Ideation – I have practiced growing my “idea muscle” for many years by taking any topic or idea I am interested in and listing out ways to expand, experiment, grow it, or any other way I want to explore that idea. This allows me to be able to make progress on any idea that I am interested in and is key to my growth.
Writing specifications – For ideas and projects I want to work on, I usually write a few drafts of progressively bigger specifications to get an idea onto paper. I then poke holes in the specifications to see if the idea is sound.
Researching – Some topics I study are easily researched via wikipedia or first search results on google and I will then try to write up notes. For other topics, I may spend a lot of time trying to understand it which means downloading and reading dozens of research papers so that I can try to hone in on the essence.
Zettelkastening it up – I wrote almost all ideas that come up in my mind into a zettelkasten, my research wiki. Its a way for me to correlate everything, build a second memory, and grow. I also practice 3Rs.
Reading – I do a lot of reading in general. I try to focus my reading on specific topics, otherwise I will end up reading random stuff. I try to read as little from the internet as possible because there are so many distractions. I read lots of books and research papers. My reading is all non-fiction with the purpose of more general learning across a wider range of topics.
Prioritizing – I am constantly asking myself is this the right thing to be working on? Is this important? I often have a lot of new information coming in that may change the trajectory of what working on. There are both long-term goals and short-term goals and so I need to make sure what I am working on fits those plans.
Reflecting – I reflect on what I am doing everyday, twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. I think about what I learned, what I want to change, how are my experiments going, and other questions.
Experimenting – I try to run small experiments as often as possible to see if my ideas work or not. Ideas may be related to projects, software, AI, health, people, and more. Basically any area I am interested in, I will try to collect experiments for it. Its important to make the experiment as isolated and small as possible. Small is important because of limited time and resources.
Organizing and reorganizing information – I found that I am constantly reorganizing information in spreadsheets to help me prioritize work and find patterns in data. I also sometimes use mind maps to think about information.
Administering – I am often working with a lot of people and so I need to make sure all the work is being done properly. I need to review, give feedback, course correct, and inspire people to help go in the right direction.
Marketing – I spend some time on this. Spreading ideas around is important for several reasons: to get future help, to get feedback, and to grow my ideas.
Building it – This is the main activity I like to do, but you need to make sure you are going in the right direction, otherwise you might build the wrong thing, hence all the other activities above.