Sheepdog: The Game of Life and Work


The Game of Life and Work

Abhi Yerra

It is in action alone that you have a claim, never at any time to the fruits of such action. Never let the fruits of action be your motive; never let your attachment be to inaction. -Bhagavad Gita 2:47
That which you see as other than righteousness and unrighteousness, other than all this cause and effect, other than what has been and what is to be—tell me That. -Upanishads
O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible. -Pindar

To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods -Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Action Grid / Self 9

Action Grid / Work 13

Action Grid / Society 16

Self 17

Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs 17

Physiological 18

Diet 19

Sleep 19

Sleeping Fast 20

Get out of Bed Fast 20

Exercise 20

Stress 21

Breathing 22

Posture 22

Nature 22

Safety 22

Finances 22

Wealth / Money 23

Automating Finances 24

Investment Principles 28

Leveraging Money 29

Economy 29

Financial Decision Making 30

Belongingness and Love 30

Intimate Relationships 30

A Partner You Don’t Want 31

A Partner You Want 31

Family 31

Friends 32

Children 32

Other People 32

Women 33

Why? 33

Vision / Strategy 35

Life Philosophy 35

Spirituality 36

Mindfulness 38

Religion 38

What? (Care of the Self) 39

Objectives and Key Results 39

Self-Control 40

Make Your Bed (Habits) 41

Incremental Changes 42

Weaknesses 43

Reflection 44

Play by the Rules or Make the Rules 45

Time Management 46

Collecting 46

Via Negativa / Focus / Reduce Variability 46

Are you compounding your time? 47

Long chunks of deep work 48

Organizing Your Day 48

Are you hitting the Rate of Diminishing Returns? 49

Time Tracking 50

Information Capture 51

Sprints 51

Organizing Tasks 52

Planning 52

Executing Tasks 55

Increase Leverage 56

Reduce Variability 56

Delegation / Automation 56

Time off / Vacation 58

Work On-Off Time 58

Sabbath 59

Impediments 59

Scrum 59

Stories 61

Retrospective 63

Definition of Done 65

Most Important Thing 65

Knowledge 65

Collect Your Mistakes / Gaps in Knowledge 67

Rapid Learning 67

Books 68

Systems Thinking / First Principle 68

Principles By Ray Dalio 68

Fixed Mindset vs Growth MindseT 68

Diffused vs Focused 69

Deliberate Practice 71

Three-Stage Model of Skill Aquisition 71

First Principles / Continuous Improvement 71

Metaphors 72

Changing Your Mind 72

Aim for Success 72

Mental Models 72

Gartner Hype Cycle 73

How to Learn a Subject 74

Based on this knowledge when you want to learn something and learn it deep you should do the following: 74

The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything 76

Learning Fast 77

Postulates / Learning Fast #postulates 77

Mental Models 80

Peak Performance 81

Notes: 81

Learn, Do, Advance, Iterate 84

Learn 85

Do 85

Advance 86

Iterate 87

Notes 87

Learning Template 89

Languages 89

Influence and Power 90

Decision Making 91

Decide, Simplify, Execute, Validate 93

Decision Making 93

Decide if You need to make the decision 94

Decision Making When Things are On Fire 95

Meetings 95

Books 95

Conflict Resolution / Negotiation 102

Loss Aversion 102

Probability and Statistics 102

Game Theory 102

Decisions Under Chaos 103

Atomic Decisions 103

Influence and Power 104

Book Notes: Never Split the Difference 104

Notes 105

Todo 105

Influence and Power 107

Influence and Power 110

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation 111

Decision Making 111

Books 111

Strategy 115

Self-Branding 115

Work 116

Why 116

Vision 117

Values 118

CEO 118

Leadership and Culture 118

What and How 119

COO 119

Mission 119

Observe 120

Collect 121

Outside Landscape 121

Inside Landscape 121

Impediments / Muda 121

Data Points and Metrics 121

Management 122

Retrospectives 122

Quarterly 122

Orient 123

Analysis 123

Lean Canvas 125

Competitive Strategy 126

Strategy and Product Creation 127

Product Creation 130

Experiments / Narrative 130

Narrative Essay 131

Product Market Fit 131

Press Release 132

Customer Development 144

Decide 144

Goals / OKRs 144

Objectives and Key Results 144

Todo 144

Goals / OKRs 145

Effective OKRs 146

Okr writing scheduled 147

OKR Review 147

Hiring 148

Scrum 150

Introduction 150

Focus / Reduce Variability 151

Delegate 151

Act 152

Working on Now 152

Kanban / Standard Operating Procedures 152

Automation 152

Management 153

Notes from Book: Extreme Ownership 154

Leadership 155

Management 157

Effective Meetings 158

1:1s 158

Create Safety 159

Communication 159

Tasks 159

Meetings 159

Delegation 160

Problems / Issues 160

Brainstorming 160

Effective Emails 160

Receiving Feedback 161

Bibliography 162


One of the games I loved as kid was monopoly, each iteration of the game meant you could figure out if you were set ahead or if you were falling behind. You could get ahead of the curve or your could fall behind the curve, every iteration.

Life and Business are basically the same but in a lot of ways the game is more like Poker. You have multiple opponents and each iteration you don’t know their complete decision making process, nor what they have, and using this incomplete information you have to modify your strategy and execution.

Life and Business have similar iterative cycles. You may start with unknowns but each cycle you want to advance a step further towards your goal, however small it may be, you want to get inside your competition’s decision make cycle, you want to advance forward the goals that are in place.

This cyclical nature of decision making was advanced by John Boyd in his OODA Loop. It is a great way of advancing forward, building the future while addressing the present and creating a cycle of rapid evolution. The OODA loop stands for Observe-Orient-Decide-Act. It is a decision making framework that is made for fighter pilots in dogfights. However, it is also applicable to all parts of life.

The OODA Loop is the basis of this book and applying it to Life and Work is what I hope to address. The beautiful thing about the OODA Loop is that it is fractal, you can break down each part of the loop into individual OODA Loops and those could be broken down further.

The OODA loop is based on setting a variable Tempo so that your competitors don’t know how to respond to you, it is creating a strong cultural and moral underpinning so that when you do attack you have a goal for yourself and your team.

Furthermore, with each iteration you need to decide where and how to play and what the strategy is for each iteration since you can evolve as well as your competition, a given strategy can become obsoleted over time.

This iterative game of life and work can be addressed methodically creating a system whereby you advance your position by following a set of guidelines that advance your position.

