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Author Topic: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*  (Read 7430 times)

tomos

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Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« on: February 21, 2011, 02:56:29 PM »
well actually this happened a long time ago, but because it wasnt announced via his newsletter, I missed it.
Now at version 3, given his own seal of approval just end of last week.

from Mark Forster's blog:

End of Testing SuperFocus v. 3
Rules for SuperFocus

(I've been using it for one day, and it seems to very effectively overcome the reasons I stopped using Autofocus)
Tom

Paul Keith

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 08:16:24 PM »
Thanks tomos but it seems app has beaten Forster to the concept this time:

http://appsapps.info...enshots/ToDoList.jpg

The only thing lacking in her software is that the right column is a done column rather than a ready to do plus she didn't implement pages to limit the list.

Oh and a crossed out line.

tomos

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 03:38:11 AM »
The only thing lacking in her software is that the right column is a done column rather than a ready to do [...]

That's actually a very big difference Paul !
That second column is the reason this might work where Autofocus didnt (for me at any rate). The righthand column is for urgent tasks, and for started -but unfinished- tasks.
When you are working on a particular page you MUST do every task in the second column. That means you cant avoid urgent tasks  - and once you start a task it is prioritised so you have to keep going with it. So, for someone like me, who is a lazy beggar, there's incentive, there's pressure.

Just starting Day two - I like it.
That obviously dont mean much - yet.
Tom

Paul Keith

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 03:58:41 AM »
I disagree but I'd just like to emphasize that I know where you are coming from.

We just have different values. To me saying that a 2nd column where the only difference is the wording is like saying I have a better system than Forster tailor made for you because I'm using a more than 2 column system. Even better it's a more than two column set of applications that can just as easily be replicated on paper.

But the reality is: mindmaps, grids, tables - they are already more than 2 columns and you can also have them simply as two columns. I even have a notebook where the back pages are stripes less disposable paper that has already an easy to tear line so the front serves as a bookmark/notebook and the back serves as a reminder/micro notes that can be teared off. Doesn't mean the notebook makes me any more or less productive than just using two pages of a normal notebook.

I'm not trying to dampen your enthusiasm though and this is really just me uhh..."trying" to clarify concepts from my perspective and not so much directly criticizing Forster. (Plus I've said much harsher words elsewhere in the forum about AutoFocus so hopefully even if we disagree, you won't think I'm being insincere or trying to hijack the heart of the topic.)

tomos

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2011, 04:45:29 AM »
I disagree but [...]
Paul, eh, what do you disagree with?  :tellme:

I dont think you're being insincere, but I do have a very strong "huh?" reaction to both of your posts here.
Your first post suggests to me a complete lack of understanding of the system. Your second I dont follow - this is nothing todo with values, this is a system - if you think it's rubbish, that's fine, that's good even! - but please say why.

It's not rocket science, it's a fairly simple concept (but has lots of minor practical details worked through). Autofocus (AF) was also a simple concept, that, as I said, didnt work for me. This new one seems to have the minor details worked through where AF failed.
I'm not here to defend this new system - I'm just trying it out. So, I dont have a problem if you knock it. But I honestly dont understand the content of either of your posts.
Tom

Paul Keith

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2011, 06:38:58 AM »
Oh sorry, I thought it was pretty clear because you did only reply to one sentence I wrote.

I disagree with this:

Quote
That's actually a very big difference Paul !

and the rest of the paragraph was indeed what you were asking of. The why.

Until this part:

Quote
I'm not trying to dampen your enthusiasm though and this is really just me uhh..."trying" to clarify concepts from my perspective and not so much directly criticizing Forster. (Plus I've said much harsher words elsewhere in the forum about AutoFocus so hopefully even if we disagree, you won't think I'm being insincere or trying to hijack the heart of the topic.)

which I said basically to prevent any sort of implication of this:

Quote
if you think it's rubbish, that's fine, that's good even!

Personally I had hoped that the length of time of my posting here is enough proof that if I think a system is rubbish, it's rubbish to me and I don't hold back on my explanation.

