We need to reorient how we prioritize our daily tasks. The fact remains that human beings tend to perceive certain tasks as more important than they are. Our brains have evolved to look at things that are the most threatening feeling to us at the moment, but that may not serve us well when getting things done. We also tend to choose the easiest tasks to do first. Today, we will look at the autofocus time management technique and how it might correct this issue.
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What is Autofocus Time Management?
The Autofocus technique is a way of looking at the things we need to get done in our day in a whole new way. It puts a specific emphasis on what we prioritize, and it helps us understand that there may be times when we would be better served by using a little more of our energy on the most important things.
The Autofocus technique is a time management technique meant to take away some of the old assumptions we have about managing our time. In other words, the autofocus time management technique may be particularly useful in many ways. For example, it takes our basic human psychology and flips things around as necessary to help us get our ducks more in a row.
Some have stated that Autofocus is similar to the Pareto time management method in that the Pareto method suggests that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. It may also be possible to leverage the Autofocus method to get much more done with less effort.
Origins of the Autofocus Time Management Method
A man named Mark Forster was sick and tired of receiving the same old advice time and time again about how to manage time. What he constantly heard from people was about how he needed to prioritize certain tasks. However, he was never given an accurate way to figure out how to put his tasks in the order that they needed to be accomplished. Instead, he was left to fend for himself when figuring this out.
Forster discovered that when left to his own devices, he was unable to structure his day in the most effective ways. He might get a lot done on paper, but the true impact of his productivity was poor. He had bad time management habits, and he felt that the most important tasks of the day were always getting away from him. Thus, he decided to develop the autofocus method for time management.
People have found many benefits from this time management method because they find themselves constantly distracted in today’s world. The inability to maintain attention on a specific subject for a long time is a frightening situation that many of us experience regularly. Thus, Autofocus may prove helpful to many of us.
How the Autofocus Method Works
To best understand how the autofocus method works, let’s look at Billy’s story. He is someone who decided that he would give this method a try because he wanted to attain better results from the work that he was putting into bettering himself.
Billy decided he wanted to start with the basics, so he grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and decided right then and there that he would write down everything he needed to accomplish over the next few days. This felt like a significant first step to him as he realized that it all begins with something as simple as paying attention to what he needs to do.
When a new task comes to mind, Billy will write it down on paper to add to his overall collection of things he needs to do. He knows that writing these things down helps them stick in his mind better, and he sincerely appreciates the ability to think through everything that he needs to work on.
Reading the List Slowly
After writing down literally everything that he needed to accomplish, Billy decided that it might be best to read through the list carefully and take note of the items that stuck out the most in his mind. He knew that this is what the autofocus time management method recommends, and he felt that the best thing he could do for himself made sure he recognized which parts of the list were the most important to him.
He didn’t want to leave anything out, but he also wanted to ensure he wasn’t putting specific emphasis on the wrong items. Thus, reading through the list helped him sort those things out.
Knock Out Each Task That Stands Out
Now comes the moment for getting things done! Billy reads through his list again and again to make special notes of any items that stand out to him. He feels the need to continue to do this time and time again while working down the list. He stops and tackles any item that stands out as something that needs to be done first. Once that item is completed, then he moves on to the next one on the list that needs to be done.
He continues this process over and over again until all items have been completed. Doing it this way, Billy saves himself a considerable amount of time and energy on his projects. Plus, at the end of the day, the most important tasks are taken care of, and he can relax knowing that he has them all squared away.
Main Principles of Autofocus Method
When working with Autofocus, you need to know about three main principles and spend some time thinking about them. If you can work out how these three principles play a role in your ability to be successful with the autofocus method, then you will understand why it is so important to use this method in the first place.
1. Making Progress Starts by Writing it All Out
Get all of your organizational thoughts out of your mind and onto paper like you would with a daily to-do list. You will feel so much better once you have put everything down on paper in a way that allows you to see how your day should play out. You will make a lot more progress on your goals if and when you take the time to write them out.
2. You Know What Truly Matters
The fact remains that you likely know what truly needs to get done in your day and what you can put off the back burner. However, you need to be honest with yourself about which category each item falls under. The autofocus method forces you to do so by reading over your list of to-do items time and time again until you have eliminated all of the items that actually need to get done first.
3. There are Enough Hours in the Day if You Use Them Properly
You have more time on your hands than you realize if you learn how to use your hours properly. You shouldn’t fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself or thinking that you don’t have the time you need to get things done. That is a defeated mindset that will not serve you well. Instead, you need to understand that you truly do have the time you need in your day as long as you are willing to put it to use. You just need to work on your time management habits.
Why Autofocus Time Management Actually Works
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality” – George Lucas.
The Autofocus method actually works because it forces the practitioner to get things done that matter deeply to them. They are not allowed to move on to the next task until they have completed the tasks that are the most important. Working down the list line by line helps them see how many important things they might have been skipping over before. Now, they can finally see all of those items that they have been neglecting. With those important items staring them in the face, it is a lot harder to ignore the things that they know need to get done.
Sometimes, we have to twist our arms to get ourselves back in line and do what we should have done from the start. If that is the position you find yourself in now, know that there are many others like you in the same position, and you are not the only one who struggles to stay on task. Fortunately, the autofocus method can help put your back on track.
DOs and Don’ts of Autofocus:
- Remember to write down your list every day
- Give yourself the space you need to get everything done
- Always seek to add additional tasks that you know need to be tackled first and foremost
- Try to use this tactic in conjunction with other productivity methods until you find what works best for you
- Forget to write down your list
- Get too harsh on yourself for not getting it right off the bat
- Look at what others are doing and try to compete with them
- Overschedule yourself
These are a few of the DO’s and Don’ts of the autofocus method. You should pay close attention to them because it is easy to drift from your original goals if you allow yourself to get distracted by the bright and shiny objects that will surely come into your life at points. You need to keep those distractions to a minimum so you can focus on what truly matters. If you can’t do this, then you are putting yourself at risk of not getting your entire list accomplished each day. That is not an acceptable situation, and you need to do everything in your power to get yourself back into using this time management style as it is meant to be used.
Autofocus Similarity to Getting Things Done
There are certainly some similarities across different time management systems, and many people have noted that Autofocus is similar to Getting Things Done in many ways. They note that the two plans feature the same ultimate goal of helping people get their various tasks done and make progress on their daily goals. If you have used the Getting Things Done method before in your life to any level of success, then you may want to consider the Autofocus method as yet another way that you can accomplish some tasks. They differ from one another, but they are similar enough that you will likely find enough crossover benefits to make Autofocus your preferred method.
Look at all the options afforded to you to tackle your time management issues. You may discover that you have more flexible options than you even realized. Autofocus can be the latest weapon in your arsenal to take care of your daily chores more effectively.