Tools and Getting Things Done

Jun 27, 2021

Ever since I began my career in product management, the complexities of my role have evolved with time —

Leading a single project --> managing multiple projects

Working with a single team --> multiple teams of stakeholders

Individual contributor --> team manager

To keep up, the way I manage work has also evolved.

The evolution of my getting-things-done methodology:

1. Email/Slack ✉️

Workday largely dictated by emails and messages

Features

  • Fosters the culture of collaboration
  • Build social capital and trust with team

Problems

  • Not all emails/messages require immediate attention
  • Massive source of distraction
This had started with the objective of projecting myself as the “always available” guy. I was busy, but not outcome driven.

Realization

This is what everyone wants me to work on

2. To Do List 📝

Workday largely dictated by things I feel are important

Features

  • Curated list of tasks from email, messages, etc.
  • Easy to add and maintain

Problems

  • List is ever growing
  • No visibility on completion date
At one point, I was clocking 60-80 hour workweek for several weeks. This wasn’t sustainable. When I looked back, I hadn’t accomplished enough despite having spent too much time working.

Realization

  • Unable to quantify time spent on tasks
  • Spending more than expected time on few tasks was putting me behind on others

3. Calendar 🗓️

Workday largely dictated by, well… the time I spend at work

Features

  • Forces prioritization of tasks depending on importance and bandwidth
  • A ledger of time spent

Problems

  • Under-estimating time for a task
  • Sticking to planned schedule

Solution

  • Learn and optimize for future
  • Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough

I haven’t encountered too many issues with this system just yet. Is there room to get better? I’m sure!

Will this work well for you? Productivity is highly personal, so maybe or maybe not!