- Three 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?
- What is the opportunity cost of doing the task? What is the next highest value thing that you could be doing instead of this task? What is the ROI?
- 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.
- What is the next highest value task you are missing by doing this task?
- Who would be the lowest person on the chain to delegate this task to?
- 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?
- 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.
- Focused time for executing.
- Not planning
- This is time for advancing forward your work goals.
Self-Reflection / Work-Reflection
- Reflect on yourself
- What could you improve?
- What can you do improve your leverage?
- Plan activities and projects
- Plan execution agenda
- Take time off for achieving specific tasks
- 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
- Important, Not Urgent
- Put it on the calendar to do
- Not Important, Urgent
- Not Important, Non Urgent
- Don’t do it at all or put it in a backlog to check on later
- 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
- What would happen if they were not done at all.
- Time-wastes often result from overstaffing.
- Remove Excess Meetings
- Malfunction or information
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
Schedule Time to Do 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.
- Almost all of life can be dealt with in this way.
- People follow patterns and if you can create enough mental models to get into the patterns that they fall into the decision loop that they get into you will be able to out think everyone else.
- Need to experiment faster and quicker than others:
- Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, “Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.
- Most things in life are going through this cycle so how you go through this cycle quickly among multiple tasks that you are working on is important to note.
- Figure out what is happening
- Use your mental models to make a plan of attack
- These mental models should also include what your competition is going to do next.
- Create mental aspects of what the enemy/competition/etc is doing.
- Get in their head
- Figure out all the individual pieces and combine them
- Make a decision
- Use 60-80% of information to make a decision.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. The goal is to fail fast if a decision is incorrect.
- What did the decision conclude? Use that to go back to Observe
- Tasks are A, B, C, D and each is based on the 80/20 rule.
- D is 80/20
- C is 80/20 of 80/20
- B is 80/20 of 80/20 of 80/20
- A is 80/20 of 80/20 of 80/20 of 80/20
- Your goal is to move up the chain to work on the A tasks.
- The A tasks basically is 1% of what you do generates 54% of the value.
- So pick the most high impact tasks that you can, or get yourself into projects that have those impacts.
- Those projects will be the ones that give the most bang for the buck.
Doing Less = Doing More
Doing less is important because it forces you to come to the realization of what is important. Complex features break things but simple things can grow. It is why so many companies start with a stake in the ground around a simple otherwise not noteworthy feature.
When you focus on the one thing and say no to all the other things that are around and really simplify your offering you can make those tasks really compelling because you have the energy to focus completely on them. Having a bunch of ideas and throwing more on the heap actually makes you less likely to succeed.
Smart people can get into the trap that more is better because you can do things in an infinite variety of ways but in a lot of ways what wins in how to do it a couple of ways. There is a Coke and there is a Pepsi. There may be a long tail but that is an exception.
This means focusing on fewer things and letting go of tasks that are not important are important for a few reasons. It allows you to hyperfocus. It makes the business simpler to operate and grow. It allows for rapid expansion and simplicity in sales cycle.
It means that a company becomes isolated and fruitful. It does not become bloated. Most of your value is captured by few things but that means you can grow much more rapidly.
It means that a business really has a timeframe. It exists in time and space and at some point it no longer ceases to be relaxant. It needs to understand that. Nothing lasts forever. Even hundred year old companies go out of business.
This means saying no. Do not really take on any project unless you are absolutely sure that you are the perfect person to do it. Doing any idea anywhere is ripe for doing crap work. But focusing day in day out on the same project that has value that takes a lot more energy and is in the long run much more fruitful.
- What you wear
- What you do at what time
- What you do during those times
Delegation / Automation
Automation is certainly one way to improve the leverage of all types of work. Having machines to help them, human beings can create more output. But in both widget manufacturing and administrative work, something else can also increase the productivity of the black box. This is called work simplification. To get leverage this way, you first need to create a flow chart of the production process as it exists. Every single step must be shown on it; no step should be omitted in order to pretty things up on paper. Second, count the number of steps in the flow chart so that you know how many you started with. Third, set a rough target for reduction of the number of steps. In the first round of work simplification, our experience shows that you can reasonably expect a 30 to 50 percent reduction. To implement the actual simplification, you must question why each step is performed. Typically, you will find that many steps exist in your work flow for no good reason. Often they are there by tradition or because formal procedure ordains it, and nothing practical requires their inclusion. -High Output Management
- Things that eat up your time and you are not good at
- Things that don't have immediate benefit and more of nice to haves.
