The Meaning Of “Zen” In ZenTasktic

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I am aligned with a lot of Buddhist concepts. Many of these concepts or activities are related to mind training. I’m talking about meditation, mostly, but there are many other ways in which the mind can be trained.

Im also an entrepreneur, and if you ever tried to be an entrepreneur, you know how challenging this might be. And a lot of these challenges are at the mental level. An entrepreneur with a strong mind will always succeed, no matter how daring or impossible his dream might be considered in the beginning.

At the intersection of these two personal directions (my involvement in Buddhism as a lay practician and being an entrepreneur) there is this thing called ZenTasktic. If you don’t know what it is, well, in very few words, ZenTasktic is my real time, collaborative task management app. It’s still under active development, with the first group of beta testers already hunting the bugs.

I’m starting a series of articles explaining the productivity framework behind the app, the features and overall usage patterns.

And I thought it would be nice to start with a short explanation of why I put the word Zen in it 🙂

1. We’re Not Living In The Same Place All The Time

The vast majority of the task management apps (I would even dare to say “all task management apps”) are focusing on only one part of our activity: the“doing”. Alas, we’re not always living in the “Do” realm. We also have to assess our potential actions, to get feedback from the environment, or to decide whether or not we’ll engage in a specific activity and how to allocate resources of we’re engaging in it.

Forcing ourselves to be in the Do realm for too much, at the expense of the other realms, will drain our resources out. Will destroy our focus and lower our general capacity to deliver. We’ll get burned out. And oh, how I know this feeling.

ZenTasktic offers a different workflow.

Everything starts in Assess, the place where we empty our minds, where we evaluate, where we consult with other people. Then, once a task has reached its potential to be executed, it is moved to the next realm, Decide. Here, we cannot edit the task anymore. What we can do, however, is to assign it a date and a specific context (think of contexts as being “tags” applied to your tasks). And once we know exactly how we can allocate the time and resources for that specific task, we finally move it to Do. And in Do, well, there is only one thing that we can do: Do it!

2. In-the-moment Evaluation Of Your Zen Status

Based on the realm distribution briefly described above, ZenTasktic introduces the concept of Zen Status. Zen Status is a collection of stats, updated in real time (did I tell you that ZenTaskstic has real time capabilities? No? We’ll get back to it later, then.)

Each type of stats is related to the specific realm, and to the specific activity that one is supposed to perform there. And each chart can give you an instant insight about what works and what doesn’t, about how much “Zen” is in your current flow.

For instance, in the Assess realm, the Zen Status chart will show you how many tasks are in each realm. You can see in less than a second if there is too much to Assess, if there are many things left lingering in Decide, or if you have a significant pressure in Do. In an ideal world, the distribution among the realms should be even.

But there are many other metrics that are taken into account when ZenTasktic computes the Zen Status, some of them quite complex. We’ll try to describe them in more details in a future article.

3. The Zen Pulse Of How Much You Interact

Another feature of ZenTasktic is the Pulse. Or, to be more precise, the Zen Pulse. You can only access the Pulse in Do (because that’s where you can actually take actions and do stuff) and, at its core, this Pulse is a collection of notifications.

The source of these notifications is basically the world with which you’re interacting. These updates are coming from people who wants to share stuff with you, who are editing shared tasks (you can do this in real time, again, in a chat-like interface that will give a surprising sense of familiarity) or who want to give you heads ups (called pings, in ZenTasktic lingo) about the stuff that you may have left lingering in their personal realm.

We will know more about how the sharing works in the next articles. For now, it’s ok to understand that when the Zen Pulse is flat it means you’re socially inactive. And yes, you can also configure how many notifications you receive, from the Settings area. There are 4 predefined levels: “silent”, “discrete”,”talkative” and “full monty”. We will talk about each of these in more detail in the next articles.

So, to put it in fewer words: the Zen in ZenTaskstic means: you can only act in atomically separated realms, following a natural pattern and you can control how much real time interaction you have with your peers.

In the next article we’re going to talk in details about the Zen Status and how to read the charts.

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