In Life this advancement is based on the tenants of Time Management, Decision Making and Knowledge

In work it is a full cycle of Observation of what is happening in the world, the Orientation of what projects can be done to mitigate the risk

This Book is a Framework for Action and Setting Yourself and Your Work for High-Velocity, High-Tempo Action. The contents in this book are concrete and actionable to getting things done fast. I took the best ideas written by other people and put it into a form that is dense and concrete without a lot of unnecessary fluff. You should be able to jump into any section and figure out why it is there and how to make use of it immediately. Furthermore, each section will have a link to another book or content so you can read more about if it that section interests you.

The principles of this book are toward Action as the main and all encompassing goal of everything you do. The goal of this book is what and how you take action to move forward your goals in an inherently changing world with a lot of unknowns. The goal is to set yourself with 80% Action and 20% Planning.

I’ve always been a deep thinker. However, a deep thinker has many problems doing. The world is full of thinkers who are waiting for the perfect moment to do something, the perfect mechanism for how to do it, someone to come and save them.

This isn’t the case. People who execute win, not people who sit on the sidelines and think about executing. The world has a lot of problems that need to be dealt with and it is an asset to have deep thinkers who can execute.

However, execution isn’t really well taught. How do you plan and do a project. How do you start. These are all not really taught well. However, there is a way to execute based on modern principles that the big companies already use. However, it has been sporadic at best largely leaving it to the individual to decide how to do things.

We have decided to make execution a group event. We will plan Sprints together, review our plan of actions, get feedback, and execute. Sheepdog is a Community for Executors. People who take risks and execute.

We are based around people helping each other execute their goals.

Action Grid / Self

Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid with five rungs starting with the top being Self-Actualization, Esteem, Love/Belonging, Safety, and Physiological. Before you can get to the self-actualization step, you must meet the four lower levels of the hierarchy. It is hard to be a Sheepdog if you are going hungry.

Exercise / Food / Sleep

Make sure you are getting enough good food and exercise. The food you eat powers the brain and body, and exercise helps the brain think better. Furthermore, get a solid 8 hours of sleep a night. No buts or ifs, rest is a superpower.


Living paycheck to paycheck is not sufficient long term, and the mental burden of finance can limit your ability to advance. Debt and financial insecurity do a lot to limit our growth as it prevents us from pursuing what we want because we are tied to what pays the check.


Humans are social creatures so we need to be around people who love us and who we can love. Make sure you are around people that allow you to grow and curtail people from your life that don’t help you with your journey. If we are dependent on others for our ability to grow consider the nature of your relationship with that person.


Society and Science give us a What and How, but they do not provide the Why. We used to rely on religion to give the Why, but with secularism becoming more the norm it is up to each of us to define: Why are we here?

What? (The Care of the Self)

To get where you want, you need to be the manager of your life. Without power over yourself, you will not be able to exert power into the world. Self-mastery means reducing your realm of concern. You have to give up things that may be bringing you short term joy, but long term are holding you back from achieving your goals. You can’t have something without giving up something.

Objectives and Key Results

Ever consider that most people are aimless? They seem to be pushed around with the tides without ever having aspirations for themselves of where they want to be and where they want to go. Objectives and Key Results is a business framework that can also work for individuals to set up goals and definition of success for the goal.

Time Management


Plan a day of the week for what you want to achieve the following week. The rest of the week should be attacking that plan. Creating a weekly plan of attack means you no longer need to decide but can act. 


As you do more and more, you need to decide what you want to focus. Delegating tasks is an essential skill to grow and expand your capabilities. You get to focus on high-value stuff, and you can have someone take care of the other tasks.

Time Off / Vacation

It is essential that you have time off. Your brain is like a muscle. Your muscles need rest to recover after exercise and so does your mind after work. Have a definite start and end time for your day, and take the weekend to recharge by not working. Furthermore, a quarterly vacation away, even if it is a car ride away is good for your brain to recharge.


Figure out what things are holding you back. Impediments are the marble slab that you have to chisel away until you see David, i.e., attain your goal.



Collect everything that strikes you even stupid ideas. These ideas need to just be taking out of your mind and put into a common system that you will organize once a week to get things done.

Learn, Do, Advance, Iterate

Learning anything fast is a useful skill. You don't have to become a world-class expert at most things to be effective. You need to go for the 80% that is most useful for you to know and be able to learn that fast.

Hobbies / Projects

Have hobbies and projects that are unrelated to what you for work. Get out of your comfort to do things that you have no expertise in such as martial art, dancing, music, gardening, etc.

Influence and Power

Decide, Simplify, Execute, Validate

Have a quick and straightforward decision-making framework that also helps you verify that you made the right decision. In a world that is moving faster and faster, high throughput decisions are essential. But this also means being able to course correct quickly if a decision turns out to be a bad one.

Conflict Resolution / Negotiation

Most decisions and actions in life happen with other people. To do this effectively, you need to be able to resolve conflicts, address concerns and influence others to see your vision while also being respectful for their vision.


Fear prevents us from doing things, but it is when we have fear and take the appropriate action to move forward anyways that we grow. A big part of growth is understanding your fears and how those fears are holding you back and recognizing them when they appear.

Action Grid / Work


Your company needs a why for itself bigger than the product it sells. Anyone can sell a product, but it is almost impossible to replicate a story of the why of a company. Most of the most successful companies we know have whys. Companies with whys are the ones we are drawn to, as they give almost a higher purpose in their vision than the products they sell.  Companies need this why why to drive you and your team, especially when things go rough. As a leader you want people to follow the vision of the company not the founders. Founders are humans, but it is the vision that keeps people moving forward. The vision is the ideal, the people are the instruments to make the vision real.


The values of a company develop over time, but you can start with some specifics of how to make decisions that everyone can hold and use. These give a framework for decision making that simplifies how to go about something when things are unclear, or there is ambiguity in decision making, especially as a company gets larger.



The Why gives you a Vision now you have to setup the company for success with appropriate Leadership and Effective Communication.




Outside Landscape

What are the technological, industrial, societal, and moral changes that are happening that will affect the business? We need to figure this out.

Inside Landscape

Impediments / Muda

We all make mistakes or bad processes that lead us to make mistakes, or have impediments that prevent us from advancing. It is important to learn from them our mistakes and impediments so that we can remove them. Gather impediments and muda (waste) and things that are holding your team from performing quickly. These impediments will be generated into new experiments to reduce the need to do them in the future.



