Musk sacrifices for productivity because he believes his work is crucial to saving civilization.
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Elon Musk seems to be one of the most productive — or at least busiest — people on the planet. As the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, he’s busy enough, but add in working on high-visibility projects like the Hyperloop and Neuralink, and it’s amazing what he’s able to do as a single person.
He’s fully committed himself to such a host of challenges because of his deep focus on the future of our planet. Musk believes the work he’s doing is critical for our species to survive.
For him to keep up with his endless tasks, Musk has had to be efficient. There’s no other way to handle all of the responsibilities he’s taken on for such an extended time. Consequently, there’s much to be learned from the ways in which Musk uses his time and practices efficiency.
It’s worth noting that Elon Musk has optimized his output. He’s made the decision to prioritize the work he’s doing because of his desire to help the planet. Higher productivity is beneficial, but, depending on your circumstances or preferences, it’s not always worth certain sacrifices Musk makes. Nonetheless, there’s much to be learned from the way Musk carries himself.
Here are 10 productivity tips from Elon Musk that will help you significantly improve your schedule in both business and life.
Related: Zuckerberg, Musk and Gates Have a Not-So-Secret Productivity Hack
1. Constantly question how to improve.
Elon Musk is always thinking about how he can do things more efficiently. He’s admitted to having never read productivity books. Yet he’s constantly becoming a more efficient person by observing his life and habits. He notices when he’s wasting time and is constantly examining his daily experiences.
Although this seems obvious, having the attention and effort to constantly evaluate areas for improvement is rather difficult. It requires an ability to challenge oneself and always be open to improvement.
2. Maintain hyperfocus.
Musk makes it challenging to interrupt. He doesn’t have notifications constantly buzzing when he sits down to work. Instead, he’s entirely engulfed with the task at hand. That allows him to both put more energy toward it and accomplish his work more quickly.
Related: I Ran My Day Like Elon Musk Runs His — and This Is What Happened
3. Save time spent on email.
Like many of us, Musk spends a significant amount of time in his email. That said, he’s learned to cut that time down as much as possible. He doesn’t fret over perfect phrasing or long messages. Instead, he keeps his emails concise and to the point.
4. Appropriately multitask.
While Musk understands the importance of hyperfocus on certain tasks, he also knows he can multitask in other situations. He’s a big proponent of doing things like eating while responding to emails or having a conversation. He also frequently takes on simple tasks on his computer while he’s with his kids.
5. Have extreme control over your calendar.
Musk has his calendar broken into five-minute chunks. That makes it extremely challenging to waste his time; he’s thinking about it all the way down to five-minute increments. This makes an hour-long meeting feel like an enormous block of time.
It, therefore, eliminates overly long meetings or conversations. Furthermore, it allows Musk to be productive during the small breaks he has throughout the day. Instead of thinking aimlessly during those short breaks, Musk is doing something productive. Here are a few crucial tips to schedule a productive meeting.
6. Set optimistic goals.
Steve Jobs is famous for creating something called the reality distortion field. It’s a term his employees coined because he would make it seem like they could accomplish tasks or projects in periods of time that were not humanly possible. Therefore, he was distorting their reality.
Elon Musk does something similar. He sets overly optimistic goals. While he’s known for frequently failing to reach those goals on time, it forces him and his teams to push much harder; there’s a constant sense of overwhelming urgency that boosts productivity.
7. Truly embrace improvement.
As much as many people preach personal growth, we often don’t invest in it enough. Musk, on the other hand, has embraced it fully. He says, “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”
This mindset allows him to truly constantly improve. Beyond just becoming more productive, Musk is always developing more effective ways of thinking. Those allow him to produce higher levels of output. Due to the perfection often needed in the companies he’s running, a higher quality of work dramatically increases his productivity. It prevents him from needing to return to old issues. Here are a few time management tips to help you think more like Musk.
Related: Elon Musk Is Sounding Very Unhappy and Assumes His Life Will Get Worse
8. Obsess over learning.
Elon Musk is brilliant. He read two books a day throughout a long period of his childhood and continues to obsess over learning. His old employees have shared stories about the ways in which he abstracted compelling information from them, which speaks greatly to his character.
This constant learning has allowed him to both speed up the time it takes for him to understand a concept and increase the quality of responses and thoughts he’s able to offer on topics.
9. Empower others.
Beyond his “reality distortion field,” Elon Musk empowers his employees unlike almost any leader. People around the world dream of what it would be like to work for Musk because of the reputation he’s developed.
He expects a lot from his employees and isn’t afraid to blow up at them or fire them for a mistake. That being said, it’s spurred an extremely high level of output from those around him. When his teams are able to accomplish so much, it takes work off his plate. Although he’s not doing the work directly, without him as the guiding force, this work would almost surely not be accomplished as quickly.
10. Forget what others think about you.
Something that plagues many in the productivity department that Musk has been able to avoid is worrying about others’ thoughts. Many people spend significant time and energy trying to fit in or get others to like them. Musk, on the other hand, doesn’t care. He exerts his effort on the tasks at hand instead of navigating societal norms and social interactions. This has benefited his productivity greatly as he’s able to put an even higher level of precision into his work.
Elon Musk isn’t just an expert in his chosen fields but on the art of productivity as well. While most of us aren’t on his level, we can take insights from how Musk lives his life to improve how we manage our own.