Abhi Yerra

Sheepdog: A Framework for Action in Life and Work

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
  • Give People a Why, they are more likely to listen to you
  • Are we growing in a compounded way?
  • Track a singular metric that is most relevant to your business and make  sure that it is growing in an exponential way.
  • This X-Factor from Peter Thiel says you should have something that is compounding daily. Example, 7% user growth a day.
  • Law of Diminishing Returns
  • Are you working so hard that you are no longer really productive? Ensure that you are aware of this.
  • Execution is all about Leverage. How does a certain action lead to the desired outcome of a goal.

Time Management

  • It is really important to have good time management.
  • We all are given the same 24 hours a day.
  • How we use that 24 hours to achieve what we want is very much comes down to how we spend our time. 
  • Time = Money
  • Use money to create leverage.
  • What money can you spend to get something done quicker than if you were to do it yourself.
  • 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 
  • Long chunks of deep work
  • The only true way to get things done is to have long chunks of time for yourself that you use to advance.
  • Reduce the number of things you are doing and have a stop doing list
  • Doing something has a cost
  • 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
  • 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.
Time Off
  • 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
  • So sleep.
  • 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.

Systems and Processes

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 and they are usually not concrete and not actionable which causes confusion when deciding tasks.
  • 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, 

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.

Goals / OKRs

Measuring what matters begins with the question: What is most important for the next three (or six, or twelve) months? Successful organizations focus on the handful of initiatives that can make a real difference, deferring less urgent ones. - Measure What Matters
Measuring what matters begins with the question: What is most important for the next three (or six, or twelve) months? Successful organizations focus on the handful of initiatives that can make a real difference, deferring less urgent ones. 
- Measure What Matters
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
  • Best way to set goals is through OKRs: Objectives as Key Results
  • This gives you a blueprint of what you are trying to achieve and the specific actionable metrics that are useful to know if you actually met your goals.
  • OKRs should allow you to fulfill your vision but be actionable and have deadlines.
  • The goals are important since it gives you a goal post to achieve
  • To attain a goal you have to apply the learnings backwards.
  • What are the series of learnings you need to do to effectively reach your goal
  • From there you need to then advance the next layer by bringing your own input into the change
  • Your goals for each quarter should fit on 1 page. There should theoretically be only 3 major OKRs for the whole organization otherwise there are too many things to keep track of and you will lose focus.
  • 1 Page forces you to focus
Effective OKRs
  • Where do you want to go?
  • What are 3 things you can do to get there?
  • Specific & Time Bound
  • Aggressive But Realistic
  • Measurable & Verifiable
  • Does your goal track to the overarching company goal?
  • Does your goal address the needs of the project you are working on?
  • What is blocking you from achieving those goals
Measure what matters
  • Objective. This should be the goal that you want to achieve
  • Key Results. This is the specific measurable goals that you will use to setup success.
Okr should be at all levels that realign goals based on top level needs.
People need to set up half or more of their own objectives. This gives them autonomy and ability to measure up
It defines a what and is measurable.
Key results should measure effect and counter effect
All key results must be met to met objective can’t be half asses
Key results must be specific, succinct and measurable
Okr writing scheduled
What is your objective? How does your part fit with the larger objective for the quarter and larger vision of the company?
What are 4 key results with measurable outputs that you seek to fulfill. What is the time frame?
Go over okr with abhi
Does this align with the goals of the company?
How can key results be made much better?
Will this get fulfilled within the month?
OKR Review
Okr review
How is meeting your okr?
Are you blocked on anything?
Are your interests aligning with what you are working on?


  • All tasks should follow the Eisenhower Matrix in terms of how you do them.
  • 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 outcomes and certain time frame. As such hanging a bunch of tasks 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. This should be regularity reviewed and updated to keep with the vision and okrs. The main thing is 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.
Do First
Schedule for Later
Not Important
Don’t Do


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.
  • Take time to take in the observation, don’t hastily make a decision hastily.
  • 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

Time Tracking

  • Prioritize tasks so that they fulfill the okrs and mission
  • 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 5 Major Tasks
Reasons for waste
  1. What would happen if they were not done at all.
  1. Time-wastes often result from overstaffing.
  1. Remove Excess Meetings
  1. Malfunction or information

Start and stop time

  • it is important to have a start and stop time. Basically it is easy to work all the time and then get burnt out because well you were working all the time. 
  • start work at a particular hour
  • Stop work on a particular hour
  • Take the weekend completely off and don’t think about work.
  • Your brain is a muscle. You need to push 




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.





  • Tasks are a, b,c,d 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
  • Apply them appropriately to your tasks what will create the most output of course A tasks but you need to rank them as such.



Definition of Done

  • Done is defined as when a customer sees it and uses it.
  • Otherwise it is not done