Lean Business Model

A Business Plan is full of assumed knowns, but the world is full of unknown, unknowns. The Business Model Canvas is an excellent tool for quickly figuring out if a company has a viable business model that allows it to make money. Every business is divided into multiple, so this also allows you to figure out what those sub-businesses are.

Customer Development

Figure out what you need to build from your customers and what you need to build for them, by asking them. Create a regular surveys and questionnaires that will get them to speak to you honestly about what they want.

Competitive Strategy

You need to figure out a strategy once you get your observations. The strategy will allow you to figure out where you want to play and how you are going to play.

Jobs to Be Done

Figure out what jobs will be needed for this change in trajectory. Who are the types of people you need? What role need to be changed. What roles can be eliminated?





Management tasks include nudging, 1:1s to increase leverage, hiring, delegation and removing impediments / muda. The goal of management is to remove obstacles from your team from accomplishing their goals. This means like any sports team ensuring everyone is heading toward the same goal.


Write out a story that has a hero and how you are going to make that person more of a hero. “As a [type of user], I want [an action] so that [a benefit/a value]. We should do it because it will allow us to do <x> with our customers.” This could be anything from a paragraph to a longer narrative that defines what you are trying to do and why. The goal is to create a series of tasks like this so that you can move forward and improve the business.

Standard Operating Procedures

These are the tasks that need to happen repeatedly everyday, week, month to get you moving forward. They just need to be codified and written down so you can do them. If they are not written down they may just not get done and you team may be working reactively instead of proactively. Further by having a standardized system it leads to better delegation and automation overtime.


Objectives and Key Results

A business needs clear goals as much as people do. Objectives and Key Results work better if there are fewer of them maybe 1-3 max that gives a clear guideline for what a company is going to achieve every quarter.

Knowledge Sharing / Meetings

Email and Slack are matter of life but they are asynchronous modes of communication. Split them into actionable and informational. Only deal with tasks that are actionable to you, ignore the non-actionable ones or reduce them to a minimum.

Sprints / Experiments

Plan a regular meeting every week that includes new opportunities that the company wants to seek, experiments that would improve systems and processes. Create a weekly Scrum that allows you to move forward with new tasks.

Hiring / Delegation / Automation

It is just as important to not do certain things than to do them. You can’t keep adding new product types, new variations, etc. You need to first focus on the core then make sure that is solid. Certain standard operating procedures don’t need to be done by your company. It may not be a core competency, or it may be taking too long to do internally. Either get software, create automations or delegate the task to a third party vendor. You want to reduce the time you work on non-core competency so that you can focus on the high value tasks of your company.

Action Grid / Society


Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs

Why ask my birth, Diomedes? Very like leaves upon this earth are the generations of men old leaves, cast on the ground by wind, young leaves the greening forest bears when spring comes in. So mortals pass; one generation flowers even as another dies away. – Illiad

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  • Before you can acheive to your full potential you need to have the lower levels of Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs met.
  • Some people are lucky in that they get some of these lower tiers taken care of for them, but most of us have to work at it.
  • This book covers the Esteem and Self-actualization goals, but before we can get there we need to cover the other tiers that allow us to fulfill the other aspects that will allow us to get to where we want to go.

Basically this deals with the lower part of the pyramid

    • You need to have some semblance of this before you can move forward since if you don’t have your basic needs met then you will very much not have the energy to find self-actualization.
    • You need exercise
      • I struggle with this.
      • But I’m trying to get better. Even if it is 5 minutes.
    • You need food
    • You need good relationships with people close to you.
      • This doesn’t mean you have to make everyone happy.
      • But your friends should give you joy and help your also advance yourself.


For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands. 
No man can have a peaceful life who thinks too much about lengthening it, or believes that living through many consulships is a great blessing. -Letters from a Stoic, by Seneca

  • Your brain will not work well if it doesn’t get enough food with good nutrition, sleep and exercise.
  • The world runs according to how your body functions, and unfortunately most of us are pretty bad when it comes to taking care of our bodies.
    • It took me a long time for me to get better as well including getting over copious amounts of drinking, not exercising, thinking sleep is for the weak and other jackassery that I thought was supposed to make me strong.
    • Instead neglecting all of that made me unhappy, depressed, and in general not very effective.
      • Not getting enough food and exercise means you will be working twice as hard on something and it is easier to burnout because your body will stop functioning at a certain point.
  • It is really easy to not treat your body well and get into bad habits and then coast.
    • That is easier to do than deal with then actually taking care of yourself.
    • The best way to get these fundamental things done is to remove the decision making that is involved in doing them.

  • Your body is a machine 
  • Exercise You feel good
    • You have more energy
    • You can see further into the future
    • Yes it is a drag at times. But get through the drag so you can have some fun.
    • It has benefits from reducing anxiety, stress and depression, improving learning rate, and makes you feel much, much better.
  • Eat Breakfast
    • Eat greens when you start the day.
  • Life is too short to be angry all the time. Get over it, use your anger for good or a positive change.
  • Exercise is 80-90% about breathing. Learn to control your breathing and use it to calm yourself. A lot of fear is losing control of your breathing instead of being in control of it. So really learn to breathe


  • Eat three meals a day.
    • Start with breakfast in the morning.
      • Eat eggs, no cereal.
      • Eat some greens and fruit
    • Stop for lunch and take a solid 30 minutes off to actually enjoy your food.
    • Eat dinner
  • Eat a lot of vegetables and fruit
    • I am still working on this one but it has affected my mood drastically in terms of how much energy I have during the day.
  • I quit drinking but that is not a requirement.
    • A beer every so often is totally fine, but regular drinking can affect your mood and behavior for days after.
  • Most of all, enjoy your food. Don’t take diets too seriously and eat what you enjoy.
    • I love grilling so I try to do it frequently during the spring.


