Managing Burnout and A Quick Update

Mental Health, Keeping the Passion, Iteration and Moving to Bi-Weekly Posts

We were on vacation last week, and watched some of the Olympics. It’s great to see a variety of sports you don’t get to see often, like gymnastics, surfing, volleyball and swimming. At least sports that I don’t watch often.

Of course one of the big headlines was Simone Biles withdrawing from competitions for mental health reasons. I’m sure we’ll learn more about this over time, and as we have better conversations about how to help people struggling with the pressure of the moment they’re in or their role. And bring mental well-being on par with physical well-being.

Naomi Osaka had a similar moment as she withdrew from the French Open a few months ago. She revealed she has anxiety speaking to the media and fights bouts of depression. Speaking to the media is part of the role, but she’d like athletes to have occasional breaks as needed, especially for their mental health. Seems eminently reasonable.

Burnout and mental health has been an ongoing topic for me I’ve written about it and we’ve done several podcasts.

Whether you’re an athlete on the world stage, a product person balancing technology, business and users, or a schoolteacher trying to keep all the plates balanced, you face some challenges with your mental health.

And that’s why understanding your own limits and stepping back before you reach them is critical. I’m glad we have athletes on the world stage taking a stand, for nothing more than helping shine a light on the problem for everyone.

So now that I’ve sufficiently buried the lede, I’m also turning the dial back on this newsletter slightly. I’ve experimented with it being weekly and biweekly. For the past 4-5 months, the free version has been weekly with 1-2 additional articles for paid subscribers each month. I’ve also been recording a podcast version of the weekly newsletter. All of which I’ve loved.

But to avoid burnout, I’m going to walk back the frequency to twice a month to ensure I can write interesting pieces and find other articles to share regularly. The writing is what I enjoy the most, so I want to make sure I keep up the posts without rushing through them or giving them enough attention. For now, I’ll keep sending out an additional 1-2 articles each month for paid subscribers, so nothing changes there.

Hopefully, you find Product Thinking insightful and helpful. I want to deliver interesting information regularly. That includes original articles based on my experience, and links to other pieces that I find useful. That’s what I’ll continue to do.

But I also want to make sure that I have enough space to write well here, record our Product by Design podcast, and explore some other writing as well (more to come soon). These are all passion projects for me, things I do almost 100% because I enjoy writing and talking and helping others in the field. So I want to ensure I keep the passion for them. Marathons, not sprints.

As always, appreciate your thoughts and feedback, and look forward to taking again soon.

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