What if you left work every single Friday feeling like the week was well spent? You checked off all your to-dos. You won't have to work the weekend or revisit lingering tasks come Monday.
It is possible. Facebook executive Julie Zhuo does it every week.
Productive and successful leaders carefully manage how they spend their time. Zhuo is no exception. The vice president of product design leads a team of over 250. She needs solid strategies to stay productive and on track.
Starting the week with intentionality.
Intentionality is one of Zhuo's mantras, from the big picture to the nitty gritty details. Intentionality guides how she interviews, hires, and mentors product designers at Facebook. She's also intentional in how she tackles her to-do list.
It all begins by asking herself one question at the beginning of each week, Zhuo tells CNBC Make It. It's Monday morning, but she imagines it's exactly five days from now. "If it's Friday afternoon and I'm driving home from work, what do I want to have checked off?"
Keeping the list short.
As one of Facebook's executives, Zhuo certainly has big things she needs to accomplish over the coming months. But here's the brilliance of her strategy: By setting weekly goals, Zhuo breaks her work down into smaller, bite-sized tasks. What can she accomplish this week alone that will make Friday feel like a slam dunk?
Keeping weekly goals front and center.
Now that Zhuo has those few things she wants to accomplish this week in mind, she grabs a sticky note. She writes those weekly goals down. Then she slaps the Post-It on her computer or her desk. She sees it every single day throughout the week. It's a constant reminder of what she set out to accomplish this week.
Breaking it down day by day.
She repeats this exercise every morning before starting work. "At the start of every morning, I do my calendar scan and look at everything that's going on that day," Zhuo says. Then she tries to set daily goals based on what she thinks she can feasibly accomplish.
Reflecting on the week.
Ultimately, Friday rolls around. Did Zhuo knock those three things off her list? Maybe. But maybe not.
Just as important as setting these weekly goals is reflecting on her progress at the end of the week. Things might not have gone as planned. Zhuo takes time to look back on the previous week. What went wrong? What surprised her? What took her off track?
Zhuo asks herself if there's anything she could have done better over the course of the week. Identifying these shortcomings helps her continuously improve, setting herself up better for success in the coming weeks.
Failing to meet her weekly goals isn't necessarily a failure. Instead, it's an opportunity to learn--and to do better next time.