People that know me a bit know that I’m a big fan of GTD (Getting Things Done), the personal productivity methodology created by David Allen. However, that did not prevent me from trying a few other approaches, one of them being “AutoFocus” by Mark Forster (please note that there is now a new system: SuperFocus).
Although GTD undoubtedly helped my greatly reduce the level of stress associated with all my work to do, I still sometimes feel the problem of procrastination. Having all my commitments written down allows me to relax and… do something else! Indeed, I work better under pressure, so this is not really a problem. Yet, sometimes, I envy people who can just crush through things and get them done.
This is where AutoFocus comes to play for me. Out of its simplicity (as compared to GTD; yet, I’m convinced that GTD is easy and I wrote about this earlier here - David Allen himself tells it!) there’s a rule that forces its users to achieve some things. That rule states that you can’t turn a page until you’ve worked on all of the right column (urgent or stuff not yet finished).
This is powerful! As you know there are other things you would like to work on other pages, you’re forced by the system to first finish urgent or previous stuff.
Indeed, this refrain yourself from going too fast and thus creates an expectation feeling. By forcing you to slow down it indeed speeds up the finishing of tasks. Really what I needed!
Of course, it won’t prevent anyone from surfing and emailing, but at least, some more things will get done.
What’s more, you can combine this with GTD by forcing yourself to work at least on one task on each page of your GTD system (which is easy with mine since it’s paper-based).
Now, in “pure GTD”, if you feel like you can relax and do something else, it also means that you trust your system and that, being confident about your plate of work, doing something else is actually the best thing to do now!