As a product manager, do you feel like you're swimming in a sea of stress and overwhelm? You're always putting out fires and working on urgent but unimportant things. As a result, the needle never moves towards what really matters.
How can you shift your day, so there's time for the bigger goals and tasks that move you closer to your top priorities?
Let's take a page from Google and look at their 70-20-10 rule, and how it applies to you.
Google strives to spend 70 per cent of their investment time on core research and ads, 20 per cent on adjacent businesses like Google News and Google Earth, and 10 per cent on genuinely new things.
The behemoth realized early on they could blindly fall into the trap of spending all their time on continually improving their existing products.
What's so wrong about that?
The inability to step back and realize when you need to pivot instead of improve can be a business' death sentence. Palm Pilot, Blackberry, Blockbuster, and many others ceased to exist or lost their market share because although they continually enhanced what was there, they failed to innovate.
And the same can happen to you as a product manager if you spend all your time on short-term goals or reactionary items. Instead, there needs to be time to develop and grow new ideas that can change your product's direction.
How does Google's 70-20-10 rule translate into your day-to-day as a product manager?
A large chunk of your time should be spent on current responsibilities and short-term tasks like objectives, aims, and initiatives for products your working on.
You could find yourself working on managing and planning sprints, developing product requirements, or writing user stories. The focus here is on delivering your product.
Also, chances are your team spans multiple people who report to other departments. You'll need to spend time aligning your team to make sure everyone is heading at the same pace towards a common goal.
This also includes clarifying any product uncertainties and making sure your product has everything it needs to succeed and thrive.
Customer feedback is crucial identifying, validating, and improving proposed products and features.
At least one-fifth of your time needs to involve interviewing customers or analyzing written feedback. The insights gleaned from these activities will show how well you're solving existing problems and uncover new issues you weren't aware of.
Makerkit's feedback portal makes it simple to collect user comments and criticisms for a project with a link you can embed on your website and email campaigns.
And activating the single sign-on option in your account nets you more feedback by allowing customers to log in, without the hassle of needing to create an account.
To keep everything organized, entries can be tagged with things like #feature-requests, #bugs, and #integration.
Designating some time to work on out-of-the-box ideas can yield incredible results. Google's genius hour, for instance, lets employees spend 20 per cent of their work week exploring or working on a passion project of their choice.
The result? Genius hour has became a fountain of innovation and has spewed forth ideas that turned into much-loved products like Gmail, Google News, and Adsense.
As a product manager, you should also give yourself permission to chase the insane and work on nutty projects for at least 10 per cent of your workweek.
You can present your whacky prototype during customer interviews and see how it's received. If results look promising, you can share it again at demo meetings. You never know; you may found you've struck gold.
What time management tip has had the most impact on your daily life as a product manager?
(Feature image via Pexels)