I stole the post title from Mark Forster’s blog. Mark is the author of a number of books (none of which I have read) on becoming a more organized person.  What I did read is Mark’s AutoFocus System and have been using it for about 2 weeks now.  I’ll give you the highlights and you decide for yourself whether it’s worth the read.

Here’s the quickstart system as provided on Mark’s site:

Quick Start
The system consists of one long list of everything that you have to do, written in a ruled notebook (25-35 lines to a page ideal). As you think of new items, add them to the end of the list. You work through the list one page at a time in the following manner:

  1. Read quickly through all the items on the page without taking action on any of them.
  2. Go through the page more slowly looking at the items in order until one stands out for you.
  3. Work on that item for as long as you feel like doing so
  4. Cross the item off the list, and re-enter it at the end of the list if you haven’t finished it
  5. Continue going round the same page in the same way. Don’t move onto the next page until you complete a pass of the page without any item standing out
  6. Move onto the next page and repeat the process
  7. If you go to a page and no item stands out for you on your first pass through it, then all the outstanding items on that page are dismissed without re-entering them. (N.B. This does not apply to the final page, on which you are still writing items). Use a highlighter to mark dismissed items.
  8. Once you’ve finished with the final page, re-start at the first page that is still active.

Pretty simple. Like I said, I’ve been using this system in place of my GTD-based Next Actions lists (@Work, @Home, Wait4) for a few weeks. Bottom line, I like it! Here’s why:

  • It just feels right for me.
  • I like that I can throw anything at the list and not think too much about how to phrase it as “the next physical action to move it forward.”  That process work comes when I review the list.
  • I like paper and pen.
  • The way you review the lists allows you to work on what you are drawn to at that time so you are going to want to work on it. That makes me more productive.
  • I have one list – not 3. Sweet!
  • Its subtlety for establishing prioritization is its brilliance.
  • There are only a few rules. No need to overthink the system. It’s about doing!
  • It doesn’t replace GTD, it compliments it.

Give it a read. Give it a try. Let us know how you make out.