Fluidity in Mid-Range Planning

In my NaNoWriMo book I repeatedly explain the need to have steps for progression. It’s simply a part of good planning for habits, something we rarely do.

Case in point, I haven’t done this for writing. I had a flurry of writing, accomplished a lot, but now I’m at this point, stuck because I don’t know what to do next. That should have been conceived and written down somewhere long ago. But this is natural, especially in the “pushing a task to mastery” portion of a mature habit.

Lydia suggested that not only should this list be somewhere written down, but it should also be listed in order of importance. And it may very well be that some tasks, as they come up, go to the very front. It should function like a flow chart, preventing this paralysis that I’m in write now.

For example, I’ll list out what I want to accomplish while writing.

-Improve writing by lowering the gap between intending to do a work writing article and the fear that prevents me from actually starting
-Pitching the articles I have ideas for professionally
-Working on weak points of writing - for me it’s inputting research and reportage that makes, for me, a professionally written article
-Learning how to pitch with skill, pegging current events to sell the pitch

A few points - a lot of these things can and should be broken up. It would be great, for example, to get to the point that the time it takes to do an article as I do them now lowers. So - one sentence of work writing, then a paragraph, then half of a task, then a full article per day, rough draft, to a full article completed with editing.

The other point is that there are always going to be things that get in the way, especially in this task. If I have an article commissioned, that will have to go to the top of the list.

The problem is how to organize this with clarity.

How Lack of Proper Weekly Planning Caused Depletion And Messed up Progress in My Week

Like my title? Couldn’t think of one.

So yesterday my project went of course - I ended up getting quite depleted. Willpower reserves 0 after bashing my head into my writing habit. And not really having direction in my marketing habit. This caused me to mess up eating and not record yesterday. Why did this happen?

A number of reasons. One was not properly planning my week. I scheduled a bunch of tasks for Monday which I KNEW I wasn’t going to finish. So I spend the rest of the week trying to catch up, which is not a good feeling, AND it ended up messing up the course of other things I had to do later in the week.

So first - properly plan things out. A part of that is to really break a part tasks. I can’t just say - “Throw up a huge post with pics on my website.”

That task isn’t one task - it’s writing the post, it’s editing it, it’s sourcing the pictures, etc. By NOT breaking it up I am encoding failure in the planning part of my week - I’ve guaranteed failure.

Breaking up tasks is also important because it contributes to a flow state. You get the most progress by having small accomplishable tasks that are challenging that you can go through. Each victory contributes to a momentum of success.

Secondly get up earlier.  I have a sleeping problem. Whenever I wake up late, like I’ve been doing since being in Houston, I wake up behind. Everything shifts. I wake up, and people want me to do stuff. I’m always several steps behind. I’m beginning to understand why a lot of authors got up early early in the morning. There’s no way to get into a groove if you’re being rushed.

But it’s not particularly surprising that all this happened. I’m BAD at planning, and this was only the second time during this project I’ve ever really done it. It really should be a habit for me, as should an early morning wakeup schedule.

Beyond Superhabits

The more I ponder the state of my habits the more I now think that superhabits are just the beginning.

Nested Habits
My writing habit is solid, but I’m having problems with specific aspects of it. Today I started pitching, but the fear set in and it took me a lot to overcome it. A few days ago I had the same problem with writing research intensive articles.

When I first start any habit half of the problem is getting over that fear and procrastination that stops me from actually doing the task. It’s why TinyHabits are so great. You do a little, and doing a lot becomes nothing eventually.

I have no problem writing a lot of things - but I have problems when focusing on specific aspects of the trade. That’s to be expected. My frustration enters when I mistake mastery in the general task of writing with mastery over a specific aspect, like research writing.

What I should be doing is nesting writing - forming a new research writing habit within the slot of my already formed general writing habit. How would this work? The same as any habit - start small to overcome the starting inertia of the habit, understand that it will get harder before it gets easier, and keep going until it’s as automatic as any other superhabit.

Willpower Cycling
In my general theory, as a habit approaches 84 of the SRHI (max automaticity), it also approaches 0 Endurance, and therefore approaches 0 Willpower. I don’t quite understand the relationship between Endurance and Willpower (and I’ll be keeping this simple by just referencing Willpower), but what I can say is that the Willpower needed to do a habit gets less and less through the process of habituation.

That doesn’t mean it goes away. It’s a very dependent relationship. Willpower is one depleteable resource, but through the process of habit formation you are also building your Willpower reserves. And it fluctuates depending on other drains on that resource.

For example, if I’m trying to bust a plateau of one of my superhabits, it’s going to drain more Willpower than just skating along in superhabit mode. So cycling plateau busting protocols and habit formation protocols is a necessity.

What do I mean by this? It means I’m working against myself if I, say, start doing crossfit to bust past a plateau in my bodyweight exercises AND at the same time start building a brad new flossing habit. I’ve suddenly got two drains on a resource that might only be equipped to handle one.

Mid-Range Programs
I am noticing a deficit in mid-range planning for my planning, and this has to incorporate willpower cycling theory. I’ve got my long-range plan - this general habit project. I’ve got my daily list of individual habits that I do and record daily.

There’s a certain satisfaction and security a weightlifter has when following a training program like Russian volume training or Rippetoe. It means that there’s never a time week-to-week, month-to-month where he suffers doubt as to whether or not there is a greater progression. I don’t have that in many of my habits.

I suffer from a lack of mid-range planning - I frequently feel like I’m drowning, churning my legs in the mud, and though that might not be the case, a part of the security of a  mid-range plan is KNOWING that progress is being made, that there is a hand off from week to week or month to month rather than just toiling away.

What to Do
Lydia suggested to plan out the week and/or the month. This way I can gauge what I should push (plateau busting, etc) and what I should just late skate in order to do good work in other theaters.

What’s the thing I needs the most work? How should I gauge improvement. And most importantly how do I gauge improvement across weeks. These should be like little mini-projects - like 30 day challenges that have discrete beginnings and ends, whose fruits are handed off to the next push.