Time Management

When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game but you don't get a win unless you play in the game. Oh, you get love for it, you get hate for it. You get nothing if you wait for it - Hamilton the Musical
  • Two Principles apply to time management:
    • Are you creating leverage with what you are doing such that each activity done now creates more time in the future?
    • Are you hitting the Rate of Diminishing Returns in your output?
  • These three principles are how you should really manage time because we only have 24 hours in a day and 8 hours of that is asleep so you have 16 hours to really accomplish everything you want to do.


  • Always be collecting information thoughts, ideas, anything that comes to mind.
  • Have a system where you can put this all into an Inbox
  • Every week go through this system and ensure that you have updated everything.

Via Negativa / Focus / Reduce Variability

  • I am doing a big cull in what I am focusing on and it has made me more effective.
    • Having fewer things to focus on has created better means of energy retention and having more energy to those fewer things.
    • Not spreading myself too thin has had the advantage that I can focus on things that are actually bring value to the world and also creating meaning for me.
    • In the long run that is all that one really cares about whether something they did was meaningful for themselves and whether it was meaningful in the world that they exist.
  • What does this progress look like?
    • I have consolidated my thoughts into a draft outline of my book Sheepdog and the app is also moving forward as I consolidate my thoughts into the book.
      • It still needs a lot of work but everything I want to cover is in there and I am happy with it all being in there.
    • opsZero has all the procedures and base level code ready to really start pushing forward all of these are setup in Sheepdog.
  • In a way I wrote a tool to take my thinking and put it into an app that removes the decision making process on my behalf.
  • The more choices one had the worst they are because choice means decisions and we are only really capable of making a handful of meaningful decisions everyday.
    • The way to do this seems to be to ask, “Will this decision make my realm of concern better?”
    • The realm of concern is you, the processes and the people your interact with that are affected by the decision of you acting upon.
    • How does it affect you?
      • Will you be happier with the decision?
      • What happens if this decision goes away?
      • How will it affect your time?
    • How will it affect the processes you have in place?
      • Will it make it
  • It is important in life to reduce the number of things you do
  • Life isn’t about how much more to add on it is how to live purposefully by taking away.
  • What is your life goal and purpose?
    • How can you remove the nonessential things to make that goal a reality?
  • What things are holding you back? What habits? What people?
    • Reduce these, or remove them altogether.
  • Focus on the most important thing and push as much as possible to do those things.
    • Keep the things that allow you to fulfill your goals
    • Keep things that will give you leverage to achieving your goal

Are you compounding your time?

  • Are you doing something everyday that over time will give you more time and money?
    • Example, hiring someone to take over certain tasks for you that allows you to spend more time doing other things.
      • If you are paid $50 an hour to do something, and certain activities you do can be done for $30 and hour then you should get those $30 tasks out of the way.
    • 80/20 of the 80/20 of the 80/20
      • 80% of your value comes from 20% of what you do.
      • 64% of your value comes from 4% of what you do.
      • 52% of you value comes from 1% of what you do.
    • The goal you should aspire is to do more, by doing less over time.
      • Spend time to train people now who can in the future do your activities for you.
      • Make these processes repeatable so you don’t have to constantly be there
      • Make things run independently of you.
    • Execution is all about Leverage. How does a certain action lead to the desired outcome of a goal.
      • Every activity you do should act as a lever to your “Why”
      • Remove activities from your life that are not acting as levers, it is okay not to do everything.
        • Sometimes it is better to focus on a few primary things than to be mediocre at many things.

Long chunks of deep work

  • The only true way to get things done is to have long chunks of time.
    • You cannot be constantly moving between tasks, you have to sit down and focus everyday for 1-2 hours.
      • 1-2 hours because after that you hit the rate of diminishing returns on focus.
  • Reduce the number of things you are doing and have a stop doing list
    • Doing something has a cost

Organizing Your Day

  • Start Early
  • Make time for food
  • Days Need to Be Organized around the Why and What.
    • Certain days need to be oriented around Why tasks including Planning and Reflections
    • The other days should be working on the What.

Time Chunk



5-6 Hours

  • Focused time for executing.
  • Not planning
  • This is time for advancing forward your work goals.

Self-Reflection / Work-Reflection

1-2 Hours

  • Reflect on yourself
  • What could you improve?
  • What can you do improve your leverage?
  • Work
  • Plan activities and projects
  • Plan execution agenda


1 Hour

  • Take time off for achieving specific tasks


2 Hours

  • Exercise
  • Grooming
  • Meditation


6 Hours

  • Hobbies / Community / Time with Partner
  • Do NOT think about work
  • This has to be time where you spend working on other things so your brain relaxes to think about work problems

Are you hitting the Rate of Diminishing Returns?

