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Fractal Planning Definitions

NOTE: this document is a work in progress.

As I develop the Work With Flow Workshop, I gain clarity about some of the terms I’m using to describe the fractal planning system. Working definitions are starting to crystalize.

I call them “working” definitions to highlight the fact that they are not complete or bulletproof definitions. In philosopher-ese, the definitions don’t provide necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for identifying the things they define.

Instead these definitions do other kinds of “work”. They serve to standardize my use of the terms, give a pretty good idea of the meaning of the terms, and to provide a clear sense of how terms are related to each other.

I thought it would be good to have a post on the blog to keep track of fractal planning definitions. This can serve as a reference resource. I intend to add to this post when new working definitions reveal themselves.

For now they are grouped conceptually. I might opt for an alphabetical listing at some point.

Fractal Planning (working) Definitions

FRACTAL PLANNING SYSTEM: a fractal planning system is a productivity system that gives prominence to fractal organizing structures and reactive flow management techniques.

PRODUCTIVITY SYSTEM: A productivity system is a collection of organizing structures and productivity procedures

ORGANIZING STRUCTURE: An organizing structure is a place to put, arrange, and find stuff you need to complete your projects.

PRODUCTIVITY PROCEDURE: A productivity procedure is a set of actions you take (or outsource or automate) to make progress on your projects. A productivity procedure is a general purpose set of actions that can be used on any project, as opposed to a specific series of steps that are unique to a particular project. Example: the clear mind procedure.

FRACTAL ORGANIZING STRUCTURE: A fractal organizing structure is an organizing structure with the following features:

  • An outlining tool with:
  • Focus Features (zoom/pan/show/hide)
  • Fast breakdown of tasks to arbitrary depth
  • Rearranging Features (task and children serve as a single unit)
  • Task Processing Features (various)

REACTIVE FLOW MANAGEMENT: Reactive flow management is a method for maintaining a state of flow as we work. It assumes we will work with flow when we have a compelling outcome, and that some things (flow killers) will distract us out of this state from time to time. Reactive flow management uses flow restoration procedures to counter each kind of flow killer as they show up.

FLOW: Flow is a mental state that involves fully-immersed, energized focus on a project while working on it.

FLOW KILLER: A flow killer is something that distracts a person out of their state of flow.

FLOW RESTORATION PROCEDURE: A flow restoration procedure is designed to counter-act a particular kind of flow killer. A flow restoration procedure should not take long to implement, so that flow is not substantially interrupted, and should eventually become internalized as a habit. Example: when your flow is interrupted by compulsive looping on unrelated thoughts, the clear mind procedure is an effective flow restoration procedure.

There are many terms left to define. If there are any terms you would like to see defined, let me know by leaving a comment below.

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