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Mission Development Workflow

Related: Productivity

Mission development workflow pyramid by Cal Newport.

3 levels:

  1. Mission level
  2. Small research bets
  3. Background research

1. Mission level

Define the mission like a goal. No exactly should be a 100% concrete thing. A mission like "Wanna get some interesting result by applying X in Z" might be enough.

2. Small Projects Level

Small, less then a month projects - research bets.

Use new skill and produce new result. Produce concrete result with concrete feedback.

These things require deadlines and time tracking to keep away from procrastination.


  • Get feedback and either move to another direction or continue.
  • Become better in the field as a side effect of deliberate practice.

Success or failure helps to evolve the mission maintained on the top level.

3. Background Research

Lifestyle with regular brainstorming and exposure to new ideas.

The goal is to get the "adjacent possible" by processing and mixing ideas to provide a catalyst to new ideas.

Exposure to something new in your field on weekly basis. Paper/talk/meeting whatever. Afterwards, add a summary to a "research bible". It can be a zettelkasten or any note taking thing.

Daily walks with thinking over the ideas turned up in background research.


The system is a closed feedback loop constantly evolving toward a cleaner and better supported vision of work.