- One of the best ways to increase leverage is to delegate and automate to create more time.
- If it takes you 10 hours to do something and your hourly rate is $50/hr
- Someone can do that task for $100/hr in 2 hours.
- You save $300 dollars and ~9 hours of time. You have to count the time to actually delegate into the equation.
- By delegating more and more you get to focus on the higher value tasks and spend more time doing what you want to do.
- This means organizing your life in the following way initially do all the steps needed and create repeatable systems.
- Delegate tasks that are time consuming by either automating them or delegating them to another person to do.
- Make a large list of tasks that has everything thing you do in a given day, week, month.
- Figure out which ones are high value
- Optimize for those high value tasks
- Delegate all the tasks that are not high value for you.
- You may not like bookkeeping, but there are bookkeepers who like bookkeeping.
- Use something like Upwork to find freelancers who can take care of these tasks.
- Tasks to Automate / Delegation
- Sales Prospecting
- How do you get to a point of delegating if you don’t have much money to begin with?
- This one is hard because to grow you need to delegate, but to delegate you need money.
- Further, delegation isn’t dump and forget. You need to train the other person on how to do their job well and ensure they also are good at what they do.
- The goal is to start small. Super small. Find one thing that you want to have someone else do.
- Figure outs the procedure for doing this one small thing.
- Define the checklist of what needs to be done.
- Have them do it.
- Improve the checklist over time.
Time off / Vacation
- Take regular time off.
- No man is a machine and we all need to take time off
- Travel, do other activities, etc.
- Just completely get away from what you are doing
- Get plenty of sleep
- I used to think sleep was weakness, but now notice that if I get less sleep I am not functional at all.
- Sleep clears your mind and makes your more efficient
- Leisure helps the brain work in the background when you are doing other things.
- This means you can work on new stuff and when you come to your work you are fresh and not burnt out.
- Constantly thinking about work is like doing pull ups 16 hours a day.
- Your body grows then it rests, your brain muscles need to relax so they can improve.
- You brain is also a muscle that needs breaks to help it think better over time.
- Leisure could be multiple things:
- Working on stuff unrelated to work
- Learn a new language
- Spend time with your partner
- Create a Sabbath day. I’m not Jewish, but having a day of rest is super important for the brain to generate new ideas.
- It is important to take a complete mental break for at least a week every quarter.
- You brain needs to generate new ideas and the best way to do that is to
Work On-Off Time
- Start Work and End Work at the same time everyday
- This gives you brain time to relax and think about the problems.
- Your brain is a muscle it cannot be worked all the time.
- If it is worked all the time it starts making wrong decisions or suboptimal decisions
- By limiting your time to certain hours you give your brain the focused time that it knows it needs to work and a shutoff time after which it can relax.
- Like your body your brain needs to relax and think behind the scenes to make the connections stronger.
- After your time off do not think about work.
- Work on other things and have other projects outside of work.
- Exercise, clean, spend time with partner, go on dates, hikes, garden, cook, etc. but don’t really think about work.
- Unfortunately, this also means don’t read books about work related things outside of work as it encourages your brain to start thinking about work.
- If you want to read about work stuff do it during work time.
- This is a big problem with the modern world is that there is no off switch.
- One of the problems is that you may think of ideas outside of work for that just write it down or take note of it somewhere. I use DayOne for this.
- If you do not start and stop at the same time what you end up with is burnout.
- Your brain just will not be able to process and you will not be able to make any decision because essentially you get short circuited.
- Nature Time
- Get some nature time.
- The outdoors rejuvenate you in a why few things can.
- I’m neither Jewish nor Christian but having a day or two completely off from work is immensely important.
- This includes:
- No thinking about work
- No reading work stuff
- No looking at computer for work
- Spend this time with family and friends and do other activities that are unrelated to work.
- things that hold you from getting what you need to get done take time and space in your brain
- It is better to get them done and move on than to let them linger for a long time.
- The more time that you procrastinate the more energy you expend and also big other people.
- So you need to make a list of impediments and these are the tasks that you need to accomplish first.
- From the list you need to prioritize based on how important each task is.
- From here either set aside a calendar time to accomplish the task or delegate it to someone else to do.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself because this will lead to more procrastination.