  • A solid regular time to sleep and 7-8 hours is needed for everyone to function at a peak.
    • I used to be of the mindset that sleep is for the weak.
      • This has likely caused so much wasted time and energy in my life.
        • Getting enough sleep is more valuable than proving how little you get.
      • Sleeping less results in working twice the amount, and no you can’t just push through.
      • Your brain will just stop functioning at all and it becomes completely useless.
  • Furthermore, sleep at a regular time everyday.
    • Like get into bed by 10pm so you can wake up with your body’s wake up time.
    • By getting up a regular time whether weekend or not weekend will give your body regularity.
      • Doing things in a regular time also creates a ritual for your body so that it gets used to knowing what to think about.
  • To make getting up easier have a specific morning ritual that you keep to every morning.
    • Like you get up out of bed and immediately have a coffee or brush your teeth.
    • Having morning rituals like this that you do on a regular basis allows your body to just start auto-piloting in the morning so on days where you don’t want to get out of bed you can.
      • This is really important for people who struggle with depression since it removes the thinking that induces that not wanting to get out of bed feeling.
  • To change your sleep schedule to get up earlier change by moving your sleep time 15 minutes a week.
    • Do not try to change it all at once because that will not stick.
    • Smaller changes to get up earlier done in a weekly interval will give your body time to adjust and it also lets your body know that it needs to sleep earlier, getting you into bed sooner.

  • At a biological level sleep clears toxins from your head and gives it a chance to work on problems that you’ve been struggling with.
    • Ever notice how you work on a problem and don’t get anywhere, you rest and the next day your brain is able to solve it quickly?
    • It also takes the deliberate practice you have done and makes it better.
    • It gives you better ability to think clearly.
  • When you have sleep you are able to have better decision control
Sleeping Fast
Get out of Bed Fast


  • Exercise creates your body which powers your brain, but your brain also creates the body.
    • You are Michelangelo sculpting David when you are exercising.
  • However, as someone who did not grow up with a big push to exercise I had to come up with ways to push myself to exercise regularly.
  • This means mostly find an activity you like to do and make sure you do it regularly.
    • Ideally you should workout for 1-2 hours a day. 
    • You need to disconnect completely from work, no browing the net or watching tv while doing this.
    • Work on strength, mobility and power.
  • The most important aspect of exercise is when you get to exercising you know exactly what you are going to do before you get there.
    • You don’t get there and dilly dally but get to the place you want to exercise and have an exact system that you follow.
    • Again, the more you autopilot the better.
  • I do the following:
    • Starting Strength: Use the novice progression
    • Yoga: stretching and mobility
    • Row Machine: 5,000 meters or 2,000 meters
    • Krav Maga: Power and mobility. Also you are basically making your body into a weapon which is also pretty cool.
  • All exercise is largely about breathing so learn to treat exercise in a meditative way.
    • Learn to breathe and control your intake and outtake as you start doing things harder and harder.
    • This is especially important in heavier weight exercises, when you start adding speed to martial arts, and mobility.
    • Also by focusing on the breath you can also correct for form and you are not distracted by other things.


Essentially, we humans live well enough and long enough, and are smart enough, to generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads. - Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

There are two modes of stress

Acute stress

Chronic stress

Acute stress is good for you it acts as a way to move you forward.

Chronic stress is bad for you. It create bad outcomes.

  • There are two types of stress.
  • Acute stress and Chronic stress
    • Acute stress is fine it is the fight or flight response and what lets us meet deadlines
  • Chronic Stress is bad as it makes you depressed and affects the way you think through life and what you want to do.
    • It is important to remove as much chronic stress as possible.


  • Learn to breathe well.
  • Your brain needs air but because of our lifestyle in the last 100 years we as humans have largely forgotten how to breathe well.
  • Breathe with your belly your shoulders shouldn’t move.


  • Maintain good posture.
    • Good posture is especially important as we are also as a society experiencing lots of back problems.
    • Do deadlifts or other exercises that develop the back msucles.
  • You need to stand tall
  • You also need to learn how to sit well.
    • By sitting well you can also allow your back some benefit
  • Posture also affects how you see the world and your mood.
    • Good posture allows you to be more commanding whereas weak posture psychologically makes you weaker and makes other people think you weaker as well.
    • So it is important to maintain good upright posture.


Why is nature and the outdoors good?

[ ] Hidden Life of trees

How do trees help the ecosystem?

How are different trees as types of wood for making things?

How do trees help in an urban environment? 

Tree planing in urban lots.



  • This is super important to deal with first.
  • if your finances are not in order you will struggle to get any of the rest of the book.
  • you need to make this your main priority in the world as financial stability or the ability to get a job and have some money any money left over after all your bills are paid will lead you to what you can do.
  • Investments should look at Cause and Effect relationships and Second Order Effects
    • What external changes will result in the current investment to do well? To do poorly?
    • What are some second order effects to be concerned about?
      • How does governmental / geopolitics affect this investment?
    • How can you use leverage on this investment?
Wealth / Money
The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else. - Nicomachean Ethics
He who craves riches feels fear on their account. No man, however, enjoys a blessing that brings anxiety; he is always trying to add a little more.
Every man, when he first sees light, is commanded to be content with milk and rags. Such is our beginning, and yet kingdoms are all too small for us! - Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing. - Skin in the Game
Now I think no riches can compare with being alive, not even those they say this well-built Ilion stored up in peace before the Akhaians came. Neither could all the Archer’s shrine contains at rocky Pytho, in the crypt of stone. A man may come by cattle and sheep in raids; tripods he buys, and tawny-headed horses; but his life’s breath cannot be hunted back or be recaptured once it pass his lips. - Illiad
The fact that people in countries with cold weather tend to be harder working, richer, less relaxed, less amicable, less tolerant of idleness, more (over) organized and more harried than those in hotter climates should make us wonder whether wealth is mere indemnification, and motivation is just overcompensation for not having a real life. - The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
  • 80% in boring index funds
  • 20% play the game but treat this as money as lost.
  • Use money for hobbies and things that give you joy. I love good food so I will spend a lot of money on food even if I don’t buy the latest car or other gadget. 
  • Buy experiences, they last longer than stuff, unless that stuff helps you have better experiences.
  • automate where money goes so you don’t have to think about how you are moving it around. 
Automating Finances

The Maximum Bank Balance

The Maximum Bank Balance {#a8c7 .graf .graf--h3 .graf-after--h2 name="a8c7" align="center"}

I automated my finances so I know how much I can spend at any given time

and not freak out. I also wanted to start building a nest egg by putting

away money for retirement and the future.

The main reason for money stress is not knowing when you can spend

money. The decision fatigue that you experience when you don't know if

you have money or not actually leads to spending money poorly. You just

constantly think about it and after a certain point you just crack and

spend money badly.

The strategy I came up with is sort of counterintuitive. I try to have a

maximum balance in my bank account at all times.

Before I explain the maximum balance this is where money should go


- [Emergency Fund. I used to keep this money in a separate

- checking account but I realized that this money was losing value.

