Sometimes we get involved and anxious over things that seem urgent but weren’t all that important in retrospect. A technique I use is to ask myself “will this still be important in two weeks?”

It’s obviously great for reading the news. If you don’t want to waste your time, ask yourself, for each article, “will this still be interesting to me in two weeks? Is this news that will make a difference past today?” Most of it will simply be forgotten tomorrow, much less in two weeks. And if it’s still around in two weeks, you’ll be able to get the whole story at once – which also saves waste.

Will this still be important in two weeks?

Does this work for product management as well? Of course! Flavor-of-the-week management fad? Exciting new Javascript framework? A new innovation technique that the CEO wants to try? Ask yourself if it will be forgotten in two weeks, or if you should invest your attention immediately – your attention that’s already got more work than it can do.

Often the best approach is to play along, but not get invested for two weeks. Continue to focus on the important actions you already had planned. If the new shiny thing is really important, in two weeks it will still be there, and there will be a lot more information available to take action against.

About the author

Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

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