Autofocus, an organisation system designed by personal organisation author Mark Forster, is available for all. If you're looking for a linear, list-based system to help you get things done, Autofocus stresses simplicity and speed. The Autofocus system is oriented around dealing with work in a consistent and frequent way, to help workers quickly knock down mountains of work. The entire system can be used with nothing more than a pencil and a notebook filled with lined paper. From the quick start guide on Mark's site:
The system consists of one long list of everything that you have to do, written in a ruled notebook (25-35 lines to a page ideal). As you think of new items, add them to the end of the list. You work through the list one page at a time in the following manner:
1. Read quickly through all the items on the page without taking action on any of them.
2. Go through the page more slowly looking at the items in order until one stands out for you.
3. Work on that item for as long as you feel like doing so
4. Cross the item off the list, and re-enter it at the end of the list if you haven't finished it
5. Continue going round the same page in the same way. Don't move onto the next page until you complete a pass of the page without any item standing out
6. Move onto the next page and repeat the process
7. If you go to a page and no item stands out for you on your first pass through it, then all the outstanding items on that page are dismissed without re-entering them. (N.B. This does not apply to the final page, on which you are still writing items). Use a highlighter to mark dismissed items.
8. Once you've finished with the final page, re-start at the first page that is still active.
There are additional instructions for the various steps fleshed out more thoroughly on the main Autofocus page, but that stands as the meat of it—a large list that you manually renew each day. If it can be likened to another system, it might be similar to a simplified weekly review from the Getting Things Done system, only on a daily basis. Perusing the user forum for Autofocus you'll find many people sharing the sentiment that Autofocus has helped them get things done for the very reason some have decried it: it's extremely simple, linear, and tangible. For more information about the system, check out the full write up at the link below. Photo by Paul Worthington.