A day in my life as an engineering leader may look the same from the outside over a few months, but I can assure you that when you dig deep, each day could be completely different.
For example, on day one, we might be discussing a new market we are going to go after in a few months but on day 15, we might be discussing an updated organization structure to support career growth for people.
Then another day, it's all about thinking strategically, in particular, technology, and engineering strategy. Understanding the current landscape, envisioning the future, and all the opportunities (as well as challenges) that the company has.
Then, on day 30, we might be discussing performance reviews that we will be having in a few weeks and how to keep the process fair and consistent across the organization.
My days, weeks, and months vary and they are often not predictable. I have to say there is never a dull day as an engineering leader.
Unpredictable as it may be, and sometimes it feels like you’re not contributing anything worth mentioning because the feedback loop is so slow....
I know from experience that the job of an engineering manager can be truly impactful through processes, products, and most importantly, people.
Here are some productivity habits that I swear by to make sure I am spending my time effectively an engineering leader:
- Start your day early. If you have an early morning appointment, get up at least an hour before that.
- Bias towards action. When you’re stuck, when you’re given a new piece of information, or when you’re feeling dissatisfied being in your comfort zone, take an action, however small that action may be.
- Practice critical thinking. Don’t just take things on the surface value.
- Spend at least 15 mins reading about something that is related to your industry; a blog post, a few chapters of a book, an advertisement, whatever it is.
- Set at least three micro goals a day and smash them. Examples of micro-goals are sending an email, taking notes, or paying a bill.
- Review your schedule for the next two days.
- At the end of the day, before you clock off, make a mental note of at least one thing that you accomplished that day.
- Visualise your medium-term (3–5 years) goals.
- When making a decision, ask yourself if you will make the same decision in six months, a year and two years time. Then ask why or why not.
- Don’t be afraid to say no.
Check out my Productivity System for Thought Leaders to help you move forward in the right direction and achieve your goals.