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Don't Confuse Having a Busy Calendar with Making Progress

Toby Rogers
Toby Rogers
Hello fellow punks! 
Welcome to the 29 of you who have signed up for this since the last issue. It’s great to have you on board. Hopefully you’ll stick with me while I figure out what this newsletter is all about.
Here’s this week’s issue ⬇️

Just mulling over business problems, examining opportunities...
In the modern workplace, busyness has often been regarded as a symbol of status. But just because your calendar looks like Tetris, it doesn’t mean you’re more important than anyone else. 
A schedule full of back-to-back meetings and overlapping status updates doesn’t signify anything other than an inability to prioritise.  
Many do, though, because they’re so overwhelmed with meetings that it’s the only way they’re able to fit everything in.
To be successful as a PM, you’ve got to have time to think. And you can’t do that in 10 minute gaps between Zoom calls. 
Product management requires a mix of what Paul Graham calls maker and manager time
To be strategic about your product, you need time in your schedule for deep, focused work. If you get sucked into operational admin, you’ll lose sight of how to move forwards. 
Amir Salihefendic, The CEO of Doist (the company behind productivity app Todoist) runs his business from an almost empty calendar. Most of us don’t have that luxury, but we can get better at gaining control of our schedules. 
If your organisation has a meeting culture, it can be difficult to change. But not impossible.
One of the biggest workplace productivity killers is pointless meetings. If you want to avoid them, follow this advice from Nir Eyal:
Nir Eyal
One way to counter a workplace culture where people call too many meetings: Make them harder to call!

Try this: Before a meeting can be called, the organizer must circulate an agenda and briefing document.
And take a lead from Spock and Captain Kirk with the Star Trek approach to meetings:
What 'Star Trek' Can Teach You About Meetings (No, Really) | Inc.com
Meetings are an inevitable and integral part of our working lives. 
But not all are created equal. 
Take control of your calendar and make sure the meetings you do have are those that move you closer to your goals, not those that steal time from the work that matters.
What I've been reading 📚
As your product team grows, you’ve got to work hard to ensure it’s set up for high performance. But if you’ve got a clear picture of what good looks like, it’s easier to keep everyone on the right track.
This article from ProductPlan outlines a dozen traits of high-performing product teams to help you level-up 🕹
12 Traits of High-Performing Product Teams
When it launched a decade ago, Medium set out to transform the world of online writing, making it easier for writers to create and distribute their content.
Ten years later, CEO Ev Williams has stepped down leaving the company stuck in between newsletter startups like Substack and traditional media outlets.
But did Medium succeed or fail?
This excellent post from Nathan Baschez digs deep into the Medium narrative to examine whether it won or lost ✍️
Did Medium Succeed? - Divinations - Every
As a product leader, one of your most important relationships is with your CEO. But if you never disagree, one of you might as well be sitting on the beach drinking margaritas.
This post from product management legend Ken Norton examines how to make sure you’re both on the same page and use healthy conflict to drive your product and your organisation forwards 🚀
What I've been writing ✍️
The Internet is like a free university for product managers. And one of the best ways to learn is through the myriad of product-related podcasts.
This thread curates ten of my favourites 🎧
Toby Rogers 🚀🤘
10 podcasts that will teach you more than any product management certification:
As a product manager, you need to build a toolbox of mental models to help you make decisions.
This thread highlights those that I’ve found the most useful 🧰
Toby Rogers 🚀🤘
20 mental models every product manager needs in their toolbelt:
That’s it! 
See you next week (probably). 
Toby 
The Punk PM 
P.S. Feel free to share this with anyone else you think would find it interesting.
I’m still playing around with ideas for content and format for this newsletter, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Go ahead and shoot me an email with ways you think I can make it better.
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Toby Rogers
Toby Rogers @tobiasrogers

Product management musings from your favourite Punk PM

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