Fofi is a simple time management system for freelancers, creatives, and consultants.
You certainly don’t need an aerospace engineering degree to grasp the core concept… Focus on the right tasks, and finish them at the right time.
Seems obvious, right?
The strength of the Fofi cards lies in their size and simplicity. At 3” x 5” they only give you enough room to write down a day’s tasks. You have to pick 10-20 at most, not a bajillion.
And yes, you write them down.
Why am I asking you to go all 1980s analog?
Because your task management app is a friggin’ distraction factory. It shows you ALL the tasks, not the handful that really matters right now.
Besides, simple tools don’t break easily. They don’t require the latest version of iOS.
Fofi forces you to mull over your day and answer important questions:
- Theme – What is today’s theme? For example, I always pick “Business Development” for Mondays, and “Relationships” for Thursdays.
- Motivation – What is today’s motivation? My motivations include making money, creating assets, passion projects, brand and reputation management, and work-life balance. (I don’t actually believe in work-life balance, but that’s a story for another time.)
- Stressors – If I can only accomplish only one or two things, what should those things be?
- Commitments – Do I have any commitments? (For example, you might have a looming deadline, lunch with a colleague, or doctor’s appointment.)
- Work – What billable work do I need to knock out and what deep work deserves attention? Do I need to spend time on planning, high-level strategy, or market research? Can I carve out a 90-minute block and make meaningful progress on a product or book? Billable work is the work that gets you paid in two weeks, and deep work is the work that gets you paid in two years (or two decades).
- Growth – How can I build my pipeline today? Do I have any quotes or projects I need to finish and send? Are new relationships, referrals, or repeat business within reach? Do I need to peruse my CRM or wake up sleepy prospects? If my pipeline has a mere trickle of leads, what can I do to mitigate that potential problem today?
- Operations – What incremental improvements can I make today? What patches of friction can I remove? Do I need to grind through emails and get to inbox zero? Do I need to send out the twice-monthly batch of invoices? Do I need to call So-and-So or schedule a haircut or buy an extra memory card?
- Etc. – What other tasks deserve need to captured (and promptly ignored)? You need a way to keep to-dos from falling through the cracks, but you don’t want to clutter the front of your Fofi card with stuff that can wait.
And that’s it.
(Wait… Did he just teach us the entire system and give away the secret sauce?)
Yes. Yes, I did.
(Why would he do that? I mean, couldn’t I just use the Fofi system and not buy the Fofi cards?)
Yes. Yes, you could.
Fair warning, though: writing down the questions every day will get really tedious really fast.
Beyond saving you a little time and hand cramps, I’d like for you to invest in Fofi cards for several reasons:
- They’re beautiful. You’ll like looking at them.
- The paper is peach-colored. Because the color stands out, you’re less likely to leave the card on your bedside table or desk after you fill it out.
- They’re relatively inexpensive: $17 for 20 cards.
- The corners are rounded at no extra charge to you.
- You need some skin in the game.
Seriously, try something different and expect different results.
Think of your investment in Fofi cards as your investment in a gym membership. You can get into shape without paying for it, but we humans tend to work harder for outcomes if we have money on the line.
Fofi cards exist to reinforce a habit of fruitfulness.
There’s a difference between productivity and fruitfulness.
Have you ever gotten to the end of a hectic day and realized that you crossed off precisely 73 tasks and not a single one of them was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING?
You were to productivity what Dwayne Johnson is to action movies and overall likability. You have blisters on your fingertips from furious typing. You asked someone to feed you green juice and biltong so that you could stay in the game.
Yet, you still neglected the most important thing. Oops.
Productivity emphasizes quantity and speed, and fruitfulness emphasizes foresight and timing.
What is the toad you need to eat in the morning so that you have nothing hanging over your head the rest of the day? What small project must you wrap up to beat a deadline? Can you trace your stress or anxiety to a single source? What decisive action can you to take to replace anxiety with peace or relief?
The secret to significant achievement is not herculean effort but focusing on the right things and finishing them at the right time.
Do less, not more.
What you ignore is just as important as what you pay attention to!
The size constraints of Fofi cards force you to pick and choose your top priorities in each category each day.
Do you know what happens when you address your top priorities five, ten, thirty days in a row?
You achieve far more than you would thought possible. You have less anxiety and more peace of mind. The day’s failures and oversights stop nattering at you. Your momentum has silenced them.
You become one of those people that other people envy because you “get s**t done.”
But that’s not because you brag about how busy you are or quote Gary V.
No, you did the most boring thing in the world. You set priorities, and you stuck to your plan. From time to time, when you get sucked into Monday’s vortex, you take a deep breath and return to your card. It takes you out of Urgency and deposits you back into Importance.
Fofi cards bring a measure of sanity to the complexity of our world. Complexity is the single biggest challenge that freelancers, creatives, and consultants face.
Fofi cards banish that complexity. If it can’t live inside of a 3”x5” piece of paper (with rounded corners, mind you), then it’s too big to tackle.
What’s the very next thing that you can do?
You can write a reminder on the back of today’s card to formulate a plan for GARGANTUAN CHALLENGE later.
Until then, you’re going to pour your time into the series of cascading pools that is Fofi. Once you finish your Stressors and Commitments, you move on to Billable and Deep Work. Then, any leftover time can spill down into Growth and Operations.
You may move tasks up or back in your queue based on the day’s theme or your energy level. (For example, if deep work has left me feeling like I got kicked in the brain, I might switch to inbox management until I recover. I also might go for a walk with my phone on silent.)
That’s it, my dears.
Write down a simplified, prioritized to-do list each day—or better yet, the night before—and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
Focus. Finish. Fofi.
Today is the day you get unstuck and stop spinning your wheels. You don’t need more apps, more caffeine, and more Medium articles about how Warren Buffett folds his underwear and how Tim
Ferriss hacks his omelet.
You need a simple tool that can help you keep complexity and notifications and Kim Kardashian’s latest publicity stunt at bay. (Spoiler Alert: Kim got into a pillow fight with a giant jar of peanut butter. YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE PHOTOS.)
You won’t become a better version of yourself by letting other people dictate how you spend your time.
I had to draw a line in the sand, and Fofi cards are that line.
I hope you’ll buy some cards today and use them to take massive action.
By “massive” I obviously mean small, incremental focusings and finishings that accrete over time into a habit of fruitfulness and a procession of satisfying achievements.
The world needs you at your best, and I know Fofi cards can help you focus and finish.
Click the button below to buy 20 or to start a monthly subscription.