One of the biggest challenges I’m seeing across the board in the world of product management. Work-life balance. So my question to you is…is your work bleeding into the rest of your life?
You are up early on standups with India or China. You are answering messages from the head of sales during dinner, you spend all of Sunday trying to get ahead for Monday.
I have product managers who come to me who just can’t do it anymore, working all hours of the day and night getting emails all the time and feeling as if they are expected to reply as soon as possible, constantly feeling behind and like they can never catch up.
So what can you do when you feel trapped in a world where there’s no time to breathe much less time for yourself.
First, you must stop and get clear on the real situation.
I am talking about the real situation, not the one you perceive and not the one you fear, but what’s really going on. Why are you feeling overworked, what is driving it?
Many times, when we end up in toxic situations fear becomes the driver, which causes us to work nonstop trying to prove ourselves for example. We are fearful that we are not good enough, that we cannot keep up with our colleagues, or that we will get fired.
For others, the overwork may be based on what we call limiting beliefs about what you can and can’t do. For example, if I cut my workload down, I will be a failure or I will not get promoted. If I have work-life balance, I will lose my job.
Other causes may include:
…A toxic boss who expects 24×7.
…Having too many products to manage.
…The job itself. Perhaps it is no longer challenging or it’s no longer fit for you.
For many, I recommend they have an honest conversation with their boss. However,
I work with my clients on how to have these conversations that drive both balance and respect from your leadership.
Step 2….Focus on the outcomes you want.
What do you want your work and life tapestry to look like?
Are your values in alignment with these outcomes?
Then you set boundaries based on the outcomes you want.
When you set boundaries for your life and career you help empower others to do so as well.
Great businesses and leaders know how to prioritize, they understand the power of focusing time and energy on the right things for success for leaders and poor organizations do not.
I challenge you, as product managers and leaders, to create an environment where you and others can be successful. Set those boundaries. Claim what you want your work-life tapestry to look like.
Step 3…..at your current job, is this a systematic issue of overwork that will never change?
I actually want you to look at the current job LAST. I want you to go through the internal fears and identify the work-life tapestry first.
When you can get clear on what’s driving the overwhelm and burnout and work on the root causes, then you can begin to see the forest for the trees.
Things can change very quickly for you within a matter of a few weeks, to be able to put you in a position where you can do what’s right, short and long term for yourself and for your family.
Most of my clients I’m able to help them repurpose between 20 to 30% of their time back, and drastically reduce their stress within about three weeks, significant change is possible. And you can absolutely repurpose your time and build a path to your future now, even if the environment and challenges that I’ve described are what you are experiencing right now.
If you need help to understand how to both become an amazing product leader along with work-life balance, I encourage you to schedule a complimentary career-roadmap session. We’ll dig into the root challenges of stress and overwhelm and build a plan for you to reclaim your product management career.