Sometimes a packed schedule is unavoidable. So how can you stay grounded when you’re always rushing from one meeting to the next?
I sat down with Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design at Facebook, to talk about how she stays calm amidst a daily schedule that demands constant context switching.
We get into how she visualizes her day, avoids energy-draining tasks, and carves out time for reflection and writing. Plus, details on what her (maniacal) schedule looked like during the early startup days at Facebook.
Key takeaways from our conversation:
- How to align your daily schedule with your priorities
- The benefits of visualizing your day and how you want to feel in the conversations and meetings ahead
- How to think about what gives you energy (or takes it away) — e.g. travel, conference calls, meetings, etc.
- The importance of preserving unstructured “thinking time” in your schedule
- Why you should always connect feedback to outcomes
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“I just try and visualize how I want to feel in the meeting and how I want to come across — if there’s anything that I really care about. Like: What do I want to have me stand up for in that meeting? That allows me to go into each meeting with a little bit more intentionality.”
“When I started working at Facebook, a common schedule for us would be: Get into work between noon and 2 or 3 pm. Then work until basically 4 or 5 am the next morning. It was very common for us to walk home when the sun was just coming out for the next day. Crush, sleep, and then repeat again. That was basically the schedule.”
“When I give feedback, I always frame it in terms of what outcome I’m hoping for. I think about: What would it look like? What’s the outcome of that feedback? What should happen as a result?”
A shortlist of ways to dig deeper into the topics we discuss:
- Julie’s essay collection on Medium
- The Sanctity of Your Calendar essay, which I quote during our interview
- More pro tips on scheduling: Saying No with Grace and Why You Need White Space in Your Daily Schedule
- Follow Julie: Medium | Twitter | Newsletter | Instagram
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