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Author Topic: Mark Forster seeking beta testers for Autofocus  (Read 11318 times)
longrun
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« on: January 04, 2009, 12:17:51 PM »

To all terminally disorganized DCers:

Mark Forster (Do It Tomorrow/Get Everything Done; see DC's Forster interview: http://www.academicproductivity.com/blog/archives/24) is seeking beta testers for his new Autofocus system. I know little about it except that "One of the things I hope to get out of my new time management system is “autofocus”, that is to say the system itself will automatically focus on what is important and relevant to my life (and how I want it to be) without my having to spend time consciously sifting or selecting." His latest email indicates that it's a paper-based system, which means it's of less interest to me, but perhaps it will suit you and surely it can be modified for PC.

I'm skeptical about all these systems (except for their ability to make money) but will give it a look. The instructions will be revealed tomorrow, Jan. 5th. From Forster:

Please encourage your friends, family, colleagues, clients and anyone else you can think of to join this testing. I need a wide variety of people. It doesn't matter whether they think they are good at time management or hopeless at it. Nor does it matter if they think they won't have time to do it! I am just as interested in why some people don't succeed with it as I am in why others do succeed.

They can subscribe by going to my website markforster.net and entering their email addresses in the Newsletter Sign-up box in the right-hand margin.
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nudone
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 02:35:46 PM »

i'll give it a go (maybe). i reread "do it tomorrow..." a couple of weeks back so i'm curious as to what's new.

(i've signed up via e-mail.)
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 03:00:52 PM »

longrun the first link you gave doesn't seem to work?
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steeladept
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 08:16:29 AM »

Hate the site, but I eventually found out enough about it to be intrigued.  I have NEVER went in on the whole Time Management thing - it never made sense to me.  I don't know the details about the Autofocus system, but his points to the issues with existing systems resonated with me so strongly that I have to learn more about it.  Thanks for the heads up.
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tomos
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 08:58:12 AM »

to ease us back into getting organised for the new year Grin
(dont know anything about it, but have signed up - apparently the "instructions" should be sent out today - it's still possible to sign up btw)
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Tom
longrun
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 10:19:39 AM »

longrun the first link you gave doesn't seem to work?
Sorry, Carol. Got the link from DC forum and should have checked. The podcast can be downloaded from DC Mark Forster podcast
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urlwolf
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 11:34:51 AM »

Carol,

Here's the direct link:
http://www.academicproduc...ster-Interview2vbr175.mp3

Looks like we changed the link structure to a more verbose one and that old link didn't work after that.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 12:14:28 PM »

Thanks both of you. Interesting listen. I seem to remember listening a while ago but I had forgotten Wink
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tomos
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2009, 12:22:08 PM »

well, I got the email

it's a very simple idea but very interesting and I'm working well with it so far -
I have had to modify it a bit to my needs

He has asked that people dont pass on instructions till it's out of beta phase
so
guess that means it cant be really discussed here
he has a basic forum (spoiled here, arent we) http://www.markforster.net/forum/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Autofocus Time Management System
January 5th, 2009

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you very much for joining the trial of my new Autofocus system. It has been built
on years of experience in the time management field, and has worked better for me than
any other time management system I have ever tried, including previous ones I have
developed myself. Now is the time to find out if it works for other people as well, and
this is where your contribution will be invaluable.

I intend to make the final version of the system free of charge and available to
everyone without registration. However until the final version is produced I would be
grateful if you would not directly pass on the instructions to anyone. If you wish
to recommend the system to other people then please encourage them to register on
my website, using the Newsletter Sign-Up Box for Beta Testing as before.
-
to joinup just signup for his newsletter - even if you're signed up already - IIRC you get an option to change your profile, select that & you get an email with option to join
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Tom
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2009, 01:07:41 PM »

he has a basic forum (spoiled here, arent we) http://www.markforster.net/forum/

his forum already has over 100 threads started since beginning of this week when this was introduced 0_o

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Tom
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2009, 01:30:04 PM »

Have to say that this system really shows promise! Even a lazy procrastinator like me is getting some more stuff done than before. Very simple, yet effective. Too simple to write a book about, so apparently it'll be freely available at his website once it's out of beta.
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steeladept
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2009, 11:11:36 AM »

I am not a GOE participant, but this did intrigue me as I said earlier.  I have been trying it out and I will stick with what I have been saying.  His site is horrible.  Finding information or sharing it is cumbersome at best.  That is the bad news.

