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Author Archives: Jim Stone

Fractal Planning – How Deep?

One of the benefits of using a fractal planning tool such as the Fractal Planner is that you can keep breaking tasks down as far as you need to. But how many levels deep do you actually break things down? I’ve found that I rarely go more than 7 levels deep in my actual planning, […]

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Projects, Tasks, and the Meaning of Life

I want to say a few things about goal structure (this is part 3 of the Goal Setting Guide). But first . . . a quick story about a man lost in the jungle: A few years back I was simultaneously trying to finish up my Ph.D., start my own business, and help raise a […]

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Plans, Trees, and Fruit.

Imagine . . . you are plucked out of your ordinary life and transported to a new land. Perhaps you live in Kansas and a tornado sweeps you away. Or something like that. At first you’re completely bewildered. “What the heck just happened? Where am I? What should I do next?” Eventually you realize that […]

Posted in Creativity, fractal planning | Tagged | 4 Responses

The Clear Mind Procedure (Illustrated)

Hey all. I was playing around with the tool at, and thought I’d try my hand at illustrating the Work With Flow “Clear Mind Procedure”. After an hour, I came up with this. Not the prettiest graphic in the world, but I think the illustration makes the procedure very easy to understand. If you […]

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A Few Mastery Equations to Play With

Not suggesting these formulas are free from counter-examples. Just playing with some rough relationships. Understanding = structural knowledge * grasp of system dynamics Expertise = breadth of understanding * depth of understanding Mastery = expertise * internalization Creative Quantity = (Mastery + Productive Focus) * Time Creative Quality = Mastery * Curiosity * Productive Focus […]

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Motivation Wizard for the Fractal Planner

There’s a new feature in the Fractal Planner. The 2+ minute demo video is a few paragraphs down. But first, if you’ve read the eBook, “Clear Mind, Effective Action”, you’ve seen me suggest that creative individuals can handle most of their productivity needs by using one organizational strategy (Fractal Planning) and developing one set of […]

Posted in flow, fractal planning, motivation, The Fractal Planner, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Response

Choose? Or Decide?

Is it just me, or does the word “decide” feel more ominous than the word “choose”? “Choose” feels lighter and more whimsical to me. I like that. Maybe “choose” causes us to focus on the possibilities of the thing chosen, and “decide” makes us consider the possibilities of the things not chosen. “Choose” promises adventure, […]

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Stop Setting Goals that Don’t Make You Happy

Note to reader: This essay is 13,000 words long — and you should read every word. I spent 2 months writing this (and editing it ruthlessly, so it would be easy to read). I threw away over 100,000 words to wind up with these 13,000. I also spent the previous several years learning the concepts […]

Posted in goal setting | Tagged | 14 Responses

The Dark Side of Goal Setting

(The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting — Part 1) “…and I’m no different. Solemnly going about my day to day duties in my life, all the while seething underneath with unrealized dreams, expectations and regrets.” — Henry David Thoreau A long time ago in a faraway land, a boy wanted to be the greatest among […]

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Approach Goals and Avoidance Goals — Group Brainstorm

Happy Friday or Saturday — or whenever you’re reading this I want some help puzzling something out. But first . . . An Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting? I’m working on an “Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.” Two weeks ago my plan was to publish the post by today. However, as I started writing and […]

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