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How to Avoid Burnout: 5 Tips for Product Managers

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. So when the pandemic hit last year, my day-to-day schedule didn’t really change. 

I am really fortunate for that. So is he! Every day is “take your dog to work day” at my house! 

But there are times when I really need to focus on my work and he just won’t leave me alone. Don’t let this sleeping angel fool you. Remember Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh”? That’s the kind of energy this guy has. He sleeps hard, plays harder. 

What about you? Do you find it challenging to work from home? 

If so, here are some tips I have found to be helpful when you need to do a reset.

Tip 1: Take 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, however, 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 are all healthy breaks that 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 21 books this year (in general, not just about product management) and I’m on track to surpass that this year.

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. Comment on a few posts to spread some joy and reconnect. 

Click here for my handy LinkedIn Profile Checklist and give your profile a make-over. 

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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