A Facebook exec who plans every moment of her day shares the routine that helps her get it all done

Facebook Julie Zhuo Day in the LifeJulie Zhuo

• Business Insider interviewed Facebook VP of product design Julie Zhuo about how she spends her days at the tech company.

• She broke down her daily routine, from her early morning workout to spending time with her family in the evening.

• Zhuo also discussed the strategies she uses to get her work done and live a balanced life.


For Facebook VP of product design Julie Zhuo, being intentional is key.

That's reflected in her daily routine.

Zhuo has worked at Facebook for over 11 years, having joined the team back when the company only had about 100 employees. She's worked on products like Facebook's newsfeed, the like button, and user profiles. Now she oversees the design of many of Facebook's core user experiences - and a team of more than 250 employees.

"Facebook is a very mission-oriented place," she told Business Insider. "Most of the people that work here really care about building community and making tools that help bring people closer together. That's a huge part of why I've been here for so long, and I think many of the people I work with are here."

Zhuo recently chronicled her daily schedule, habits, and strategies for Business Insider. Here's what a day in the life of one Facebook exec looks like:

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Every night is different for the family. Sometimes, they'll tour Menlo Park or go out to eat, while other nights they'll stay at home and watch a show or read a story. After the kids head to bed around 8:30 p.m., Zhuo said she spends time with her husband, runs chores, reads, or catches up on work before turning in at 11 p.m. Either way, during family time, Zhuo and her husband leave their phones in another room. "We just don't check anything," Zhuo said. "That's our time to really focus on the kids and catch up on everyone's day and play with them."

Every night is different for the family. Sometimes, they'll tour Menlo Park or go out to eat, while other nights they'll stay at home and watch a show or read a story. After the kids head to bed around 8:30 p.m., Zhuo said she spends time with her husband, runs chores, reads, or catches up on work before turning in at 11 p.m. Either way, during family time, Zhuo and her husband leave their phones in another room. "We just don't check anything," Zhuo said. "That's our time to really focus on the kids and catch up on everyone's day and play with them."

Zhuo and her husband head home from work at about 6 p.m. She said the family does a lot of cooking over the weekend, and mostly eat leftovers throughout the week, supplemented with salad and food delivery. Family dinner typically starts around 6:40 p.m. Afterwards, Zhuo and her husband play with their kids.

Zhuo and her husband head home from work at about 6 p.m. She said the family does a lot of cooking over the weekend, and mostly eat leftovers throughout the week, supplemented with salad and food delivery. Family dinner typically starts around 6:40 p.m. Afterwards, Zhuo and her husband play with their kids.

"I've loved working with all of my coworkers and the people I get to interact with every day," Zhuo said. "I think that the relationships that we build — and the ways we go about solving problems working together and having hard conversations — recognize each other as the individuals and authentic people that we are."

"I've loved working with all of my coworkers and the people I get to interact with every day," Zhuo said. "I think that the relationships that we build — and the ways we go about solving problems working together and having hard conversations — recognize each other as the individuals and authentic people that we are."

Whether she's running a product review or working to solve a problem in a hackathon or attending one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company-wide Friday Q&As, Zhuo works to remain present. "Sometimes I catch myself when I'm in a meeting, I'll still be thinking about the last meeting. I'm going to come across as more disengaged in that current meeting."

Whether she's running a product review or working to solve a problem in a hackathon or attending one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company-wide Friday Q&As, Zhuo works to remain present. "Sometimes I catch myself when I'm in a meeting, I'll still be thinking about the last meeting. I'm going to come across as more disengaged in that current meeting."

Days at Facebook can get pretty busy, so Zhuo said she strives to keep up her energy by eating snacks and refueling with a lot of tea during the afternoon. "There's a saying we have at Facebook, that 'every day feels like a week,'" she said.

Days at Facebook can get pretty busy, so Zhuo said she strives to keep up her energy by eating snacks and refueling with a lot of tea during the afternoon. "There's a saying we have at Facebook, that 'every day feels like a week,'" she said.