- Now I keep this money in a

- Betterment{.markup--anchor

- .markup--li-anchor} goal. This is 50% bonds and 50% stocks so I can

- weather some unpredictability of the stock market. The Emergency

- Fund should be 3--4 months of runway for rent, food and any bills

- that you may have. After this has been funded you can just put the

- money into buying more investments.]{#bcbb}

- [401k/IRA. My company provides a 401k so I just contribute to

- the retirement account through that. This allows me to save money

- without ever seeing it come to me in the form of a paycheck. Before

- that I used to setup an automatic withdrawal on my IRA.]{#fb8d}

- [Investments. Automatically withdraw a certain amount of money

- for the future. This is stuff that is 1+ year down the line. This

- should be money used for major expenses in the future. Think buying

- a house or taking a year off work.]{#2fe4}

All the above gets transferred out of my paycheck or my bank account

automatically so I never have to think about doing it manually.

The Maximum Balance {#7712 .graf .graf--h4 .graf-after--p name="7712"}

The maximum balance is the amount of money to have at all times in your

bank account without ever going significantly over or under that amount.

This balance is about 2--3 months of food, rent, bills and a bit extra

for the unexpected. The goal is to never go above or below this maximum

bank balance. If there is any month where your are below this amount the

first goal after you have finished contributing to your Emergency Fund,

401k/IRA and Investments is to get back to the maximum balance.

What to do with extra money? {#b9e7 .graf .graf--h4 .graf-after--p name="b9e7"}

What do you do with the money over the maximum balance?

- [Pay extra on student loans to pay them off sooner. I did this. It

- is such a relief when loans are paid off.]{#5d74}

- [Pay extra on credit card debt or pay it off. You should be able to

- pay the entire balance of a credit card every month. I have the

- credit cards automatically payoff the entire balance every month.

- This prevents me from cheating with the maximum balance

- method.]{#f399}

- [Put more money away into investments or finance future goals. I

- really like

- Betterment{.markup--anchor

- .markup--li-anchor} for this since you can split up you account

- based on different goals and timeframes.]{#d884}

- [Buy things that you enjoy. (I love food and I am going to be

- spending a lot of money on this... also books...)]{#4717}

Why does this works? {#e712 .graf .graf--h4 .graf-after--li name="e712"}

I have had success with this approach to managing my money because it

works when there are random bursts of uncertainty. It gives you headroom

during unexpected financial crisis.

Also, always having the same balance gives you a quick check on how you

are doing. The maximum balance will naturally fluctuate near the amount

you have designated but it does give you a good gauge on your finances.

Finally, it allows you to spend money guilt free. If you know that you

have extra money to splurge on you can splurge without feeling bad. By

having one number to look at for day to day finances you can assess your

current financial health. You don't have to overthink things, stop being

a slave to money and enjoy life.


I know I mentioned


.markup--p-anchor} a couple of times but I just really like them and

they are not paying me. The links are affiliates though, sign up so we

can both get free service.

Aug 24, 2015: Since I originally published this there has been a

general concern with having the emergency fund in bonds and stocks. The

point is the maximum balance is going to be half of your emergency fund.

It should be a 3--4 month runway. The second half lives in stocks and

bonds. I've updated the metodology for the latter



By Abhi Yerra{.p-author .h-card} on

August 21, 2015.



Other Half of Your Emergency Fund {#other-half-of-your-emergency-fund .p-name}


Other Half of Your Emergency Fund {#b0d0 .graf .graf--h3 .graf--leading .graf--title name="b0d0"}

The method I use is to have three month runway via the maximum balance.

Putting the other 3--4 months of money into a Betterment or Index funds

allows that money to still grow but will give you a buffer if you need

to sell during an emergency. Also I do a 130% of what I want my

emergnecy fund to be so if the market ever hits a downturn I can still

get about 100% of the money I need. But when the market is doing well

the money is growing and not just sitting there.

By Abhi Yerra{.p-author .h-card} on

August 24, 2015.



Exported from Medium on May 28, 2019.

Engineering Interview Guide: Introduction {#engineering-interview-guide-introduction .p-name}

Investment Principles

How do you create leverage such that something invested today grows at a compounded rate over time. This can be either money, knowledge, friendship, betterment of society.

  • Investing in Self
    • Hobbies
    • Business
    • Books
    • Learning
  • Investing in Others
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Community
Leveraging Money
  • We go through life in what I call War Time and Peace Time.
    • War Time is when you are investing in something big such as learning, business, etc.
    • Peace Time is when you are stable and collecting a steady stream of money i.e a paycheck
  • Both have different modes of operation.

War Time

Peace Time

  • Invest nearly everything your have into your company with the idea of growth
  • Minimal cash. Leverage cash for assets and investment.
  • Get more out of investment and cut expenses by cutting things that don't matter. Don't do something half assly if money can't be used to make it good completely then don't use it for that purpose.
  • If already invested in certain things also consider sunk cost.
  • Can we maximize investment by repurposint existing stuff.
  • Get lines of credit to draw from
  • Build up a financial war chest
  • Move money into stock market and diversify
  • Safety net of cash
  • 401k and IRA
  • When things are going up the economy is inefficient because growth is the primary factor.
    • Build services and products that are made to give leisure and time.
  • When things are going poorly efficiency is the primary factor to optimize for profit.
    • Build services and products that make things more efficient as this is the time when layoffs, etc. happen.
Financial Decision Making
  • Find stock fitting criteria
  • Find information
  • Test cause and effect
  • Sentiment analysis of company
  • Decision yes or no
  • Delayedtask
  • Good bad
  • Modify existing job for success or failure
  • Track Cause and Effect of Companies
  • Figure out ripple effects. If a company is doing badly what other companies are connected to that company?
  • What does the future hold for certain companies?
  • What trends are people doing now
  •  Also track when Stocks have quarterly earnings and how things can be affected.

Belongingness and Love

  • Family and Friends are important and you should make a lot of time for them.
  • Everything in life is fleeting and it makes no sense to not spend it with that which makes you happy.
    • Frankenstein was happy spending time with his family and he was sickly when he was working on the monster.
      • He should have spent more time with his family instead of the monster.
      • In the end all our goals are like that monster that starts taking a life of its own, but it is family and friends and our good relationships with people that make us happy.

