Prioritization of tasks by the greatest branching potential

Hope everything is well my friend,

I was just lying on the floor which I tend to do when I brainstorm things. Yesterday I did a lot of things, but most of them were by its impact very marginal and unnecessary. The prioritization definitely wasn’t on the spot yesterday.

So today I figured, man, I don’t want to waste this day, yesterday was such a meaningless day. Akin to using SuperMemo, but only fiddling with templates, fonts and themes. Low impact.

So naturally I decided: “I’m going to do the most valuable things today”, “those with the greatest impact.

But what is this “value” we speak of anyways?

Didn’t time already prove that we are short-sighted, very biased, and unable to see the “unknown reward”? So why would I even trust myself on assigning values on things? This sounds silly, but hear me out…

Things tend to expand

This is a law of nature I wholeheartedly believe in. Anything that you pour input on, will expand. Some things expand more, some less, but almost anything will expand in a way that is really hard to see today.

Imagine small garage bands playing with friends becoming rockstars later on. “We never thought it would grow this big…” Softwares that started only as a tool for yourself that turned into a big tech company. Live streaming games for fun turning into stable income over time.

Just about anything you nurture over time expands. So we go to the next point…

Prioritization by branching

It is called prioritization by the greatest branching and the idea is not to prioritize by value or perceived impact but the greatest branching potential, as those tend to have huge rewards we don’t see today.

For example, I have two tasks:

a) task to update inventory for business
b) create a bodybuilding routine

Prioritization by value/impact would tell me to do a) as it is more valuable.

Prioritization by branching would tell me to go with b) because it branches better;

A routine can work as a booster for me starting gym, which could lead to better life quality, which could lead to self confidence, which could lead to me being more hungry for thriving... etc.

Though this example is kind of invalid, as the whole point is that we just don’t know! Great branching by nature involves bunch of unknown unknowns, which creates the potential for huge value.

We never see the real implications, so we choose a task that we think has the greatest branching potential, instead of the perceived value. By activating this categorical lense, I think we can see much more potential in mundane tasks;

Throwing stuff you don’t use to trash and cleaning your storage seems like a task of “do at some point”, but it can branch to lowering the threshold of moving to another city one day by decreasing the perceived workload. This can be a huge impact if one day you feel stuck in life and need change.

Of course the whole point of branching is that it is really hard to perceive, so we need to just use our frugal judgement.

There’s also an objection that you wouldn’t want to only plant seeds, but to nurture them (seeds branch the greatest) so again, use your best judgement. Nurturement doesn’t mean that the task can’t branch, and not only seeds can branch.

I’m suggesting this only as a heuristic for choosing what to do next and as a guideline instead of a silver bullet.

Hope you have a productive week ahead!