What does the day of a product manager look like?

The role of a product director can vary wildly from company to company. Some product managers live very apart from the day-to-day, while others are completely immersed in both the future and the present.

For myself, I tend to wear many hats. Product manager, product owner, analyst, and facilitator are just a few.

6:30

Fully awake and ready for the day, I do a quick review of the tasks I have tracked in Todoist. I merge both work and home tasks together so that I have a single view into the expectations of today. A quick glance at emails will let me know if any priorities have changed. After about 10 minutes of this, I close my laptop to begin getting the kids awake. I have worked on the skill of compartmentalizing my focus; the moment that laptop closes, my focus is back on the task at hand. After I put the young ones on the bus, it is time to head into the office.

8:00

Having just pulled into the office, I quickly scan multiple RSS feeds of different industry news, answer any quick emails, and do my “frog” task. This task is a work task that I need to perform, but would have otherwise happily delayed. The name stems from the quote: “Eat a frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you that day.” Often this time is dedicated to requirements and documentation. Some background music, combined with the freshness of a new day, bring strong productivity.

9:00

Meetings are about to start in the day. Between 9:00 and 4:00, I focus on removing any meetings, questions, or decisions off the docket. Generally 5 of those 7 hours will be meetings (either ad-hoc or scheduled). One hour each day is blocked off to catch-up from the different conversations that would have occurred this day.

These meetings may range from: reviewing different solutions presented by the engineering or design teams, operational meetings, product strategy sessions, scrum ceremonies, or partner chats. Notes are tracked in my Google Keep account or notebook, ready for later breakdown into tasks.

4:30

At this time I leave the office. The commute home is much like my commute in the morning, with audiobooks or podcasts continuing the learning. Once I get home, though, it is family time till all the kids are in bed.

9:00

Each evening I spend about an hour, attempting to clear any emails or tasks off my plate. Energy is low, so I focus on tasks that require little focus. I save the deep focus for the early morning. In Todoist I also track items that are relying on other people, and this is the perfect time to send some follow up emails.

This “day in the life” may seem busy to some, or easy to others. I hope that for those interested in product management, it may shed some light on what you can expect.

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