Oct 2, 2017

Work like Elon

Photo: Stephan Savoia / AP

Elon Musk is upending the automotive industry (Tesla) and space travel (SpaceX), not to mention some side projects he has digging tunnels (The Boring Company) and connecting mind and machine (Neuralink). As an entrepreneur with a demanding schedule, Musk runs his day on high-efficiency habits.

Why it matters: When we think we're getting too busy, we can take a page out of Musk's playbook.

  1. Don't skimp on sleep. Asleep by 1a.m., Musk sleeps a healthy 6-6.5 hours a night, otherwise he feels "grumpy."
  2. Get inspired in the shower. On two separate occasions, Musk cites the shower as the time and place where he gets creative inspiration and positivity.
  3. Hyper-efficient meetings. A former Tesla employee reported a conversation with another teammate who recalls a meeting with Musk. In the middle of the meeting, Elon said to a quiet meeting member: You haven't said anything. Why are you in here? While perhaps a bit harsh, it shows meetings should serve a clear and distinct purpose.
  4. Hiring test. Musk asks candidates the question: "Did they face very difficult problems and overcome them?" If they're telling the truth, they will understand the problem intricately and be able to answer any detailed question.
  5. Don't work over 100 hours a week. He tried that. 85 is good.
  6. Diet for productivity. Drink two coffees a day and diet Coke. Skip breakfast half the time. Cut down on sweets. Scarf lunch in five minutes during meetings.
  7. Exercise 1-2 times a week. Usually treadmill and lifting weights.
  8. Schedule everything, even if it's in 5-minute time slots.
  9. Manage your emotions ruthlessly. "I feel fear quite strongly. But if what I am doing is important enough, then I just override the fear," Musk said in an interview.
  10. Email. Check messages while your kids are running around; "I'm able to be with them and still be on email. I can be with them and still be working at the same time."
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