January 16, 2009

Autofocus


Last month I posted about a time management book I'd read, Do It Tomorrow by Mark Forster and announced my intention of switching to that from David Allen's Getting Things Done method. Well, I tried it and it was going ok, but was still causing me a few problems.  It was refreshing to finish off a list and not feel overwhelmed by things coming in at you, knowing that you'd handle it soon.  I was still using my GTD tickler file and was turning all the "Someday/Maybes" into what Forster called "Current Initiatives."  It was ok, but some new habits to learn.  His "Little and Often" strategy (usually in conjunction with a kitchen timer!) is a great way to tackle my procrastination.  And since I was handling everything with my closed lists, I was free at last from that burdensome "Weekly Review."  I was just not always completing every single thing on the "I will do this or else" list and that was causing me guilt.  Or I'd avoid putting things on the list.  Weird stuff like that.  I thought I just needed a couple more weeks to get into the groove.

Then Forster started blogging about a new method he was developing and wanted Beta testers.  I think I've made it clear I'm not an early adopter.  I figured I'd keep up with his blog and wait until his next book came out or something.  I mean here I was just starting off with DIT, teaching full time and in graduate school with a family.  I don't have time to do any serious reading or fiddling around with this stuff.

But he made it sound like the best thing since like TiVo or Google or something.  I knew he was blogging about it and that it was causing all kinds of discussion on his forum, but like I said, I don't even have time to read that stuff right now.  I commented on his blog that I was dying to know a thumbnail sketch just out of curiosity, but I don't have time to adopt anything yet.

He convinced me to register for the beta and just read through the directions.  It was a free painless email and then I could do with it what I wanted.  When I got the beta testing directions a day or so later I printed them out, read them through twice and laughed.  It couldn't be this easy.

It's that easy.  You can start the new system before you finish reading the whole of the directions.  All you need is a notepad, pen and highlighter (or a blank word processing document).  My tickler file still works.  You still need your own calendar for things that must be done at a certain time.  You don't need "contexts," or "weekly reviews" or anything.   You don't need to "get into the groove." It's the DIT method on crack.    It's basically an organic reshuffling of closed lists that feels open--but there's no way you'll get that unless you try it out.

If you want to know about it, go to his website and on the right put in your email for "Subscribe to Newsletter" but on the next page instead of subscribing to the newsletter you'll click on the box for Beta Tester.

It will seem too easy to believe, but it works.  You have to follow the directions exactly.  You might not believe it will work or that you'll miss a deadline or something but I promise you won't.

Just trust the system, grasshopper.

(Oh, and if you go for it, let me know what you think.) 

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