing that I'll probably remember to reenter a Deleted task later, and that I can Do just a little if I want to then reenter immediately.

So although I'm really satisfied with RealAF, I wonder if AF1 or other earlier systems would've been more effective if I had tried them after the training experience of no-list.

Sorry to hijack your thread. I'll shut up now!
September 11, 2017 at 17:20 | Registered Commenterubi
I agree with Christopher, this is my favorite system. And like Ubi I've been using it non-stop for eight weeks. I still like it and look forward to using it each day. Here's a list I made a month ago:

1. The list isn't growing 'uncontrollably' because I Do, Defer, or Delete every day. The list almost always only two days old.
2. Defering makes me look at, and use, a calendar. I have to look ahead & think about how much can be done.
3. It is helping me focus on doing one thing (project) at a time.
4. What needs to be done is right in front of me, not strung out across pages.
5. Weeding is routine and easy to do because the list is not overwhelmingly long.
September 11, 2017 at 19:14 | Unregistered CommenterZane
@Mark Forster:

Thanks! You can imagine to receive such a feedback is somewhat thrilling to me.


I am using a Moleskine or similar, I buy what I find fun at that moment. I use cheapish fiber pens. I find they flow best on that sort of paper.


Yes, the no-list schooling improved my handling of other systems, no question about it.

The thing is, with no-list you have a concentrated moment when you refill the list. With catch-all this is missing, so you tend to write more stuff down just in case.


Yes, I agree with some of your points, in fact I wanted to write about them in further installments of this min-series. Thanks!
September 12, 2017 at 5:40 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

A separate projects list of some sort as well as a catch-all list can denote when you split a project in several sub-projects that can be worked on simultaneously or whether you want to deal with the sub-projects sequentially (maybe turnwise).
September 13, 2017 at 6:35 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher