Product management can be extremely stressful and frustrating if you don’t know how to manage your time well. With so many activities and teams to juggle, a product manager’s most essential skill is time management. One only has 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, and unless you plan not to sleep, the best thing for you to do is make sure that every minute is spent wisely, so you can do your job effectively and have enough time left for yourself.
Here are some time management tips for product managers who wish to successfully introduce a new product, feature, or solution and still keep their health and sanity:
Know When to Say No
A product manager is practically everywhere, and it can get very easy to to be involved in every discussion, decision-making, and detail. Before you know it, you have become everyone’s primary source of information, which seems alright in the beginning, but will keep you from fully focusing on your real job. Knowing when you need to say no to certain meetings and calls can greatly keep you from losing valuable time for product related activities. Don’t be afraid to upset other people, and learn to reject certain requests in a polite and professional manner without having to apologize.
Have Shorter and More Frequent Meetings
A usual mistake is having meetings that run too long and ad hoc meetings that lack focus. A best practice would be to schedule recurring weekly or bi-weekly meetings that are less than an hour in length. You will be surprised, and very happy, to see how a well-planned 30-minute meeting can do so much more than a poorly organized 2-hour meeting.
Document and Organize Information
Try not to get too overwhelmed with all your hectic schedules that you forget to record or document important information. This activity of documenting and organizing important details from meetings, calls, and emails is often skipped as a product manager goes through all their obligations, leaving other teams clueless, confused, or unaware of the latest happenings related to product. There are various tools that can help you record and organize, from the simple whiteboard to special software tools and apps. Take some time to figure out which ones will work best for you.
Learn to Time-Block
One common problem among product managers is having to work under constant stress, always multi-tasking and being sleep deprived, eventually developing work fatigue. Once you get caught in this vicious cycle, it can get very challenging to stay on top of your game. Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results (Bard Press, 2013) uses a technique called time-blocking, wherein he dedicates a few hours to a single task. This technique helps to increase one’s focus and eliminate any distraction. He says, “It may sound extreme, but it’s honestly one of the simplest and most effective tactics for anyone to live by.”
Every opportunity for product managers to be more effective without having to spend more time in the office that they are supposed to is definitely something worth considering. Try these and see how you can gain efficiency at work and get more hours for yourself! You might also want to sign up for a Product School course and get more tips about successfully building your next product.
Michelle Gonzalez has been writing for SMEs across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK for the last five years. She is a highly-experienced blogger and SEO copywriter, writing business blogs for various industries such as marketing, law, health and wellness, beauty, and education, particularly on product management training such as those offered by ProductSchool.com.