The good news, for me, is that his system seems to be working reasonably well.  It doesn't hurt that this is a formalized method VERY similar to how I organize my life anyway.  The big difference I have seen is 1) I can't use it for scheduled items - the very nature is rather freeform.  This isn't a big deal, because scheduled items are rarely issues anyway.  2) It puts everything on paper so I don't forget or dismiss items without consideration first.  Previously, if I wrote it down, it was in a calandar and would be missed if I didn't get to the date.  Todo lists never worked for me in the traditional sense, because the only time I would use them is when I wanted to enter something I didn't want to forget.  You need to look at it at other times too  embarassed. Not that I am much better with this system, but since I am giving it a fair shot, I have been pretty good about it.  We will see if I stick with it.

As for the system itself, do not feel as if you can't try it out.  Mark Forster is still having an open beta on it - in fact over 500 new participants have joined since it started.  Thanks, longrun, for the heads-up.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 08:22:24 AM »

Thanks for this. Still a bit skeptical since I haven't tried it but we'll see...
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tomos
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2009, 05:23:59 AM »

It's officially out of Beta -
http://www.markforster.net/autofocus-system/

in his mail he says text from the link is copyrighted so I wont quote any here  smiley
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Tom
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« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2009, 06:18:04 AM »

To reference a quote from an online source, you can quote an excerpt from the content and then cite it in several ways.
so it's ok

I'm going to try this.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2009, 06:51:54 AM by justice » Logged

tomos
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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2009, 09:24:00 AM »


I missed this
The Revised Autofocus System

also available in many other languages
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Tom
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« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2009, 12:42:57 PM »

Interesting.

Personally one of the best moves for me was to stop keeping lists with lots of items on it, and move to a card-based system with one short "todo" item on each card.  I find it a lot less distracting, and a lot easier to manage and focus on.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2009, 01:15:06 AM »

For people interested in applying the revised version in software form, Nowdothis.com is better optimized for this task than other popular online to-do lists.

It's not truly online though. You'll pretty much see what I mean.

Also apologize for sounding like I'm shilling the site. I still can't fathom what's awesome about AutoFocus even with the Revised version but when I read it, the model of the site immediately came to mind.
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tomos
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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2009, 02:12:54 AM »

I still can't fathom what's awesome about AutoFocus even with the Revised version but when I read it, the model of the site immediately came to mind.

have you tried it yet Paul?!

and no,
I'm not saying it's awesome smiley it actually hasn't suit my needs for the last while anyways, but I'm looking forward to trying out the 'new' version and I guess I just pointing out you cant really knock something like that till you've tried it Wink


edit/ going to give it another go . .
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 02:15:11 AM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2009, 03:06:37 AM »

(Btw I didn't read the blog comments so I apologize if these are repeated points)

No, unfortunately I haven't. I no longer have lists that follow a list format and the ones that do, follow a priority system based on length estimate + length desire than the order of AutoFocus.

Most of my reasons though are more personal roadblocks rather than the above. (since I can create a list anyway)

Feel free to call me elitist and stubborn but when I read the 3 outlines, I can't help but think I had done it before on instinct. (although I felt it was ingenious to market those as a revised system for Autofocus)

Reverse mode is basically "kill your critical mind" mode which is familiar to many people from all walks of life. You're also screwed if you're dealing with projects as opposed to minor tasks. (even small ones)

You're also screwed if you already mentally self-organize this when creating your one big list.

I also feel like he rushed the concept when he said, one should always start in Reverse Mode.

The reality is that you can only do enough of Reverse Mode before you're just turning it into a habit of doing the most recent tasks. It would have been more valuable in the long run if he created the idea of alternating between Forward and Reverse when you're starting the list. Instead, he relies on switching this only when you've got it going. By that point, it doesn't matter. You're already rolling forward.

Both Forward Mode and Review Mode pretty much still seems like Autofocus in the beginning.

Ultimately though, I found that the more I focus on my productivity, the more I can no longer manage to follow these lists.

Sure I'm not that much more productive than I was before but I just further sink into paralysis by analysis whenever I apply any traditional list system. It's like I can't get past one task anymore even if it's just writing that task down. It's "too much thought".

Edit: My apologies if the above post came off rude.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 03:37:09 AM by Paul Keith » Logged

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tomos
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« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2009, 04:10:02 AM »

[ . . ] apologies if the above post came off rude.
no, no need, it didnt at all

I'm going to apologise in advance for this question smiley :
do you have a summary of your current system(s) anywhere on dc ? (apologies cause if it's there I should probably know about it)

It will be interesting to reread your post after I've tried AF again.
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Tom
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« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2009, 05:35:05 AM »

Yeah, idea wise, it's basically what I wrote here: http://www.donationcoder....14411.msg127456#msg127456

Quote
I'm not a programmer so I'm quick to please.

