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You Don't Have to Work 60 Hours a Week to be a Successful PM

Toby Rogers
Toby Rogers
Hello fellow punks! 
Welcome to the 61 of you who’ve signed up for this since the last issue I published. 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 ⬇️

Are you booking that meeting over my personal time?
It’s been a couple of weeks since I published my last newsletter.
It was the Easter holidays and I had some time off to chill out with my wife and kids.
And that got me thinking about how much time and energy we spend working.
In his seminal book, Inspired, Marty Cagan suggested that product managers need to work 60 hours a week just to get everything done.
I’ve long said that to get the critically important work of a product manager done, you need on the order of four solid hours a day.
To be clear, I’m not talking about e-mail or slack or meetings. I mean quality time working on coming up with solutions to the difficult problems we’re trying to solve – otherwise known as product discovery.
Still, that doesn’t sound too bad, until you look at your calendar and realize that your only chance for those four hours is from 6 pm until 10 pm at night (and hence the infamous 60-hour work week of so many product managers).
As a product manager in his early 40s with two small children, I’ve learned this sort of regime just isn’t sustainable (or even healthy).
It’s okay (and sometimes necessary) to work long and hard, but you’ve got to make room to recharge.
Product management is a difficult job that requires deep, focused thinking about complicated business and customer problems. You can’t do that if you’re spending 10 hours a day in Zoom calls.
Toby Rogers 🚀🤘
Product management is not attending 50 hours of Zoom calls every week.
Trying to stave off burnout with some sort of tech hipster wellness regime like Jack Dorsey’s will only take you so far. Meditating and micro-dosing LSD are no substitutes for time spent doing nothing.
To be truly effective as a product manager, you need to disconnect from work. That means logging off at the end of the day to relax and enjoy your life.
Product management isn’t everything (although it can feel like it).
Stephanie Leue
Sometimes I think we're all taking product management far too seriously.
What I've been reading 📚
I’ve been in my new role for a little over a month now and I’m starting to think about my product vision and strategy. This exercise from John Cutler has been really helpful in framing what I need to be focusing on 🧐
TBM 39/52: Monthly Strategy Prompt Exercise
Alongside strategy, another thing I’m thinking a lot about at the moment is how to create a culture of experimentation. This interview with Kevin Chen is really insightful in how to integrate experimentation and strategy 🧪
Ask an Experimenter: Kevin Chen, Growth PM at Reddit - Optimizely
Unsurprisingly, I’m still reading a lot of Deb Liu’s articles on strategy and execution. This post on the small things that slow down the big things is well worth reading 🚀
Ten Things Getting in the Way of Your Execution
What I've been writing ✍️
A lot of product management is actually people management.
I put together this thread of some of my favourite resources to help product managers get better at working with engineers, designers, or anyone else👇
Toby Rogers 🚀🤘
Product management is really people management.

Here are 10 resources guaranteed to help every product manager forge stronger relationships with their team 🧵 ⬇️
A lot of people get hung up on how technical you need to be as a product manager. Really, though, it’s a role where soft skills are much more important than whether you can code or not 👇
Toby Rogers 🚀🤘
As a product manager, it's the soft skills that really matter.

Here are 9 skills that are more valuable in product management than anything you'll learn on a CS degree 🧵 ⬇️
That’s it! 
See you next week (probably).  
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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