Top Ten Time Management Tips for New Product Managers

Top Ten Time Management Tips for New Product Managers

Starting off as a product manager for the first time is an exciting and challenging experience. New product managers can easily be overwhelmed with the position, with so many different responsibilities to learn all at once. Here are few helpful tips for new product managers, providing specific practical advice for those new to the product management role or thinking about moving in to product management role. Experienced product managers will benefit as well, as these tips can serve as good refreshers and useful pointers for those who are taking on additional or different product management responsibilities.

Stay Protective of your time: Prioritize themes, not projects

Time management is not merely about doing more; it is doing what is more or most important. Having a list of tasks you need to do is not enough. The most vital aspect of time management is identifying what is really important. – Create a list of themes for your product or business. Examples might be customer acquisition, activation, retention, average revenue per user, average visits per user, etc. Pick ~3 that are the most important for your product given its stage. If your churn rate is extremely low then you don’t have much to gain by focusing on retention, so you should probably focus elsewhere.

Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination can badly cripple one’s productivity. It leads to wasting precious time and energy; this is why it must be avoided. One way to do so is to know and recognize that you’re starting to procrastinate; find out the real reason why or what leads you to putting aside important things and then do something about it quick before procrastination totally cripples you. Yes, it is capable of doing so if you just let it be.

Get organized:

We all know that “priorities” are part of organizing but why not take priorities out of the mix – how do you organize so you always know what’s going on?

From managing vendors, to development, to business relationships, to the boss, to vision, to strategy, to evangelizing, to market research, to sales and marketing, to you name it.

Moreover, anyone having trouble with organizing should remember that organizing simply boils down to knowing where things go and what needs to get done. Thus, having reminders of things around the workplace may help the person to become more organized. And of course, having a schedule of doing things is going to help the person as well in the long run since it is always easier to have organization when you have a schedule and know when things are coming up. Thus, before panicking, the person should realize that organization is something that they can learn.

Remember the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule (or the Pareto Principle) is the idea that by doing 20% of the work you can produce 80% of the benefit of doing the whole job.

The value of this for a project manager is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 per cent of activities that matter. Of the activities you do during your project, only 20 per cent are important. Those 20 per cent produce 80 per cent of your results. Identify and focus on those activities.

Meeting should not just “Status Updates”

It’s best to avoid team meetings where you go round the room asking each person to give a status update. These meetings have little value and waste time. Instead, spend that time focusing on risks, issues and opportunities. Use the team to brainstorm solutions and create ideas.

Team meetings should have an agreed agenda that you stick to. If you schedule an hour for the meeting, make sure it lasts for an hour and no longer.

Take big issues off-line if they are likely to cause a meeting overrun. Don’t make everyone sit through lengthy technical discussions that don’t involve them. Setup a working group to focus on the issues and report to the team at a future meeting.

Manage your inbox effectively: If you want to receive less email, send less email
As ridiculously simple as it sounds for such a pervasive problem, however, the golden rule of email management: Send less of it.

This rule first occurred to me during my experience at a previous company where two of the people I worked most closely with ended up leaving the organization within the span of several weeks. They were both highly effective communicators, worked long hours, and as it turned out, sent a lot of email. While they were at the company, our email cadence seemed absolutely normal. It wasn’t until after they left that I realized my inbox traffic had been reduced by roughly 20-30%.

Avoid distractions:

Besides, e-mail, there could be many distractions in the office, with so many social networking apps like Whats app, Facebook we keep getting distracted by pings and messages. Ensure that you switch off connectivity mode of your cell phone at work.

Multi-tasking can be an enemy:

According to an article by Psychology Today, only 2% of people can multitask effectively. For the rest of us, multitasking limits our ability to do any of the tasks we are working on well. Despite the facts, multitasking has become synonymous with productivity for most in the workforce. So what can you do to go against the tide? First, practically do whatever you need to do to only accomplish one task at a time. For example, maybe you close your email program on your computer and only check it during three specified periods of your day. Or if you are working on a blog post, close all of the other tabs on your computer. Focusing is so much easier if there aren’t visual stimuli to distract you.

Reclaim your calendar … and your life

Stever Robbins, famous for advice on maximizing your creativity and whipping your email into submission, now is integrating time management and innovation into a coherent system for getting things done. From his new guide to working less and accomplishing more, Robbins offers these four simple but elegant time-management principles:

● Live on purpose.
●Make technology your slave, not the other way around.
●Don’t confused “neat” with “organized.”

Courtesy: Business Management Daily.

As a Product manager, you must remain involved in your employees’ activities. But where does involvement stop and micromanaging begin? Sticking your nose too deeply into an employee’s work process can be counterproductive and waste time. Learn to control the process, not the people.

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