2009-03-07, 12:50 AM
After some time with Autofocus on paper, I think that OF's (and GTDs) main strength is the project list.
A key component of AF is the subconscious "autofocus" on a certain task that "stands out". But only when I review my project list, I get a clearer idea what I am supposed to do.
Working with a paper-based list most of the time is also important for me: My computer usage has been a lax one most of the time: when I stare on a screen a part of my brain screams "emails!", "flash games" and "lets have fun". This is not a problem of OF, it is me: The medium has become the message.
For a serious procrastinator like me, paper gives me a sense of commitment: More senses are involved, and it is also much more fun to cross off an item with a textmarker.
But the great thing about OF is its flexibility: It only took a few minutes to adjust a GTD-system to a simple project, waiting for, and someday-maybe-list that I check every now and then. With a reminder in AF, of course.
I also use OF to assign priorities to projects, by sorting them in the left pane.
Still, it is not too easy to "slim down" OF - I had to manually adjust all the styles so that unassigned next actions are not light grey. I still struggle with th "context" field - is there a way to switch off the context entry completely?
This works very well so far, as I am in the habit to think about my bigger goals in life and the progress towards them in the computer, in a simple text document.
For actually doing stuff, and deciding what to do, switching on the iPod touch (is it synced? no...) or the Mac is too much hassle... Usually, these devices are either out of reach, without enough battery power, require a password to open the screen , need some additional clicking to open the application, are not in sync and need at least some typing to work - Hardly the universal inbox I would imagine.
Maybe you guys (or gals? just joking :-) do not face these problems. The sad truth is, if I would not face them regularly, I would not need a time management system at all.