"Bosky, you need to rest or else you may not live for your son's birthday in 3 months".
I just wanted to share this deeply personal story with anyone in product role or tech in general.
In 2016, I was burnt out, with severe anxiety and PTSD. I couldn't take a day off without overthinking.
When my BP shot up to 145/95, and my son asked me: "Mom, why did you stop loving me?" 💔This was my wake-up call. I was losing myself & my life to burnout.
After talking with more than 500 PMs, I realized I wasn't the only one.Every product manager shares the struggle of maintaining good mental health.Is “burnout” the price we’re paying to have a career in Product Management?Product management IS an extreme job — with its intense workload and routine high-stakes decision-making.If you resonate with my story, I urge you to reflect and take control. Here are 5 ways I have found to be helpful:
1. When a problem emerges, you can reduce stress by reframing it as a chance for you to develop a new skill.
Since most of product management is responding to external problems, taking them as challenges gamifies the process — instead of stressing you out.
2. You are not just your work. Leave your "work" identity at work and disconnect from it at a set time every day. Setting this strong boundary with yourself keeps burnout at bay.
3. Celebrate small wins. Every workout, every page of a book read, or every fun puzzle solved counts!
Find ways to pat yourself on the back outside of work, so you don't attach your value to work.
4. Schedule "Thinking Time" so you're not doing it 24/7.
Giving it a space in your calendar — just as you do for meetings, tasks & urgent requests — frees mental space up.
Bonus: Eat the frog! Start your day by doing the most challenging task. You will feel good knowing it’s done and avoid carrying the stress throughout the day.
Part of me wishes somebody had given me these tips 5 years back, so I'd have prevented burnout. But you learn as you go (and grow) through it! I’m writing this post now because it’s crucial to start the new year on the right foot. While this is a time for being ambitious, let’s ensure we are not compromising ourselves in the process.
Remember: Product is an intense field, but taking charge of your life and setting boundaries isn't totally out of your control.Burnout shouldn't be the price you pay to be a product manager.