Intimate Relationships

  • push your partner as you would yourself.
  • Have success be as much a part of their life as it is yours
    • Have them pursue larger goals and support them even if inconvenient to you if in the long run you are both better.
  • Create OKRs for yourselves about what your relationship should be like and have outcomes that you want to achieve.
    • Do activities together, plan them out together
  • enjoy the little things
  • Make sex a part of your routine
    • Major arguments should end with reconciliation or sex, preferably both and it is also important to resolve whatever caused the fight in the first place.

A Partner You Don’t Want

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3









  • Someone who doesn’t grow and change along with you
    • Doesn’t mean they follow the same things as you but that they have their own set of aspirations that they are pushing toward.
    • They are not changing and evolving, while you are changing and evolving.
  • The problem with someone who doesn’t evolve
    • You get bored with them.
    • You don’t learn from them or you learn what you need from them, and you get into a rut.
    • They may get jealous of your growth.
    • The can’t evolve with changing circumstances and blame others and you for their inability to change.

A Partner You Want

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3









  • They are evolving along side you.
    • You can help and push each other in your evolution and growth
    • They are not the same person you first met, they are better and are continuing to get better.


  • Family always comes first. No buts or ifs. You can bitch about it, but at the end it doesn’t matter you take care of them.
  • It is just as important to push your family in their growth as it is to push your own growth.
    • Some people may be fixed in their ways, but it is also important that you push them.
    • You can’t always


No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you. Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement. You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him. The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong—when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call. Who is it going to be? - Hard Thing about Hard Things
  • No friend will be a friend for all stages of your life. Sometimes friends drift apart and you need to let them go. It is just a part of life.
  • Do activites with friends outside of drinking and eating. It makes the bonds more fun and interesting.


Unscheduled WIP slightly smiling face 

  • Telling kids that they are smart makes them less likely to succeed over time. Tell them that they were good but also point out that maybe they should try something more challenging.
  • Raise children to make good decisions on their own and then trust them with their decisions when they start making them. Don’t spy on them, don’t nag at them, you have to let them fly from the nest at some point.
  • Give kids a lot of time to explore, let them disappear, go on adventures, give them time to learn new activities and push them toward new activities.
  • Don’t hide things from kids. Let them know what you are struggling with early on, let them know that you are human and can make mistakes and aren’t always right. Children are resilient even at a young age and can be tasked with big responsibility.
  • Make reading a big part of their life, push them to achieve but having them set goals for themselves. The goals should get progressively more challenging but manageable.

Other People

For so many, instead of looking for “cause of death” when they expire, we should be looking for “cause of life” when they are still around. - The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

  • Other people are more than their work. They are who they love, who they are as a friend, what they like to do for fun. Don’t equate a person to their job. Many people are finding meaning and a job may be one criteria for their meaning but not the only one. So don’t judge them on it. Find common ground such as their love of things similar to yours.


Our stereotype of men holds that they are providers, decisive, and driven. Our stereotype of women holds that they are caregivers, sensitive, and communal. Because we characterize men and women in opposition to each other, professional achievement and all the traits associated with it get placed in the male column.
All through my life, culturally reinforced signals cautioned me against being branded as too smart or too successful. It starts young. As a girl, you know that being smart is good in lots of ways, but it doesn’t make you particularly popular or attractive to boys. 
So perhaps one positive result of having more women at the top is that our leaders will have been trained to care more about the well-being of others. My hope, of course, is that we won’t have to play by these archaic rules forever and that eventually we can all just be ourselves. - Lean In


Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder. - Steal Like an Artist

Bad People

  • Life needs people like Trump
    • They throw a rock at the system but they also provide fuel and a basis for people fighting against people like him.
    • Most of the time it is bad but in the long run things improve because people see what it can be like if things are bad.


  • Why do you exist?
    • Without knowing your “why” everything will be a struggle because you will be following other people’s why.
    • You may find contentment in other people’s whys and it is important to follow and support others who are moving the world forward.
    • However, this contentment can become resentment over time when you don’t have your own why.
      • If you are a follower the people who are leading can push you around which can make you feel powerless, and aloof.
  • So why do you exist?
    • You should really have a short concise answer to this.
      • This is why you are doing what you are doing.
      • This is what motivates you.
      • This is what drives you forward when things get tough, and you want to quit.
    • But make sure your why can sustain big drastic changes in your life.
      • If you are a scientist and you have made your why around a particular theory and that theory is disproved, well your are screwed.
      • Be careful about making your why other people you take care of, they have the capacity to disappoint you.
    • You why should be ambitious, big, simple and achievable.
      • You should also narrow the domain in which you want to achieve this goal.
      • You cannot tackle too many messages and streams of whys at once.
        • That is you cannot make the goal multifaceted you cannot tackle world hunger and climate change.
          • This makes the goal too muddy and makes it hard for you to focus so you have to have a singular goal that allows you to know if you are moving forward.
        • Don’t make money your why
          • Money is a measure of success not success.
          • After a certain amount of money research shows additional money doesn’t bring greater happiness.
    • The why is the vision by which you can measure your life.
      • It gives you a barometer by which to measure if you are actually progressing towards what you want to do.
        • Are you getting there?
        • Are you taking meaningful steps to get to your why?
    • No why is without obstacles to overcome.
      • This will be the goal of the next chapter.
      • How to overcome the obstacles to get to your why.
  • When you define your “why” you will have to give up something.
    • Not everything is free and you can’t have everything.
      • You can have fame, but you have to give up being anonymous.
      • You can have wealth, but then you have to constantly be badgered about money from people.
      • You can have power, but you give up the type of relationship you have with other people.
    • This is the toll that must be paid for taking the journey that you are taking.
  • You also need to figure out what is holding you back from reaching you why.
    • What is stopping you from getting there?
      • Friends that are no longer conducive to your growth?
      • Habits that prevent you from being fully present?
      • Being in an area that does not give you the growth?
      • Lack of knowledge?
      • If you are with a partner and have you need to figure out how to achieve you why, while also being with them.
        • What are the compromises that you are willing to make?
        • What is good enough for both of you.
        • What are you willing to give up with them to have.
          • Remember nothing comes for free so you have to reorganize your life if you want to achieve your why while also have a strong relationship with your spouse or partner.
          • What are they willing to give up for you?
        • Also, know that at the end of your days, having a good meaningful intimate relationship with your partner is significantly important to your well being.
  • To know your why explore other people’s whys.
    • Figure out who your hero’s are. Figure out people you want to emulate. Figure out what you need to be like them
    • What values do they have that you want? What do they have to give up to be what they are? What are you willing to give up for that?