Unfortunately my previous explanation isn't good enough to prove that I understand not only the system but where you are coming from which I was hoping it would.

Quote
But I honestly dont understand the content of either of your posts.

The "intent" of my post was to highlight a weakness of a system (from my perspective) by providing the reasons why.

Edit: Actually this was more the intent of my 2nd post. My first post, I felt that if I did this it would only come off as an attack so I weighed in the value of sharing a software that could easily be Superfocus but for a computer and at the same time I felt by explaining why, I could also imply what the system's weaknesses are. Of course, worst case scenario, I was hoping that even if someone disagreed at least they may get a software referral out of it but I really under-estimated my explanation. I thought I didn't need to expand or if I did, it wouldn't be from the perspective of someone who doesn't understand the system as, again, I thought I added enough of an explanation.

Because just as much as a productivity system that works for someone can stand on it's own, a productivity system that is lacking or could be improved or is flawed - could hurt someone. That's why I try to present a perspective that may not have a high percentage of being presented in case there are readers that might not have considered that factor.

In reality though, it's not that grand of an intent. We do this all the time with software. If a certain software is lacking, do we not provide an alternative software link to the best of our knowledge. Similarly if a software has a feature that did it first, and that feature while novel is not as effective, do we not save people the trouble of trying out a software first by warning them of things so that they can put it into context.

Again though, all this hinges on the idea that my previous reply is evidence that I understand and am expanding. If I am unable to deliver that (which right now I'm not able to) then there's really no way for me deliver this intent.

Edit:

Quote
this is nothing todo with values, this is a system

Oh right, when I meant values here, I don't mean something explicitly concrete. I just mean perspectives.

If you perceive a name change as something helpful for example then that name change is major where as I'm coming from a perspective of it being a wording and a wording from my perspective is not that different of a system from say something like what app did for her software.

It's kind of like some people seeing colors in their folders as something that helps in their productivity and is a system in itself while other people may see the color of a folder as merely aesthetic.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 06:48:57 AM by Paul Keith »

40hz

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2011, 08:36:42 AM »
@tomos-

Funny. I use a two colum sheet too.

Except mine has the second column divided into three sections.

The left colum is the big everything task list labelled "Stuff I should do"

The right colum has the top half for urgent or priority tasks like this system. It's labelled "Stuff I need to do today."

The bottom half is split into two sections The top part is labeled "People I need to see/Places I need to be" which I guess is just a long winded way of saying appointments. The bottom is labeled "Things I need to pay/buy"

The entire back of the sheet is for notes, sketches, or whatever.

The whole thing fits on a half sheet of graph paper which gets folded and put in my shirt pocket with the "need to do" part facing out.

Interesting how similar all these systems are. But like you said, it's often some tiny detail or trick that makes it work for you. In my case, it's the funky column labels that do it for me. Makes it feel less like nagging and more friendly in tone. 

As a result, I actually use this sheet.
 :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 08:44:40 AM by 40hz »

Paul Keith

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2011, 09:05:06 AM »
Quote
Interesting how similar all these systems are. But like you said, it's often some tiny detail or trick that makes it work for you. In my case, it's the funky column labels that do it for me. Makes it feel less like nagging and more friendly in tone.  

Well again, to play devil's advocate, and sort of to re-attempt to prove that I understand SuperFocus - the two systems aren't the same at all.

SuperFocus is well...as it says - a focus system. If this were designed as a software it would be something like CCleaner.

The other, despite it being two column with one column beingd details, is an overview system. If it was designed as a software, it would be closer to a PC Auditor like Belarc Adviser or even just the property windows of an application.

The intention is different too. Properties are more like View -> Edit and the more detail that's in there, the better as it's chopping down the left list (assuming the left area is a list and not a category like several projects)

If something like that is done with SuperFocus, it breaks down. The left list can't be static or chopped down or a master list. It has to be cleaned in sequence or moved below. Basically the same as AutoFocus. Can't do the next item? Skip it and put it last or somewhere else depending on the version. The right side is not a prioritizer despite the category. It's sort of like a motivator and a reminder.