Facebook also runs a collaborative platform called Workplace in order to foster that sense of community. Zhuo is a member of Women@ Facebook, Facebook Design, Moms in Tech, and Parents@Facebook. She said such internal groups are great at "...giving support, giving advice, helping people coordinate and work better."

Facebook also runs a collaborative platform called Workplace in order to foster that sense of community. Zhuo is a member of Women@ Facebook, Facebook Design,  Moms in Tech, and Parents@Facebook. She said such internal groups are great at "...giving support, giving advice, helping people coordinate and work better."

As a result, the Menlo Park headquarters is brimming with art — including plenty of posters created by the employees themselves. "It's meant to remind us of the work we do," she said. It's meant to remind us of our own community. It's meant to give a voice."

As a result, the Menlo Park headquarters is brimming with art — including plenty of posters created by the employees themselves. "It's meant to remind us of the work we do," she said. It's meant to remind us of our own community. It's meant to give a voice."

For Zhuo, one of Facebook's biggest draws is its sense of community. "What we do every day is we build a product that tries to build community and bring people closer together," Zhuo said. "It's really hard for us to accomplish that if our internal community is not strong."

For Zhuo, one of Facebook's biggest draws is its sense of community. "What we do every day is we build a product that tries to build community and bring people closer together," Zhuo said. "It's really hard for us to accomplish that if our internal community is not strong."

Zhuo also focuses on recruiting and hirin, and making sure her own team is living up to the company's culture: "The culture and health of the team are very top of mind for me."

Zhuo also focuses on recruiting and hirin, and making sure her own team is living up to the company's culture: "The culture and health of the team are very top of mind for me."

That being said, as a Facebook exec, her workdays tend to vary. "Some days we're getting ready to launch a feature and there's a lot more work to do," Zhuo said. "Some days it's early-stage brainstorming."

That being said, as a Facebook exec, her workdays tend to vary. "Some days we're getting ready to launch a feature and there's a lot more work to do," Zhuo said. "Some days it's early-stage brainstorming."

Zhuo spends much of the day meeting with teams to discuss design and product development. She keeps up with her busy schedule by establishing and sticking to a clear plan. "I go into every meeting with an idea of what I want to do or say," she said. "That makes it much, much easier when you're contact-switching between many different things."

Zhuo spends much of the day meeting with teams to discuss design and product development. She keeps up with her busy schedule by establishing and sticking to a clear plan. "I go into every meeting with an idea of what I want to do or say," she said. "That makes it much, much easier when you're contact-switching between many different things."

Zhuo and her husband are at the office by 9 a.m. Upon getting into work, she tries to take some time to plan ahead for her meetings. "I try to be very intentional about my time," she said. "It's easy to get into the habit of reacting to what's happening during the day."

Zhuo and her husband are at the office by 9 a.m. Upon getting into work, she tries to take some time to plan ahead for her meetings. "I try to be very intentional about my time," she said. "It's easy to get into the habit of reacting to what's happening during the day."

Zhuo's husband, Facebook engineering director Mike Sego, prepares breakfast for the family. That's usually eggs and coffee for Sego and Zhuo, and milk and snacks for their two young children. The get the kids dressed, and their nanny picks them up at 8:30 a.m.

Zhuo's husband, Facebook engineering director Mike Sego, prepares breakfast for the family. That's usually eggs and coffee for Sego and Zhuo, and milk and snacks for their two young children. The get the kids dressed, and their nanny picks them up at 8:30 a.m.

On weekdays, Zhuo wakes up around 7 a.m. To kick off her day, she works out on an elliptical for about 10 minutes, then showers. The Facebook exec often runs while listening to a TED talk, an audiobook, or music. "I like the idea of starting the day having accomplished something, even if it's very small," she said. Zhuo said she also starts thinking about her schedule and daily tasks first thing in the morning.

On weekdays, Zhuo wakes up around 7 a.m. To kick off her day, she works out on an elliptical for about 10 minutes, then showers. The Facebook exec often runs while listening to a TED talk, an audiobook, or music. "I like the idea of starting the day having accomplished something, even if it's very small," she said. Zhuo said she also starts thinking about her schedule and daily tasks first thing in the morning.
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