Just give me the Opera equivalent of an OS. Customizeable, lightweight, secure and disposable.

Give me compendium's functionality without all the menus. Just a big blank screen that functions exactly like it and because it's part of the OS, I don't need to worry about indexing reference files to it and worry about losing them during the backup phase.

Dual panels that on one side covers all the help documentations and another side contains all the mini-features like RSS and PIMs.

Right panel contains the Incollector interface and left panel contains special temporary folders for copy pasting and storing with 4 categories. Personal, Important, Someday and Pending.

Upper area contains a mini-menu bar that can be hidden and functions like bblean's look.

Lower area contains a Yeah Write like interface with multiple tabs that act like ticklers that can be added at will.

Ex.

Entry 1: MS Word, Entry 2: MS Excel, Entry 3: MS OneNotes

so on and so forth. Basically a simplified panel docklet with an advanced button on the right side.

When advanced is clicked on, the bar rises revealling all the advanced equivalents of those tools.

Ex.

Entry 1: Notepad with autosave
Sub Entry 1: emacs or notepad++ or whatever advanced users might need

Add in a simplified launcher like Launchy for advanced searching, a Taboo Firefox extension interface for quick bookmarking of RSS Feeds within the Operating System and a virtual desktop with set jobs (i.e. a virtual desktop specified to open the browser and a notetaker when a user goes to that space which then automatically reverts to a normal virtual desktop space once that functionality has been set so as to avoid accidentally re-opening the browser)

Finally, a lighter native copy of ThinkingRock, an offline Diigo service and a Export mode level that when pressed outputs a compendium export file that can be transferred to the main application for other browsers, an incollector export file, a ThinkingRock export file and a YeahWrite file with all the highlights and annotations extracted to it in separate sections.

I guess for me, the perfect OS is one where it isn't the perfect OS but the perfect complimentary OS just as how Opera is the perfect complimentary browser for other browsers. I know, so far two of my posts are Opera related but really I'm not that die hard of a fanboy but when thinking about the perfect OS, there's just something I love about an app that can handle lots of stuff assigned to it but remains fast enough that you can just close and forget.

Most notable changes are the lack of links connecting to each other software wise and the fact that all of the software purpose have changed to suit a more productivity based goal and because that post was long ago. The details/specifics of the ideas you'd probably get from the posts I've made in GOE.

By lack of links, I pretty much mean chains connecting software to each other. Example such as I use post-its as parking lot tools for example yet at the same time, post-its are pretty much used for that purpose anyway and the only difference is that it's linked to the rest of what I use rather than a total separation. That is, recent lists go there but I also put urgent lists there. Yet I also put other urgent and recent lists elsewhere. Because the whole idea isn't really flesh out or that fleshing out would prolong the summary, you'll just have to analogize the idea to fit to specific models.

Software-wise, not much has changed:
1) Post-its
2) Random To-do lists (I actually did a list when I said I didn't in that post and what surprised me is that it was recent yet I forget about it -- while I was just checking the items off yesterday!) The whole deal I found for me was that random to-do lists ironically enough creates a better short to-do list system than the card-based one mouser uses. I actually was leaning to a more card-based one but instead I kept finding that I subconsciously just know what to put on those short lists and that the problem is solely in the backup scenario where I might lose the entries if I don't put it there)
3. Notepad/Akelpad - Find .txts to be much snappier than any software post-it program I use despite the need for a right click/create name. Mostly blank .txt with nothing on it. The title is the task entry.
4. Remember the Milk
5. Compendium
6. Incollector
7. The Form Letter Machine
8. PopUp Wisdom
9. WinXp Folders (I feel the folders thing just plain don't work without drag and drop organization)
10. Evernote
11. Dropbox
12. Scrapbook+ (thanks to mwang) Most of my stuff are still in Diigo though
13. Joe's Goals. Much more rarely now when Activity Tracker was made non-functional in Igoogle due to the changes which made it not work so I'm mostly off web apps.
14. Taboo Firefox Extension
15. Yeahwrite
16. OneNote
17. ReminderFox
18. SortbySize - though it's not updated for the latest version of Firefox and I haven't tested it under compatible mode.
19. Opera, save by active window Sessions

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