The InPO Framework: A Simple Action Guiding Tool

You can think of any work-related action you’re doing as falling into one of three categories:

  1. Input
  2. Processing
  3. Output

Use this simple framework to notice when you’re out of balance and need to readjust. 

Input is anything you’re taking in:

  • Reading books/articles/twitter
  • Watching videos/webinars/courses
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Attending a conference talk

Input is will serve as the recipe during the Processing stage. 

Processing is the act of digesting the input:

  • Thinking
  • Writing/scribbling
  • Sketching
  • Discussing an idea

Processing is where the magic happens. It’s where you remix ideas you were exposed to from various sources to come up with something new & useful. 

Output is the endgame of the other 2 stages. It’s where the action happens:

  • Publishing an essay/book/tweetstorm
  • Putting out a design
  • Starting a business/project

But Output is scary. So many of us fall in the trap of getting stuck in stages 1 & 2. 

Sometimes I get stuck in Input out of (subconscious) fear and/or laziness, forgetting that ‘input’ by itself is useless.

Processing is a fun stage that feels productive (since it’s better just input) that it’s even easier to fall in the trap of not moving to output. 

To be clear though, I believe that they’re both essential stages. Sure, you can try to ‘skip’ them and focus on output, but you’ll run out of juice soon enough and will need some inspiration. This, though, is more likely to happen to hyper-active people who are action-biased. 

This simple framework has been useful too me in course-correcting when I go for too long without focusing on ‘Output’ (common for me) or when I (occasionally) get caught up with too much ‘Output’ and start to feel like I’m burning out. 

So every once in a while, ask yourself “which stage have I been focusing on too much while neglecting the others?”

Reflect, evaluate, then course-correct. 

(This post was started as a series of tweets, which you can see here. )

Published by Amr Khalifeh

Product Strategy & Design

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