Vision / Strategy

  • You need a vision
  • Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as he covers most of the pricinples of the vision.
  • But you need to high a big enough vision that you can both aspire towards it but also never truly fully achieve it as you could always do more.
    • But this vision should also translate to whatever company you are working on.
      • Dream big.
      • Life is too short of work on small projects that you want to flip, do something really big with life.

Life Philosophy

  • Everything human has been the same for thousands of years, sure the technology has changed but the ideas on life and how to live is important to choose.
  • Pick a following either the major religions or other minor philosophies including Stocism, etc. and make it your own.
    • Do not take what other people have told you that following is but test them and make them your own.
  • In a meaningless world where really nothing really matters and everything we do in the grand scheme of the timeline of the earth is pointless we need to find solace when times get tough. 
    • Consumerism, Materialism, Sex, and Drugs do not get us past the hard stuff.
    • Finding ideas and thoughts that others have thought through and put into worlds we need to take those ideas and even science experiments and make those a part of our life goals.
  • This doesn’t mean you should push your ideas onto other people.
    • You shouldn’t, your personal life philosophy is how you lead your life not what you tell others how you lead your life.
    • So lead a life that others want to emulate and tell them what you do if they ask, but don’t ruminate and proselytize because frankly no one cares.


There was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond.
What stirred?
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottlemlessly deep?
There was neither death nor immortality then.
There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day.
That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse.
Other than that there was nothing beyond.
Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning,
with no distinguishing sign, all this was water.
The life force that was covered with emptiness,
that One arose through the power of heat.
Desire came upon that One in the beginning,
that was the first seed of mind.
Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom
found the bond of existence and non-existence.
Their cord was extended across.
Was there below?
Was there above?
There were seed-placers, there were powers.
There was impulse beneath, there was giving forth above.
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whence this creation has arisen
perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not
the One who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps even He does not know.
Rig Veda, Nasadiya (Creation Hymn)
Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long.
But a man cannot stand prepared for the approach of death if he has just begun to live. We must make it our aim already to have lived long enough.
- Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
  • stocism is a good way to understand that you can both try and be disconnected from the realities that can come when one tries
  • understand that life is a battle and you are God’s footsoldier but you must strive for the betterment of the world even when what people seem to want are inquisitors running their lives. 

 - Remain ambitious. Being mindful doesn’t mean being a pushover.

 - Strive harder and take on more.

 - It is okay to be angry but get over it


Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know you, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. -Ecclesiastes 11:9
Lord give me chastity and continency, only not yet. - St. Augustine
Trust in Allah, but tie your camel. - Mohammod
Atheists are just modern versions of religious fundamentalists: both take religion too literally. - The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

Most religions all talk about the same thing. Love of god, existence, universe. Never judge another religion for their beliefs without also judging your own. The criteria for seeking truth is universal but if we are not willing to discredit and find fault in even science we might as well be machines. Science can’t answer everything nor can religion. They have rely on each other and we have to rely on both.

  • Remember that religion was what gave us science in the first place.
  • People want an ideal like Jesus because they can never live up to such a person, but Jesus never asked them to bow.
    • Thus, people want an inquisitor someone to tell them what to do and feel.
    • Most people are not strong willed and at the end of the day between bread and ideals will choose bread. The instinct to survive is greater than the ideal of a Jesus.

What? (Care of the Self)

Objectives and Key Results

A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep. To prevent this, the mission must be carefully refined and simplified so that it is explicitly clear and specifically focused to achieve the greater strategic vision for which that mission is a part. - Extreme Ownership
He stressed to them the importance of vision, goals, and a plan. “Without the vision of a goal, a man cannot manage his own life, much less the lives of others,” he told them. -Genghis Khan
  • Once you have your “Why” we need an effective system for getting to your “Why.”
    • The most effective method for this is to have objects that move you toward your goal, and key results that allow you to measure if your objective has been met.
    • This is a system that was come up by Andy Grove to make Intel the behemoth it became.
    • But OKRs as they are called also are super effective for your own life.
  • Objectives and Key Results work like this. You have a single Objective that you want to get to, and then you want to have Key Results which are specific, measurable, and time bound that let your know if you have attained your goal.
    • Furthermore, you should make your objectives streachable, you must work hard to get to your key results and it should be totally easy.
    • What you want to get to is meeting about 75% of your Key Results.
    • You should set OKRs every quarter so you can have a guideline for what to focus on.
  • Once you set your OKRs, they should be your primary focus, and you should not really focus on anything that detracts you from them.
    • You also only want one set of OKRs for your life versus having multiple for a company.
    • This gives you a focus on exactly what you need to focus on as opposed to having to figure out what your focus is.
    • By also limiting your OKRs to one you will have extreme focus on your goal and what you want to achieve.
      • OKRs reduce variability, by reducing your realm of concern you will be more likely to focus on the singular objective and put all your energy behind it.
      • By setting them quarterly, you can also have some slack time so you aren’t hitting burnout.
  • If you achieve your OKRs then you should set some intermediary ones or push you existing results higher.


  • Now that you have you Why and Objectives and Key Results this is the hard part.
    • You have to set up your life to achieve your Why.
    • This means you have to give up certain things that are holding you back from achieving your goals and this is not always pleasant.
    • If being sociable for you is to drink alcohol, but alcohol is limiting your ability to get to your goals then you need to, well, stop drinking alcohol.
    • If certain friends are holding you back from your goals you need to de-prioritize them.
    • If not exercising and eating well is limiting your energy levels to achieve your goals then well you need to start doing that.
  • You need to exude power over yourself before you can exude power over others.
    • This means you have to be willing to give up things.
      • show of anger
      • gratuitousness
      • consumerism
      • alcohol
      • drugs
  • You cannot have everything to have and have power, power requires removal of things.
    • You have to separate yourself from those you want to lead because you are going after your “Why.”
    • When you go after your “Why” you may have to relegate some people to the side, and also relegate some of your behaviors to the side as well.
      • Divide yourself from the other, you cannot be a protector and the one being lead.
      • For the greater good of your “Why” you will be disliked, and thought aloof, and put down.
        • Accept this.
  • Certain habits need to be changed or removed
    • Alcohol removes your inhibition and makes you mentally sloppy you need to limit its intake, or cut it out all together.
    • Drugs and Cigarettes make you a slave to them, you can not lead effectively if you are chasing after you next hit.
      • That becomes your focus not your “Why”
  • Displays of anger means you don’t have control over your emotions and that you have no power to get people to where you want without a disruptive emotion.
    • People are less likely to take your side if you show anger.
    • You can be angry, but you must lead as if you are free of it.
    • People who can’t be made angry, who have power over themselves, can control others.
  • Reduce Consumerism
    • Buying things you need is fine, but things have a habit of owning you.
    • Your stuff also makes your mind more cluttered and holds you down.
    • Really consider if you need things before purchasing them.
    • Do not fall for consumerism because consumerism is letting others decide what you are, not you getting to decide what you are.
    • Figure out what you can remove from your life, not what you can add on.
      • Can you remove things and be perfectly happy?
      • What can you remove?
      • Read Marie Kando, “Does it bring you joy?”

