It is not easy to run a business – let alone three. Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, a brainchip company, and he is also the founder of The Boring Company. The billionaire goes to great lengths to stay at the forefront of progress. He would work between 80 and 100 hours a week and only sleep six hours a day. He sends emails when he’s in a meeting and even when spending time with his sons, he said.
The South African is known to be scrupulous with his time, dividing his days into five-minute slices in order to prioritize workloads between his companies. He often forgoes breakfast, devours his lunch in five minutes, and avoids phone calls.
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By testing Eric Schmidt’s messaging technique, I tackled my mailbox. I figured Elon Musk’s time management technique might have the same effect on my ability to organize my own day, so I put it to the test for a few days.
I did not perform the billionaire technique 100%. I changed the rules not to skip breakfast or work 16 hour days (which is counterproductive for most people). Instead, I applied the five-minute slots to my usual hours, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
It took a little planning
Many productivity gurus swear by the technique of locking in a period of time to get on with specific tasks. In contrast, Elon Musk’s technique is planning on steroids and it required a lot of preparation.
It’s almost impossible to do anything right in five minutes except to send an email or a social media message. The Tesla boss once told Y-Combinator that he spends 80% of his time on engineering and design, so it’s unlikely he’ll actually limit himself to getting things done in five minutes. .
I’ve always organized the days into five-minute slices, but most of the time I grouped my slices together. I spent 12 five-minute slots in a row preparing for an interview on Wednesdays at 9 a.m., for example. I also made time for breaks and administrative tasks.
Finally, I set aside six five-minute slots at the end of the day to complete important but non-essential tasks, like reading an article that I stumbled upon that day.
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I was organized and did a lot more
I am used to taking more time than necessary to complete my tasks. I rewrite sentences over and over, for example. By limiting the time I had for a specific task, I was able to complete it faster. Knowing that I only had an hour to do it kept me focused.
It has also helped me eliminate unnecessary distractions that can hamper productivity, like regularly checking my mailbox or scrolling through social media.
But you had to constantly adapt, which was annoying
Sometimes you can’t control when a business responds to a request for comment, or when a coworker comes to you for an unexpected task. In some cases, I also realized that I had been too ambitious in planning how quickly I could accomplish certain parts of my job.
So I had to constantly rethink my schedule, postpone certain activities or postpone them until the next day, because they took up the time I had planned for others.
It probably gets easier when you start to understand the exact time things take, but it was frustrating at first. I also started to leave some blank spaces in my calendar to allow myself more flexibility.
There are certain habits that I will keep
Overall, when it comes to daily routines, Elon Musk’s is probably overkill for most workers.
But I will keep some parts of it. Allowing dedicated time for even the smallest tasks helped me accomplish them and made me feel more organized at the end of the day.
Original version: Stephen Jones / Insider
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