Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
I love tinkering, particularly with my productivity systems. After all, it is much easier than doing the work!
Actually, I think my tinkering has been because of my severe frustration with the limitations of the systems I have tried before. So when Autofocus was announced, I decided to give it a try. It was only a few days before the paper really got to me, and I made an attempt to put Autofocus on my PDA.
Failure of My First PDA Autofocus
Two weeks later, and I had to admit my experiment was a failure. I was ignoring just about everything on my lists, and I wasn’t really getting to things on the page.
I was using priorities to make the list sort like a paper list would, but I was not using the paging the way Autofocus specified. I would just randomly scroll down without working something on the current “page”. I might pick something, or just shut the PDA off. I got nothing done. I don’t blame Autofocus, though, it was entirely my fault.
Back to Paper
At the start of this week, I decided to go back to the original for a while. I pulled out my Moleskine, and started transferring things down. Once again, like at the beginning of my Autofocus trial, I experienced a surge in productivity. It became a game where I would force myself to do something just to complete a page.
I also went to town with my highlighter. There were also several things on the list that I decided were too broad. While I want to do something musical every day, more often than not I wouldn’t, simply because I didn’t know specifically what to do (what David Allen would call an “amorphous blob”. I put those on hold until I have something specific to work for.
Another set of items were yellow-lined when I realized that they really logically should be done after other items I had on the list. For example, I had an item to redo my computer backups, but this was really dependent on the receipt of the upgraded hardware. The paper list allowed me to see dependencies I had missed before.
While I am having great success with the paper version of Autofocus, I am conscious of a fear of missing something. I think it is a perfectionism thing showing up. The truth is I haven’t missed anything, and have actually gotten some nagging tasks done that I probably never would have gotten to otherwise.
I am also struggling with doing double-entry…moving things from my PDA to the paper list, then updating the PDA at the end of the day. I don’t know how else to keep track of recurring tasks on paper, and quite frankly, if it isn’t written down, it dribbles out of my leaky mind.
I have been very pleased with the success of the Autofocus. It helps me intuitively decide what to do given my mood, energy and location. I have really accomplished a lot in a few days, and things are moving along on projects that had been stalled.
Perhaps someday I will look at putting it back into the PDA, but that will wait until I have a better feel for Autofocus and why it works for me.
Photo by Nikolay Bachiyski