  • Are you not eating?
  • Are you working so hard that you can no longer focus on the task and you keep making mistakes
  • What is your optimal energy and at what time?
    • What can you accomplish during that time?
    • What can you not accomplish during that time?
  • The best way to figure out if you are hitting this is to quite literally track every activity you are doing on a spreadsheet.
    • This spreadsheet should have a time you start an activity and the time you end an activitiy.
    • This will force you to figure out how your time is being spend and what you are doing.
  • Measure your time
    • In Effective Executive Peter Drucker noted an executive measures their time and where they are spending it.
    • This is important if nothing else because you see the patterns of where you are spending time.
    • You will notice things you are spending your time on that you shouldn’t or things that are not moving you closer to your goals or things which could be more 
    • Measure your time with a simple spreadsheet
      • Track when you start something
      • When you finish
      • and the category that the task falls under
    • If you are running a company you can see where you can create value and it is usually because that doing certain tasks are not worth it and it is better to hire other people to do those tasks.
    • When doing tasks if you see things that take time for you to do then:
      • Automate it
        • Learn to program and write things that reduce the amount of time it takes to do something
        • Hire someone to write that can write the code for you.
      • Delegate it
        • Hire someone to do the task if it creates leverage for you
        • Outsource it if it isn’t high enough in importance for you to do.
    • Most things in life follow the Eisenhower Matrix
      • Important, Urgent
        • Do it immediately
      • Important, Not Urgent
        • Put it on the calendar to do
      • Not Important, Urgent
        • Have someone else do it
      • Not Important, Non Urgent
        • Don’t do it at all or put it in a backlog to check on later 

Time Tracking

  • Track exactly where you are spending your time.
    • Organize your time so that large groups of tasks can be done together.
    • Gives you bigger blocks of time that will allow you to move much more quickly.
  • Prevent multitasking and focuses on output
  • Figure out the unknown of a project quickly
  • Figure out how you are spending time and group your tasks so you aren’t jumping around.
  • A lot of time is wasted context switching
  • A lot of time is not defragmented and needs to be
  • Realm of Concern Should be at Most 1 Major Task

Reasons for waste

  1. What would happen if they were not done at all.
  2. Time-wastes often result from overstaffing.
  3. Remove Excess Meetings
  4. Malfunction or information

Information Capture

  • You need a system a singular place that you use to collect all your rough drafts of ideas
  • This can be a notebook, online, etc. but it needs to be a system that you can then use to organize else where during your Sprint Planning


  • To achieve your goals you need to plan your week like you plan a business
  • You need to schedule the tasks that you need to and measure your velocity
    • You need to get into a routine for doing this.
    • There must be a day of the week where you plan what you need to do.
      • All other times just note things that need to get done unless it is absolutely urgent.
  • You need a clear separation of organization and execution.
    • Daily spend maybe 20-30 mins on organization
  • Execution should be the primary objective
    • It is easy to want to plan things but not actually do anything
    • This is procrastination by planning
      • You need to execute
  • Plan weekly scrum tasks like the following:
    • Set of 5-10 things that you want to accomplish
    • Give a point score that entails effort
    • Give a definition of done
    • Daily go through the task and write down the impediments to getting that thing done.
      • For certain things put it on the calendar to get it done.
  • Impediments / Waste
    • Figure out when doing your scrum what it is that is holding you back
      • Bad habits
      • Health Issues
      • Financial
      • etc
    • Figure out how to remove that waste, remove that obstacle.
      • Stop doing it or figure out a way to resolve it
      • Get creative, most things in life can be solved by asking
        • Most of life people assume you can’t do something, but you haven’t asked if you can do it.

Organizing Tasks

One of the problems with tools like Jira, Trello, Github Issues, Asana are they are really good at the task management part but if you are working on something they don’t give you the high level Vision. You need to separate different tools for different tasks.

  • Have separate systems for different levels of tasks
    • Do not mix vision and goals with tasks.
    • They are not concrete and actionable which causes confusion when deciding on which tasks to do.
  • Don’t make your knowledge system complicated and make the number of steps to execute anything minimal.
    • A task should follow the Via Negativa method of having the fewest steps to ensure the desired outcome.
    • This enables you to change direction quickly.
  • Remove tasks that are no longer needed and close them if they are not pertinent.
    • Focus is key and having fewer tasks that are more focused is better.
    • If you feel yourself writing a large amount of unrelated tasks in your system that you and your team are going to tackle stop and remove all the unrelated ones that don’t add value.


  • All tasks should follow the Eisenhower Matrix in terms of how you do them.


Not Urgent


Do Now

Schedule Time to Do It

Not Important

Delegate it

Remove it

  • Some tasks you just don’t need to do at all
  • Every task should be either actionable, vision or bucket list
    • Actionable and Vision should not be mixed as that just prevents tasks from actually getting done. So move vision stuff out of the way.
    • Move Bucket List Item to something external that you can get to eventually
  • A task is clearly define and has an outcome that is due at a particular timeframe.
    • As such hanging on to a a bunch of tasks that don’t have a clear outcome doesn’t make any sense.
    • It is better to have fewer tasks that have clear outcomes.
    • So move everything that is not immediately actionable into a separate area.
      • Your project management tool view should only have tasks that are assigned to you that need to be done in some timeframe.
      • This should be regularity reviewed and updated to keep with the Vision and OKRs.
        • Acknowledge not everything can be done right now.
        • You need to prioritized and you have to say no but still keep track of it for the long term so you can go back to it.
  • Reduce the number of Work in Progress items you have to a minimum.
    • The more tasks you have the more you have to context switch between which causes issues.
    • Reduce your individual tasks to about 2 tasks.
      • 2 tasks gives you a chance to switch between the different ones if there are impediments in your way.

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Executing Tasks