If you are in product management, you know how stressful and frustrating it can get when you are not able to effectively manage your time. Indeed, time management is a skill that every product manager needs to possess. With millions of activities and teams to manage in just a 24-hour day and 7-day week, a product manager can easily lose time for other important things, like personal time with family and friends. And sleep.
It pays to be efficient in doing what you do. Here are a few tips for product managers on how to effectively manage their time:
Learn to Say No
A product manager deals with practically everyone in the company, and this can get someone in a very busy schedule if you don’t know when and how to say no. While the job entails that you collaborate with practically everyone, you need to know that you are not in product management to please everyone just so you can gain their trust and cooperation. If you want to have more time focusing on your job and successfully, you will need to start saying no to certain meetings and calls without being apologetic to your colleagues. As long as you politely decline them, you have nothing to worry about.
Conduct Shorter Meetings
Instead of conducting hour-long meetings, it would be a better practice to have shorter and more frequent meetings that are well-organized. One common mistake among product managers is conducting very long meetings that lack focus. Make it a goal to have regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings that are no longer than one hour.
Although you have a very busy schedule, make it a point to record or document important information. Sometimes, with all the hustle and bustle, it can get pretty easy to be overwhelmed and forget this very essential habit of documenting and organizing important details from your meetings, calls, and emails. There are a lot of tools available to help you in recording and organizing information and documents, from the old reliable whiteboard to software tools and apps. Choose the tools that work best for you.
Learn Not to Multi-Task
It is very tempting to multi-task with all the tasks that need to get done. While most would argue that multi-tasking is necessary to survive in product management, there have time when you just need to focus on one task – to successfully complete it and keep your sanity. Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results (Bard Press, 2013) practices a simple technique known as time-blocking, in which he dedicates a few hours to just one single task. He attests that this technique is helpful in increasing one’s focus and eliminating distraction. He says, “It may sound extreme, but it’s honestly one of the simplest and most effective tactics for anyone to live by.”
Try these tips as soon as you can and see your work life, and personal life, transform for the better! These, and attending a product management workshops like the ones offered by Product School, will be very helpful in more effectively managing your valuable time and successfully building your next product.
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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.