You do AutoFocus but the right side keeps you aware of whether you are doing important tasks (not necessarily should/need). AutoFocus and SuperFocus is all about Do or Skip. What that means is that you can get lost in the flow of striking tasks out without finding out most of what you did are things that aren't important to you.

It's also important that there's no or little "page". The system is not really the template or the words on one page. The page instead is used as a task limiter to bypass the ordering or categorization of the tasks. Kind of like moving your files to a partition first and then deleting the items in the clogged partition one by one and anything that can't be deleted or you're unsure - you instantly move to the next page as if it was another partition. You're not allowed to treat a page as if it was a window to a list. I know it sounds oxymoronic considering it's a to-do list but that's what the system is hinged on. Right column: windshield mirror. Not the radio, not the fuel meter, not the clock, not the folders besides the car seat. It's quick glance then bam! bam! bam! bam! bam! no? bam! move...bam! bam! bam! quick glance...bam!


tomos

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 09:08:01 AM »
Interesting how similar all these systems are. But like you said, it's often some tiny detail or trick that makes it work for you. In my case, it's the funky column labels that do it for me. Makes it feel less like nagging and more friendly in tone. 

As a result, I actually use this sheet.
 :)

good for you :)
What I liked about Autofocus system was that you could choose what you most wanted to do, but it was too friendly a system for someone like me - I need that urgent column!
My problem till now has been that I've never found a system that I actually stuck with. I've never found a system that I even properly got off the ground with :-\

I think the functionality is definitely in the details - in any system. Well, for me at any rate - I do know people who simply write a new straight-forward todo list each day - and it works. I guess it depends on your character and what exactly it is that needs to get done and 'where' you're coming from - me, I'm Captain Chaos ;-)
Tom

tomos

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2011, 09:28:06 AM »
With my minimal experience/knowledge, I'd say that seems like a good description Paul :up:

The right side is not a prioritizer despite the category. It's sort of like a motivator and a reminder.
-
that's the only very minor thing I'd disagree with - everything in the right column must be acted on before moving on to the next page.
That column seems like all three to me:
"a prioritizer . . . a motivator and a reminder"

Two things left in that particular column for me, I'd better go (I have to admit, one of them I do NOT want to do...)
Tom

Paul Keith

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2011, 09:39:33 AM »
Thanks, I think I missed that part. I thought it was - if you can't do one of the right parts, move it back to the left column on the next page and then re-ask yourself whether you want to move it to the right side again.

As far as prioritizer, again I feel it can't be helped. So few systems respect priorities. Then there's the opposite, so many systems overvalue arbitrary priorities.

Whenever you get a truer prioritizer that's accepted by the masses, it often involves things like the two minute rule or the 15-30 day habit before dropping something rule and it just seems like a prioritizer is you already knowing what your priorities are and just re-organizing it in a linear top down model with few to no standard template of costs and effects outside of the users' own instincts.

P.S. Thank you for giving me a chance to clarify myself without going on full ignore mode.

Edit: In fairness though, SuperFocus does have a truer priority system but it's more of a backup mode:

Quote
When you visit a page which is full (i.e. both Column 1 and Column 2 are full), all Column 1 tasks on that page must be either actioned or dismissed.

Edit #2: On further magnifying on the image of Forster's notes though, it seems the right column is being a bit deceptive.

It's not just for unfinished and urgent tasks, it's for recurring habitual tasks.

The first entry seems to just be a crossed out entry of the word "Eat".

Now it may have sub-tasks and I can't verify this since I can't read the next few words but it seems unlikely considering the way SuperFocus Works.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 09:47:34 AM by Paul Keith »

tomos

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Re: Mark Forster's Autofocus system becomes *Superfocus*
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2011, 10:19:25 AM »
When you've worked on something in column #2 and want to move on - i.e. it's still unfinished, it gets re-entered in column #2, but on the following page.

Recurring tasks normally go in column #1 - but I guess, if they urgent, why not in the urgent column...
I'm only building up my list yet, I already have a couple of questions so will have to visit the forum at Forster's site at some stage.
Tom