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How to Avoid Burnout: 5 Tips for Product Managers

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I love my dog. He’s a Vizsla, and they’re known as Velcro dogs because they like to stick to their humans. Lucky for him, I work from home all the time.

Having him around usually helps me stay energized and productive.

But there are times when I feel overwhelmed and drained, and I struggle to focus on my work. During times like this, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with my dog.

Are you feeling overwhelmed and drained? Do you feel like you can’t keep up with the demands of your job?

If so, you may be at risk for burnout. Burnout is a condition that can result from prolonged stress and pressure. Left untreated can lead to health problems, decreased productivity, and even resignation.

I suspect we product managers may struggle with burnout quite a bit because of the pressure we’re on to deliver continuously and perform at our best.

So, how can you avoid burnout and maintain your well-being?

Here are five tips I have found to be helpful when you need to do a reset.

Tip 1: Take mini breaks throughout the day

One of the many benefits of working from home is that you have more flexibility and hopefully more time to do things like take a walk and eat lunch. Because working from home blurs the lines between work and home, many of us aren’t always good about the work/life separation. 

It’s healthy to step away from your laptop every couple of hours. Walk your dog, do 10 minutes of yoga, make yourself a healthy lunch, and eat it without looking at a screen. These healthy breaks will provide you with better energy and focus throughout your day. 

If you find it hard to remember to step away from your computer, set an alarm that goes off every hour to remind you to stand up and get moving.

Tip 2: Read a book or listen to a podcast about product management

One of my favorite daytime breaks is to read. I’ll set a 10-15 minute timer for myself on Alexa, put my feet up, and do some reading. My goal is to read 22 books this year (in general, not just about product management), and I’ve already surpassed that.

Click here to view the Product Management books I recommend.

I love listening to podcasts when I walk my dog. Doubling up on something that brings me joy always makes me feel energized and more productive when I sit down to work afterward.

Click here to see my favorite podcasts.

Tip 3: Do virtual coffee chats and happy hours with your coworkers

Working from home instead of at an office eliminates one of the best aspects of working in an office: bonding with your coworkers. As product managers, developing bonds is critical to performing well and developing our careers. Just because everyone is stuck at home doesn’t mean we have to limit our interactions over Zoom meetings and Slack conversations. Take the initiative to organize a group coffee chat or happy hour and see what everyone is up to.

Tip 4: Get physical

I have an exercise bike in the same room as my workstation. I try to hop on and ride at least 3 times a week and have found that doing it during the day gets my blood flowing and helps me refocus when I sit back down at my computer.

Another helpful activity is to do some stretching exercises to combat all those hours of hunching over your keyboard.  

Tip 5: Build your network

Instead of scrolling mindlessly through Facebook or TikTok, head over to LinkedIn and see what your connections have been up to. While you’re there, be sure to connect with me!

Another way to build your network is to be active on LinkedIn. Comment on a few posts to spread some joy and reconnect. 

Bonus Tip: Work with a coach

One surefire way to manage feelings of burnout is to work with a coach like me. If you’re interested in working with me, click here to chat with me on a complimentary consultation call to see if we’re a good fit for each other. 

I hope you found these tips helpful. Have any tips or books you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear them. Drop them in the comments below. 

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