Making it all work

“For the first twenty-five years of my life, I wanted freedom. For the next twenty-five years, I wanted order. For the next twenty-five years, I realized that order is freedom.” – Winston Churchill

As Product Managers in fast growing technology companies there’s always tons to do and at times it can be overwhelming. There are constant deadlines and ship dates that are crucial to the product and company’s success. Product Managers need to be super organized and responsive. David’s Allen’s Getting Things Done & Making It All Work are two books I think every product manager should read to create more hours in their day. The main idea is to not keep everything in your mind but instead offload into a reliable system. I keep the following flow chart on my desk as a reminder:

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This system has created more space in my head and reduced overwhelm. In turn, allowed me to be more creative when solving complex product issues. David Allen talks more about this in the following TED talk:

 

Flow

Creativity is a drug I cannot live without. ~Cecil DeMile

I’ve been fascinated by the work of Steven Kotler on the state of “flow”. It is the state of ultimate human performance. We have all experienced it. It’s that feeling of being in the zone where we lose track of time and produce our best work. The following is a great playlist that covers flow really well:

 

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids

On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain

Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day

On the fly?

When you ask: How are you?

Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,

do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores

running through your head?

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last

Ever told your child,

We’ll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste,

Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,

Let a good friendship die

Cause you never had the time

To call and say, “Hi”?

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere

You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,

It is like an unopened gift

thrown away.

Life is not a race.

Do take it slower.

Hear the music

Before the song is over.

– David L. Weatherford

 

Theming Your Days

As an entrepreneur, it’s a constant challenge to make sure you’re prioritizing your time effectively. I’ve tried many time management systems but the one that’s been working pretty well for me has been one that was recommended to me by Jack Dorsey, the founder Twitter & Square.  For me here’s how I structure my week:

Monday: Business Development & Finances

Tuesday: Product Development

Wednesday: Sales & Marketing

Thursday: Affiliates & Partnerships

Friday: Culture & Recruiting

Saturday: Personal Development/ Hobbies / Spending time with Family & Friends

Sunday: Getting ready and organizing for the upcoming week.

By having different themes for my days this way, I feel that I can proactively focus on the things that matter rather being reactive. Also, having routines and rituals for each day allow me to avoid decision fatigue. Here are some of the tools that I use consistently.

Trello: Personal & Business task & project management.

LiftApp: Forming new habits and tracking existing ones.

SunriseApp: Scheduling meeting and planning my week

What are some your strategies for staying on top of your game? What are some productivity hacks you use?

Put your answers the comments below: