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Course notes: Time Management for Technical Leaders

Course notes on Patrick Kua's "Time Management for Technical Leaders"

These are my notes on Patrick Kua’s Time Management for Technical Leaders.

Main insight: plan, split scary tasks, time box and rest. Aim for a WIP of 1.


  • Focus on how you can have the biggest impact with the time you have.
  • Eisenhower Matrix:
    organization before
    • Do: emergencies, major outages, crisis, someone quitting.
    • Decide:
      • Manage technical debt.
      • Building relationships.
      • Schedule time.
      • Research.
    • Delegate: See Camille Fournier’s delegation matrix.
  • Biorhythm: Keep track for a week on how is your energy level on each task.
  • Defrag your calendar: group together similar nature tasks.
  • 2 minutes rule: Do now anything that takes less than two minutes.
  • Parkinson’s Law:
    • “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion”.
    • Time box.
    • Spit into smaller tasks.
  • Pareto’s Law.
  • Carlson’s Law: Multitasking is bad.
  • Law of Diminishing Returns (Illich’s Law): You need to rest.
  • Hofstadter’s Law:
    • “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law”.
    • Prepare plan B.
    • Early feedback.
    • On planning, think about all possible bad scenarios.
  • Law of The Least Effort (Laborit’s Law):
    • “Human behaviour drives us to do what makes us happy first”.
    • It is human nature to avoid stress.
    • Eat the frog first.
    • Give yourself a reward.
    • Get started by baby steps.
  • How to kill dead time:
    • Meditation.
    • Make notes.
    • Call someone.
    • Do nothing.
  • Slack. Great book.
  • Productivity Systems:
    1. Get Things Done:
      • Open Loops:
        • When you worry about when and if something is going to get done.
        • Source of stress.
      • Three steps:
        • What is the outcome.
        • What is the next step.
        • Reminder.
      • Bucked things per timeframe.
    2. Pomodoro Technique.
    3. Personal Kanban:
      • Visualize your work.
      • Limit WIP to 1.

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