Ostruk's planning workflow description

None of the big things can be achieved without planning. The process of planning helps us to use our resources carefully and  keep the focus on what is needed. However it's hard to find nowadays a good methodology resources that will help us to achieve our goals. Most of of the advices end at a "list of things to do" (sometimes with priority sorting) within particular range of time (usually one day). Of course, the best thing to do is to plan every hour of your day as Elon Musk or Bill Gates do, but this method is suitable for most of the people and it's hard to include long term goals without creating even more plans for the future.

Ostruk's planning workflow, which is a part of Ostruk's planning methodology, tries to present some of the main ideas and recommendations for simple and effective planning of your long term goals. It is a way to plan your better balanced life and achieve great results in personal development.

Some of the ideas were implemented into Smartphone Application called bPlanner  (link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abstractplanner ). So far it's in beta version and only Android app is available. Release of the app for iOS is planned for December 2017.

It does not provide you with the full methodology of idea creation, planing and reasoning, but instead just give abstract framework for easier execution of the process. Below you can find some more information about methodology

Background and reasons

  • Human brain is not effective in solving hard problems with a lot of components, so they need to be decomposed into smaller pieces in most of the cases.
  • Human brain can work effectively on at most one task simultaneously, and it takes a lot of resources to  keep in mind aka "store" other tasks in the background (aka remmember to do something else). 
  • Human brain may be exchaused aka "getting bored" when performing on one task for a long period of time (because same neurons are used over and over again, but regeneration takes longer time), meaning that big tasks should not be only decomposed to smaller ones but also stretched out in time. To stay productive, time gaps should be filled by other tasks of other areas of interest. 
  • Most of the tasks require continuous engagement in order to bring some meaningfull results (like learning languages, developing skills, growing muscles or even building a computer programs). Partial engagement with long time gaps will lead to loose of efects gathered before and reset of achievements to this point. Often people, due to the limits of continuous focusing and energy consumption of our mind, are proactive only on the initial state of goal evolving. That leads to the problems, because many goals, if not developed continuously are being refreshed to the backward state (like learning what you've already learned).
  • [This may be controversal, but it's true for most of the people] There's too much overhead with most of techniques and apps available on the market now. Planning hour by hour is not obligatory if only 20% of our actions bring some meaningfull result. It's better to focus on those 20%. In most planners they also make a focus on days, instead of tasks. For example, we make a list of tasks for today and tomorrow. But if we're in a bad mood we may omit some, or forget about something. In ostruk methodology we swap the concepts completely by focusing on our goals, not on the time they should be done. However we enforce planning and completion of the middle tasks during the particular time periods.

General description

The process of planning can be done on a piece of paper or using dedicated Android App.

Some of the main workflow ideas:
  •  Define the areas of development you want to be better in. The optimal number is having about 5 to 8 areas at the same time. Hovewer one can define up to 20 areas. Any bigger task that should be decomposed into smaller ones can be called as "Area of development". For example it may be gathering documents for some project (few of them should be written, few collected, maybe some prior research is needed etc) or developing your skills in some way or anything that actually could last longer than few days. 
  • You must define at least one main task for each area during the the day (for example, write a proposal today or talk to the layer or any task that can be completed in one day). 
  • Having just one task for area during the day is important point in the methodology, since you can keep the focus on one (the most important for that time) thing you need to achieve.
  • It's better to plan your tasks for the next days in the evening of the previous day. 
  • Tasks should be completed at the end of the day. Otherwise tasks will be posponed and will have a priority for the next day. You could not complete tasks for the following days untill you will do that for all of the previous ones. That's very important, because most of the tasks may be not so comfortable (break our comfort zone) and often people will reschedule the task to the future as long as they can. However when you know that you must do it today and there's no other choise and your mind will feel more comfortable. 
More advices for the workflow & tasks:
- Tasks should be proactive, meaning that they should involve some soft of creation. For example reading an article is not a very good task. Reading an article and writing a short story/summary on it is a good task.

- You should focus on the value of the taks you're trying to complete. Writing a summary of the article by just extracting information from initial one is not a very good task. But summarizing with your own additions or with combining it with other knowledge you have (your notes/review on article) is a good task. So what I wanted to say, is that from every action you take should be some valuable result for you or for other people.

- You must focus on one task at the same time, realizing also how this task is moving you closer to the defined area goal. One can also define tasks for a week or month period of time as a task to achieve in a longer period of time.

- You can have your normal TO-DO list aside, however tasks in to-do list should be simple and you should be able to complete them in maximum two hours of work (in the main page of the app + button is created specifically for quick tasks)

Android App description

The main view of the app is Calendar Grid, where we can set our day-to-day goals in respect to our Areas of development. 

The app will remind you about setting your goals for the next day as well as uncompleted goals if you have such. Setting goals in advance and completing them in time is very important if you want to get some results.

When you open the app for the first time, you'll also see the main view, where tasks that are not done yet (until today) are listed. You can easily mark task as done or set a reminder for it by swiping right or left respectively. 

Also in the new version of the App there's possibility to add "quick tasks" (small tasks, that can be done today). You can do that using plus button on the main view.

If you'd like the idea, please rate the app and write your reviews. If you have any questions about workflow, feel free to write a comment or contact me directrly.