I never understood why Garfield hates Mondays. He is a cat after all — why does he care what day it is? Personally, I have always looked forward to the start of a new week. I have a strategy that gets me into a productive mode fast. (And it does not involve lasagna.)
Product managers are planners by nature and by job function. But the demands on your time can quickly turn the week into a jumbled mess that weighs you down. Maybe you have not thought about setting up a Monday morning routine of your own. But I say you should.
You want a structure that will help start your week with confidence and purpose.
This is more important and valuable for product managers than for most jobs. You sit at the intersection of many different roles and tasks in your organization. You count on a lot of people — to do their part of the work, to give you information. And a lot of people count on you.
Your list of goals and tasks will help you keep your whole team running smoothly.
This does not mean you have to plan out every minute of your Monday. Your routine does not even have to be exactly the same every week. But I do have some recommendations.
Here are eight things product managers should do every Monday morning:
Dive into your actual work by reviewing goals — your product’s and your own. This will help you prioritize and mark time for the to-dos in the upcoming week that will help you get closer to those goals.
At the start of every week, I look for what is coming up on my calendar. Pay attention to your meeting load and who is out on vacation. That way, you will not be surprised when things get messy. I actually do this on Sunday night, but Monday morning works too.
Fuel up and get going
Start the day with a good, hearty breakfast — then get going. Right away. The best way to have a productive week is to be productive from the very start. So, push distractions to the side and focus, focus, focus on the work.
Those due dates are looming — user stories to define, next quarter’s roadmap to create, a customer waiting for a response to their problem. Are you on track to meet all deadlines? Or is it time to call for some assistance? The same goes with the to-dos you have assigned to others — do not wait until it is too late to check in.
Scan for roadblocks
Your week is inevitably going to present a few obstacles to your plans. Your goal for Monday morning is not to clear it all out of the way. It is enough, for now, to identify and make note of existing and potential challenges. That way, you will not be caught off guard later.
Chat with customers
It might be impractical to talk to customers first thing Monday morning, but you can make a plan to chat with at least one during the week. This could be sitting in on a demo, hopping on a call with customer service, or talking directly over phone or video. Every customer conversation you can work into your schedule can give you a better understanding of their needs and desires.
Check in with the team
Because you are at the center of building product — your team is bigger than one. Staying close to marketing, sales, development, support, and all the other folks you depend on is key. How was their weekend? What do they have planned for the week? And how will it impact what you need to get done?
Plan to refuel
Make a plan to refuel later in the week. Maybe it is carving out time for a workout or lunch with a friend. You will need the boost. Because every product manager is busy every week and needs to take quick mental breaks to stay fresh.
You cannot plan out your whole week with any precision — but you can use Monday to set yourself up for success.
The point of this well-planned morning is to take control of that day and the days that follow. This does not mean trying to wrangle your entire wild and hectic week into complete submission.
Give yourself a logical and efficient way to deal with the dynamic — sometimes chaotic — nature of your job. Then you will have a Monday that even Garfield could love.
What is one thing product managers should do every Monday?