Make Your Bed (Habits)

  • You need to put things in their place to be effective.
  • Make Your Bed
  • Clean and Make Time for Cleaning Everyday
  • Schedule time for self-reflection
  • Habits are the basis of allowing you to do good.
    • This means that you have to develop good habits to accomplish what you set out to do.
  • vices
    • pick the vices you want to keep
    • a vice has a cost even if it is externalized
      • bur someone is paying it even if it is not you
  • Routine
    • Having a routine is the most important thing
      • Even if that routine involves staying in bed for an hour thinking about all the tasks and writing them into a notebook. That is still a routine.
      • Have a time to turn off from your work or a way to transition from one frame of mind to another
        • People usually go to an office to work
        • If working at home there must be a physical change

Incremental Changes

  • Most of all if you are embarking on a new journey you need to minimize your commitment to create a new habit
    • This requires a small 1% improvement everyday.
    • The best way to make habits is to reduce the task to the simplest thing take out everything and do it.
      • This is means not making it huge or anything big.
      • We just want to make it super small and easy to use.
  • Kaizen your life.
    • It is small changes that make the big things over time.
    • Small improvements will help you notice the things that are most important and things that are holding you back.

Ongoing improvement

I love learning. I really do. The joy of discovering something myself stuck with me. Unfortunately school really makes you not want to learn. It has made a lot of people feel like failures. But I think we need to take another route. We need to let people discover what they are good at. Failure is an option. You can't learn if you don't fail. The biggest thing I wish my teaches never said to the class was you'll be flipping burgers if you don't pass this test. That is absolutely atrocious.

Smart people fail. Repeatedly.

We have taught a generation that failure is not an option. In a way this has caused the current generations narsasstic view of themselves as kings and queens. I succeeded college give me a cookie.

No. Learning does not stop when you leave school. Learning never should stop. However how many people have opened a book in the last 30 days?

People are dumbing themselves. No one is actively trying to improve themselves. Life is putting in as much as you take. And a lot of it is boring and monotonous. It'll suck. But that is what it is. You fail learn and fail again. Don't expect success to be given. It is as much luck as anything else.


One of the primary things that we need to do as we move forward in live is figure out what our weaknesses are. It is okay to have weaknesses and being vulnerable is good to the people you love, but we must also work slowly to remove weaknesses.

  • Habits
    • Negative Habits that are holding you back.
    • Not exercising
    • Not eating well
    • Vices
      • Smoking
      • Drinking
      • Porn
    • Nail biting
    • Not grooming
    • Getting angry
    • Not listening
  • Knowledge
    • Gaps in knowledge
    • Not enough information that is being gathered
  • Influence and Power
    • Inability to wield power
    • Inability to get the tasks you want done, done.
  • Time Management
    • Not spending time wisely
    • Wastes of time
    • Not working on high value stuff

Before we can work on our weaknesses we must first figure out what they are. Once we have the liste of weakness we can then change them one by one.

Do not attempt to change everything at once as that does not work.

The goal is to change your weaknesses over time.

To get better you need to first know what it is that is holding you back. These are the things that you need to develop


  • It is important to have time to self-reflect.
  • This should be at least an hour a day that is dedicated to this task as it leads to deep thinking about yourself, your goals and your ambitions.
  • If you can contribute your reflections freely so that others can read them, this forces your to put things in a perspective where you don’t want to be wrong.
    • If you write for yourself you can make things shallow but make it a habit to think broadly.
  • The best way to do this is to write, and rewrite your thoughts so that they break down into units that you can then breakdown.
    • By deconstruction you will be able to really find holes in your logic.
  • Learn to write well and write things frequently
  • Here are some topics to self-reflect about.
    • I’d recommend writing 30 minutes everyday.

Where have I failed?

How did I not use power?

What was I lacking?

Where have I succeeded?

How have I used power?

What did I have?

What decisions I have made have been good?

What made them good?

What decisions did I make which were poor?

Why where they poor?

How can I increase my time management

How can I increase my power

How can I increase my knowledge?

What can I delegate in my tasks that will increase my leverage?

What can I purchase that will increase my leverage and time?

How can I reduce variability in the tasks that I am doing?

What can I delegate to other people?

What tools are out there that can make my life easier?

Self Reflection Topics

• What is taking my time and what am I not spending enough time on?

• What systems can I place to create better habits? What poor habits do I have?

• What is holding me back from achieving my Why?

• How are my Maslovs Hiearchy of Needs and are they being met?

• What am I missing from my life?

Play by the Rules or Make the Rules

  • To be a sheepdog you have to be willing to create new rules for yourself that don’t exist in the world.
  • Everyone is playing a certain game and you have to realize that those rules were made by other people.
  • Those rules also have the fallibility of people who have written them.
  • To advance in life and to advance life you have to make new rules that you live by.
  • This means ignore certain rules that you deem are not worthwhile or using those same rules to breakdown the system from within.
  • This will be looked down upon by society.
    • Society values innovators, but doesn’t like them at the same time.
    • Innovation is scary to people as it means new things that they are not used to.
    • People who are setting themselves up for a life of sheepdoging will also be looked down.
      • People don’t like people who cry wolf, even if the wolf is real.
      • So to be a sheepdog is to go against the grain, some people will not like you.
        • They won’t like you because you will be different from them.
        • You will be once removed from society and its concerns because to be a sheepdog you are building your future, which means being aloof now.
  • You will be beaten over and over again.
    • If you “Why” is significantly challenging enough you will face insurmountable odds against you.
    • A sheepdog also means you have to protect others from from the wolves and the wolves are whispering in the ears of the sheep against you.
    • A sheepdog has to have control over themselves, be mentally ready and limit their concerns to the few things that are valuable.

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.