The AutoFocus Time Management Method is a flexible and intuitive system designed to increase productivity and reduce the stress associated with managing tasks. Created by Mark Forster, a time management coach and author, this method emphasizes a balance between structure and flexibility, allowing users to tackle tasks in a way that aligns with their natural workflow.

Conceptual Overview

The core idea behind the AutoFocus Method is to work with one’s natural tendency to focus on tasks that are most appealing at a given moment. This method differs from traditional time management approaches that often require rigid scheduling and prioritization.

Key Components of the AutoFocus Method

1. Master Task List

All tasks, irrespective of their nature or priority, are recorded in a single, comprehensive list. This master list serves as the central point of the method.

2. Continuous Review

The method encourages continuous review of the list, allowing individuals to choose tasks that they feel most inclined to complete at any given time.

3. Intuitive Task Selection

Instead of strictly prioritizing tasks, users are guided to select tasks based on their current mental state, energy levels, and interest.

Implementing the AutoFocus Method

1. Creating the Master List

Begin by listing all tasks, big or small, on a single sheet or notebook. This includes everything from significant work projects to minor chores.

2. Working Through the List

Browse through the list and work on tasks that stand out or feel most appropriate to tackle at that moment. The choice should be intuitive rather than based on urgency or importance.

3. Marking and Reviewing Tasks

After working on a task, mark it in a way that indicates its status (e.g., completed, in progress, or needs further action).

4. Regular Review and Refresh

Periodically review the list. Completed tasks are crossed off, and uncompleted tasks are rewritten at the end of the list, ensuring they remain visible and are reconsidered regularly.

Advantages of the AutoFocus Method

1. Flexibility

This method adapts to the user’s mental state and energy levels, making it highly flexible and personalized.

2. Reduced Overwhelm

By having all tasks in one list and choosing tasks intuitively, it reduces the stress of prioritizing and scheduling.

3. Increased Productivity

Users often find that they complete more tasks as they are choosing tasks that they are naturally inclined to do at that moment.

4. Easy to Implement

The simplicity of a single list and intuitive task selection makes it easy to adopt and maintain.

Practical Applications

1. Daily Work and Personal Tasks

Ideal for managing everyday work and personal tasks, allowing a seamless blend of both spheres.

2. Creative Projects

Beneficial for creative work where flexibility and following one’s intuition are key.

3. Managing Fluctuating Workloads

Effective for situations where workloads and priorities change frequently.

Tips for Success

1. Be Honest with Task Selection

Choose tasks based on genuine inclination, not just ease or avoidance of harder tasks.

2. Regularly Refresh the List

Keep the list updated to ensure all tasks are reconsidered over time.

3. Use alongside Other Methods

The AutoFocus Method can be used in conjunction with other time management systems for greater control and organization.

Limitations and Considerations

While the AutoFocus Method offers flexibility, it may not be suitable for those who require a more structured approach or have strict deadlines. It’s also important to ensure that critical and time-sensitive tasks are not consistently overlooked in favor of more appealing tasks.


The AutoFocus Time Management Method offers a unique and adaptable approach to managing tasks and productivity. By aligning with the user’s natural inclinations and energy levels, it fosters a more intuitive and stress-free way of working through tasks. While it may not suit everyone’s needs, especially in environments with rigid deadlines, it provides a valuable tool for those seeking a more flexible and less overwhelming approach to time management.

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