Signs that you are overloaded
- You are double booked or miss meetings
- You are torn between your home and work life
- You don’t take vacations – ever
- You never have enough time to finish your own work
- Activities like eating are always done while working
- You are starting to feel burned out
Many Product Owners take on much more work than their schedule can handle. This leads to stress. Stress from impossible deadlines, stress from pressure to get it all done, and stress from late or missed deadlines. It is a natural inclination for most people in technology and development to take on too much.
There have been many studies by many experts and they all say the same thing. Whatever the reason, it has been proven that the more we stress and the more we add to our workloads, the less productive we get. Not to mention that it negatively affects our home life and our over all health. Why are we okay with being over worked and over stressed? Why are you okay sacrificing your happiness at home. Why are you willing to sacrifice your future health for your immediate job?
Whatever your reason, whether it is concerns around job security, because you hate to say no, or because you think it is what is expected of you, just stop!
Stop taking on more work than you can handle.
Not Enough Time! Conflicting Priorities
So you recognize that you are overloaded, but what can you do about it? There are things you can do to balance your available time and the work you are expected to do. There are some key words in that last sentence. Your AVAILABLE time and your EXPECTED workload. Many Product Owners think they have 40 hours in a week, but once you remove time for your regular meetings, what time do you really have available? You probably also pick up the slack from others. You spend your time following up when others should have just done their job and you step in to get things done when someone else drops the ball. Sound familiar?
Here are a few suggestions by the experts to balance your time and workload.
Reduce your demands
Identify the things you do that should be done by others.
- What are you doing that others should do?
- What are you doing that someone else could do?
- What are you doing that is redundant or not needed?
Increase your resources
Tools can and should make your life easier. If there is an application or product that can make you more efficient, then it is worth the investment.
Organize Your Schedule
Schedule time to prep before big meetings. Add in buffers so you are not booked all hours of the day especially at the start and end.
We have an inclination to avoid things are painful or difficult. Unfortunately they get worse with time. Tackle the hard stuff head on!