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Autofocus

CNET Editors' review

We tend to be somewhat dubious of time-management software. More often than not, the time spent creating tasks, dividing them into smaller tasks within tasks, assigning them priority levels, and setting reminders is time that could be better spent just getting your work done. Autofocus, however, is different. This innovative program relies on a simple process and your own intuition to keep you productive, and we think it's a great alternative to more structured time-management options.

In truth, the Autofocus system could be followed using a regular notebook, but the fact that there's a software version makes sense given how much of our work takes place on computers these days. The software itself is little more than a virtual notebook with a few extra features, and the heart of the system consists of simply making a list of things that you need to get done, reviewing the list for a task that jumps out at you, and working on that task until it's completed or you no longer feel like working on it. Move unfinished tasks to the end of the list and then pick the next thing that jumps out at you to start on. It sounds simplistic, yet it makes perfect sense. Have you ever had a task that you put off for a while and then suddenly, for no particular reason, felt inclined to take care of it? Autofocus harnesses this subconscious tendency to prioritize and lets you get your work done without forcing yourself to do things you're not yet in the mood for. Of course, sometimes you just have to do things that you don't want to do--we doubt that we're suddenly going to get in the mood to go clean the litter box--but Autofocus allows you to work on big or unappealing tasks a little at a time and to place them in the context of the other things that need to get done.

A well-written online Help file explains the process in more detail, and there's even a lengthy video tutorial in which the program's creator explains its use. Overall, we think that Autofocus is a very interesting system, and we recommend it to anyone who hasn't had much luck trying to prioritize their work the old-fashioned way.

Publisher's Description

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Autofocus