Set subgoal#

Given a single goal and a less-than-fully-specified plan, expand it into more detailed subplans. That is, should you take the time to produce this graph:

* b: G1
* ab: G2
* a

From this graph?

* b: G1
* a

In the language of Types of Plans in Business: Breadth, Time-frame, Specificity & Frequency, increase the specificity of the plan.


Decrease uncertainty on the weight of the original plan. That is, increase the accuracy of both the value and cost estimates on the plan, leading to an update in the weight.

Get down to a point where you can start working on the goal (a reasonable first step).


Learn faster#

We use small tasks to help develop an understanding of the bigger picture (e.g. improve how fast we get feedback, or incrementally improve notes). These tasks often unfortunately only have instrumental value (there is no increase in value from hitting them as goals) and so there is little value in writing them down unless someone else will audit your plan. For example, typing the letter t into a plain text file (with e.g. python source code) is probably not worth including in your plan.

Think small#

To force yourself into thinking in greater detail, explicitly consider some of the smallest steps you could take. For example, you can literally think the steps of your morning routine to try to improve it; how many steps do you take before you ready to start working at your computer? Do you ever walk back and forth between two places? Or do you carry what you need with you?

At your computer you can consider all the way down to how you e.g. open and close tabs (browser, text editor, tmux), when you use your mouse vs. your keyboard, and how often you need to look at the keyboard when you type.