source: Steve Pavlina
Here’s an example 20-step microtask breakdown for the task of writing a new blog article. The steps are in sequential order:
- Define a primary objective for the article (inform, persuade, entertain, or inspire).
- Brainstorm topic ideas, or review the list of reader-submitted topic suggestions.
- Select a topic.
- Do a quick and dirty, free-form writing session to get ideas down without regard to structure.
- Decide how to organize the ideas for clarity (chronological, topical, hierarchical, sequential, etc).
- Sort the output of #4 based on the desired structure. Define the main sections and subsections.
- Identify supporting material to include (examples, analogies, quotes, statistics, images, stories, etc), and add it to the outline.
- Refine the outline from #6 and #7 for completeness and balance.
- Expand each section of the outline into paragraphs (and bullet lists if appropriate).
- Insert meaningful subheadings into the article.
- Write the opening.
- Write the closing.
- Edit the article for content, clarity, and conciseness.
- Spell-check the article.
- Brainstorm possible titles for the article (clear, interesting, keyword-rich).
- Select a title.
- Select blog categories for the article.
- Decide when to post the article (now or future-post).
- Publish the article.
- After the article has been online for several hours, evaluate reader feedback and fix any reported typos.
Notice that every item begins with a verb. OK, so #20 starts with a preposition, but it gets to the verb soon enough. The verbs are important because these are physical actions to be taken, not just ideas to ponder. The more clear and concise your verbs, the better your outline.