No matter how fulfilling you find your job, few among us want to feel like our Monday through Friday consists of work and little else. But between the hours spent at and commuting to the office, how can we ensure we’re making time for a well-rounded version of our lives on any given week day, especially in an increasingly online culture?
Working for a company that recognizes its talent as deserving of autonomy and flexibility is an ideal place to start. Noopur Pandey, a product manager for Boston Scientific’s Digital Ventures team in San Jose, California, has certainly seen this to be true of her own experience. Although she may work in a tech-driven culture, Pandey says this doesn’t come at the expense of her personal life or outside interests. Instead, she’s encouraged to look at her time in a holistic way.
Recently, she gave Fairygodboss a glimpse into what integrating her love for her job, CrossFit, friends and family looks like on a typical week day.
I quietly get out of bed and go to the living room where Scout, our 3-year-old incredibly cute yellow lab, is yawning in her crate. I let her out, feed her, and put the tea kettle on. My daily routine is to start my day with a cup of tea while snuggling and playing with Scout.
Then, I head to my laptop to check for emails and Slack messages that need to be answered. Today, our QA team in Ukraine has posted a few questions about the current sprint for one of my products, PainScale, so I quickly respond.
I always put my gym clothes and shoes out the night before so I don’t wake anyone. After changing, I’m out the door.
I head to my CrossFit gym for a 5 a.m. class. I try to go to class every single day during the week!
For the next hour, I’m in my CrossFit class with the other dedicated 5 a.m. folks. I love this community where we push and motivate each other at this crazy hour.
I’m back home! I quickly shower and make breakfast, which is my usual: two fried eggs and a bowl of oatmeal.
I leave the house and head to work. I’m a product manager for Boston Scientific’s Digital Ventures team in San Jose. We build digital products for patients and physicians.
I’m currently responsible for three products in the portfolio: PainScale, which is a pain-tracking app for patients; Cup Cake, which is a product for our physicians; and Guru, which is an internal app for our sales team
I’m now at work and invariably don’t go to my desk right away. Instead, I sit in a conference room and crank through emails and put my thinking cap on before everyone else gets in.
The first thing I do is to look at the PainScale channel on Slack for user feedback on the current version of the product, as well as check for bugs and feature requests . We use Jira to plan out our product development, so next I look at the state of the current sprint, field requests to engineers, and check our status of progress. I also review the future roadmap to see if we should change any features based on current user feedback.
I head to my desk area and catch up with the engineering team to resolve any issues that I may have seen, as well as brainstorm ideas for PainScale. Then, I visit the Guru engineering team and do a quick check-in on the product status. We’re currently working on a feature that lets you rate the effectiveness of an answer that was given to you by an expert.
We have a daily standup for PainScale where we go around the room and talk about what we are working on that day.
We just finished a sprint and launched some new features for PainScale so I’m headed to a retrospect/post-mortem meeting. I head to the whiteboard in the room and write three columns: “what worked,” “what could be improved” and “our takeaways for the next sprint.” The attendees use post-it notes to jot down their answers for each and, after adding them to the columns, we look for patterns and summarize. I’m happy, as the list of takeaways is shorter this time compared to the last meeting. We’re making progress!
It’s time for a Cup Cake meeting. Some of the attendees are there in the room and some, like our designer, are attending remotely via teleconference. We’re reviewing feedback from one of the physicians on a proof of concept that we presented for this product. The designer is walking us through the existing design. I summarize the feedback we’ve received, and we discuss steps for the next version of the designs.
I walk with the team to our cafeteria, catch up with everyone and have a quick lunch. For me, lunch is usually a small salad filled with tofu, eggs and vegetables.
I’m back at my desk upstairs to start looking at emails but notice a flurry of activity from a women-in-tech group on WhatsApp that I belong to; some of us who worked together in the past invited other friends to join the group, which is now at about eight of us “tech moms.” One of the members wants to ask her boss for a promotion, and everyone is advising her on how to do this. I empathize, as I know this is something that has never been easy for me, personally!
Now it’s time for a PainScale analysis meeting, where we review our metrics and key performance indicators from the past week. We want to be mindful of how we make product decisions. Ideally, they should translate to positive KPIs and an improved experience for our app users.
I have blocked time on my calendar to work and follow-up on meetings and action items from this morning.
We have a weekly meeting with the Guru team to discuss how to implement the ratings feature on the app. We also have some sales reps on the call who provide feedback on the current usage of the app.
I head out of the office to go home!
I take a walk to downtown Palo Alto with my husband and Scout; we head to Whole Foods to buy ingredients for dinner. My husband is an excellent cook, and tonight he is grilling lamb chops.
We’re back home from the walk and it’s time for some house management; we clean up the kitchen and fold and put clothes away.
It’s time for the most important activity of the day: Catching up on fashion! My best friend, Irene, who I text with every single day, messaged me this morning about some boots she saw and wants my feedback on. I look at the links, find some similar shoes, and text her back. I used to take classes in Fashion Illustration and find it incredibly relaxing to talk about clothes and shoes. Of course, we also talk about our kids and how we’re doing as women in tech!
I am on the library commission for the City of Menlo Park and we have a meeting tomorrow. Time to read up on agenda items.
Dinner is ready, and we always try to eat together as a family. We talk about our days and plans/schedules for tomorrow. Sometimes we watch Netflix shows together; currently, we’re watching a political series, Madam Secretary.
I hop back online to review and send out some emails, as well as quickly organize meetings for the next day and/or the rest of the week. This isn’t something I have to do, but taking a quiet moment to look ahead at what’s next on my plate gives me peace of mind and helps me feel more prepared for efficient work days.
It’s time for bed — otherwise I won’t wake up in time for my morning class!
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