I am a team leader at Microsoft and have been there for almost 10 years. My job is that of a Principal Product Planner Lead. I lead a team of eight incredibly talented and ridiculously bright Product Planners that work on the future of our Windows Live products. This includes , Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mesh and many other services that make up Windows Live. As part of this role, I work super closely with the Windows and Internet Explorer teams as well (we are all in the same division). My job is all about making sure that we have a compelling vision for our next “wave” of services and software, and that we are able to build and deliver on a plan to achieve that vision.
In a day-to-day capacity, my team seeks to understand customer needs, what the competition is up to, and then works with engineering teams to figure out the right end-to-end scenarios to invest in. It’s a super-fun job, and something I’ve been doing for most of my nearly 10 year career at Microsoft so far after a few years doing business planning and strategy in the finance team (I joined straight out of college).
- 6:45 am is when I wake up on most days, and after using the rest room, sit down to meditate. I do this every day no matter what. Right now, I just sit for 10 minutes, setting the timer on my phone to beep when the time has elapsed. I get up and then return to the bathroom to get ready.
- 7:15 am I’m in my kitchen (I live in a small but nice 1 BR apartment) making a vegan power smoothie. Usually it has a bunch of bananas (anywhere from 2-4) and frozen blueberries or whatever other fruit I have around. Sometimes I throw in some kale for good measure. Occasionally I add in some vegan protein (I make custom blend of hemp, brown rice and pea proteins). I eat a crap load of fruit. Sometimes 10 or more bananas a day, a bunch of apples and other fruits.
- 7:30 am I am in my car and drive 20 minutes to work at the Redmond, WA Microsoft Campus. It’s a great place to work.
- 8:00 am I am in my office sorting out my schedule for the day, checking in on technology news (I like Techmeme). Lately I’ve also been drinking some coffee in the morning while I do this. I also figure out one big thing I need to get done during the day. I’ll write this down on a slip of paper or Post-It and stick it in my pocket and look at it a few times during the day.
- 8:30am I start working on whatever the most important thing is to get done during the day.
- 9:00am – Noon Let the games begin! If I am lucky I will have just 1-2 meetings before lunch. Often, I’ll have back-back-back meetings straight from 9am to lunch. This will include 1:1 meetings with folks on my team, meetings with other Planning Leads and meetings to review progress on projects to meet with folks on other teams regarding some sort issues that arise. It can actually be an endurance event to make it through!
- Noon-1 pm I will walk to our cafeteria (5 minutes away) and get something for lunch. I’ll bring it back and eat at my desk while I either read e-mail or browse the web aimlessly 🙂 (MSN’s Wonderwall is a brilliant way to totally kill time!)
- 1-5 pm Usually 1-2 more meetings happen. In general, I have around 20 meetings a week, usually half of them are 60 minutes long and the rest are 30 minutes or so. A few might be longer. Every now and then we’ll have all-day checkpoints to projects that spans a lot of teams. Given my role as a team lead – a big part of my job is collaborating with other teams and helping to coordinate projects. Before I was a manager, I had half as many meetings.
- 5-6 pm With no meetings after 5pm (usually not at least!) I will get work done in peace until 6pm or so, and then head out for the day. Sometimes I’ll leave work at 5pm (usually to catch a yoga class), but that is rare right now. Monday’s I leave work at 4:30 pm since I teach 3 hours of yoga in the evenings on Monday.
- 6-6:30 pm Drive home
- 6:30-7 pm Putz around at home! Prepare for whatever workout I’ll be doing and generally procrastinate. Running is what I’m into now. I also practice a ton of yoga (and also teach).
- 7-9 pm Workout of some sort, and then come home and clean up and get ready for dinner. Sometimes I’ll workout in the morning instead, which shifts my whole schedule a bit, but 80% of the time I train in the evening.
- 9-10 pm Prepare and eat dinner
- 10-Midnight at the latest I don’t own a TV (sold it years ago) so I will browse the web, blog, read books and get work done until midnight or so. I’ll often respond to e-mail I didn’t get during the day in the evening, or finish reading messages and prepare for meetings the next day. While working I’ll usually have some kind of music playing, or an audio book. If I am wiped out from my workout, I will just go to sleep at 10pm, but that usually only happens a few times a week.
My weekends are focused around an adventure of some sort. Since I am starting to get into ultra-marathons now, I try to get in an epic long run on either Saturday or Sunday (2-4 hours long). I’ll also get in 1-2 yoga classed and I teach yoga on Sunday mornings (and Monday nights).
I’ll wake up at the latest by 9 or 9:30am at the latest. I don’t set an alarm on the weekends, this is just when I end up waking up. After my training, I’ll usually eat some nice vegan food somewhere and then find a coffee shop where I can read for a few hours (I try to power through one book a week).
I’ll head home in the afternoon and then write a blog post and read other blogs. During the winter I’ll deviate from this schedule and go snowboarding on Saturdays.
In the late afternoon I’ll see what my friends are up to, and usually have kind of social thing going on in the evenings. A music concert, movie, dinner, or something. Last night I went to a Warren Miller ski movie with a friend. A few weekends ago I went to the Ballet (they performed “Dracula” believe it or not!). There is always something interesting happening around Seattle.
On weekends I’ll usually go to bed a little later, often after Midnight (again, unless training kicked my butt!). I sleep when tired and don’t worry about forcing myself into some kind of routine on the weekends.
On Sunday nights I’ll work for 4-5 hours. If a big project is looming, I’ll work 5-10 hours spread across Saturday and Sunday. This will basically replace my reading time for entertainment and some of my training time.
Over the course of the week I spend around 55 hours a week working, with some weeks bursting to 80 hours (when I travel for work, or when a big project is looming near). I spend about 10-12 hours a week training (mostly running and yoga right now) and the rest just hanging around doing whatever I want to do.
So that’s it, my weekly routine! If you want to know more about anything in my routine, drop a note in the comments and I’ll get to it in a future post. Thanks!