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The minimalism approach

Back in May, nearly four months ago now, I decided to apply the principle of minimalism to the things I spend time and effort on and began de-cluttering my schedule to only focus on things that I really believed would add value to my life.

As a consequence, I dropped a few things, and changed my approached to some others. The principle itself has been extremely useful to determine what I sign up for and what I don't.

At times, this has been a daunting principle to follow.

I'm an active person by nature and don't like it when I have a lot of free time on my calendar. It makes me feel uncomfortable looking at empty slots in my week where I have nothing productive planned.

And when I began to be very selective about what I said yes to, such slots began to crop up in my schedule, which was time being freed up from the things I was previously doing but didn't feel very strongly will add much value to me in the long run.

However, rather than revert back to piling on things to keep myself busy and moving, I decided to use this as a forcing function to identify new areas that I could invest my efforts on, or to go deeper and get even better at the things I was already focusing on.

This approach has been immediately transferrable to my work as a product manager.

As a product manager, it is very easy to come up with hundreds of ideas to work on and to get busy actually building and shipping them. However, when we add a forcing function to only work on ideas that have big potential to solve problems or unlock new opportunities for our users, this brings focus and screens out several ideas from the backlog, leaving room for deeper exploration and understanding of user needs that can be addressed.

The minimalism approach to product management will ensure we work on the most essential of problems and discard (or de-prioritize) ideas that don't impact that problem. Which will result in quicker progress to solving it by taking out distractions. 

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