How to coast as a PM while you job search for something else?

How do I do the bare minimum or coast as a PM? I’ve yet met a PM with hardly anything on their calendars. I work at a startup and it’s driving me crazy! I would love to hear about you seasoned PM that has a great WLB schedule.


Block off time on your calendar to study/take interviews, use lunch breaks, use PTO to do this as well. They’ll likely figure it out in 6 months though so YMMV


This is the way. Also be willing to take calls earlier / later than you might otherwise, and be upfront with recruiters that you’d prefer to split longer back-to-back interview blocks in two if possible. Most have been more than willing to accommodate. Good luck!


This is great. Also you could find an overworked or burned out engineer say you want to block off some weekly cadence call and done ever have it.

Also make up some process “review” times to review some common task you do. I also block off all my Friday’s after 2pm with “catching up on work from the week” - although 90% of the time I am truly catching up but no one cares otherwise in my experience.


All of this, and I suggest getting into the habit of doing this well before you’re at the point where you’re looking for something else.

Make it a habit of prioritizing your mental health through these methods and nobody will notice if you start suddenly interviewing during your normally blocked off times or if you continue to take PTO fairly regularly.


PMs who have fewer meetings on their calendar do a lot of writing and async communication. Perhaps favoring async communication (email, teams, slack) would work for you?


I’ve read about this. Honestly, my company just doesn’t seem to handle async communication so well. At first I thought it was my company but I think it’s a mix of both my company and the PM role altogether that doesn’t fit me.


Here’s a suggestion - pick up some project that would benefit the team but would require “focus time blocks”. Then schedule those blocks in. And then only do work during 1/3 of that time. It’s important that you do enough so people don’t notice.


The team culture definitely needs to accommodate async work. It’s possible as a PM for sure, although I think some meeting are inevitable :man_shrugging:


In my experience it’s somewhat impossible. Depends on your personality and how much distaste you have for the company/people you’re currently working for.

Also what is your definition of coasting? No stress? Strict 9-5 hours? Good luck finding a stress-free PM job, but you can certainly find PM roles that are 9-5, fairly easy breezy, minimal stress. Go work for any F500, and don’t work for startups.

What you need is a company with highly diffuse responsibility, so you can putter around in a corner doing the bare minimum. That would be my definition of coasting.

What do you really desire from your career? Coasting? If so, (and this will be downvoted), maybe look for a more individual contributor role like Business Analyst, Scrum Master, etc. rather than PM roles. PM is known for being one of the most highly general (many hats) and highly visible roles. You may be better off totally owning your little patch of grass instead of trying to care for the whole yard of everyone else’s patches, if that makes sense. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with playing your career to your preferences and/or strengths.

1 Like

Having a great WLB schedule comes down to:

  1. Having a strong team - my devs can unblock themselves; I only get involved if the blocker is around product functions
  2. Empower those around you - I don’t do anything close to technical design and I don’t do wireframes. I will create a user journey, hand it off to Devs/UX. They’ll take it from there.
  3. Always have a meeting agenda - keep meetings on task, don’t be afraid to table off-topic conversations. Always start meetings by stating the goal, always finish with clear action items
  4. Delegate to product owners - Building on #1 and #2, when you get direct reports, have them do anything they are interested in.
  5. Limit the hours you work - if you timebox activities, you’ll get them done faster.