As CEO of three companies, Elon Musk has a lot on his plate.
- He works overtime and divides his time into five minutes to get things done.
- I tested this system to stay on top of my workload. It worked – but it was annoyingly flexible.
Running a company is not easy. Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and the brain chip company Neurelink, as well as the founder of The Boring Company.
Musk goes to great lengths to stay on top of everything. He reportedly works 80-100 hours a week and gets six hours of sleep. He emails at meetings and when he spends time with his sons.
Musk is known for dividing his time into five-minute slots with his time to prioritize the workload between his companies. He often avoids breakfast, packs his lunch within five minutes, and avoids phone calls.
Testing Eric Schmidt’s email technique helped me deal with my inbox. I thought Musk’s time management hack could have the same effect on my ability to manage my time, so I put it to the test for a day or two.
I didn’t smile completely – I lowered the rules so I wouldn’t skip breakfast or extend the 16-hour day (which is reasonable for most people). Instead, I set up a five-minute slot in my normal hours from 8am to 5pm.
He made some plans.
Stopping the time devoted to specific tasks is a technique that many production gurus swear by. But Musk is scheduling steroids and requires a lot of preparation.
With the exception of a weird source email or social media post, it’s almost impossible to do anything right in five minutes. Musk once told Y-Combinator that he spends 80% of his time on engineering and design, so it’s unlikely he would limit himself to just five minutes.
I still organize the days into five minute slots but for the most part, I put my slots together. For example, I devoted 12 consecutive five minutes to writing an interview on Wednesday at 9am. I also set aside time for breaks and administrative tasks.
Finally, I set aside some time چھ six or five minutes of space-to tie up important but unnecessary tasks at the end of the day, like reading an article I stumbled upon that day.
I was organized and did a lot.
I have a habit of making tasks longer than they need to be – for example, writing sentences over and over again. How much time I had for a particular task meant that I did it faster. Knowing that I only had an hour to do so, really focused on my mind.
It also helped me eliminate unnecessary distractions that could reduce productivity, such as checking my inbox regularly or scrolling through social media.
But it required constant adjustment – which was frustrating.
Sometimes you can’t control when a company responds to a comment request, or when a colleague brings you unexpected work. In some cases, I even felt I was overly ambitious when I was planning how fast I could get things done.
This meant that I had to constantly revise my schedule, push things forward or into the next day because time was running out for the tasks I had scheduled for others.
It may get easier when you start to understand how long things take, but it was frustrating at first. I also started to leave some space in my calendar to allow more flexibility.
There are parts I will live with.
Overall, according to daily routines, musk is probably excessive for most workers.
But I will continue with some parts. Creating a dedicated time schedule for even the smallest tasks helps me accomplish them, and makes me feel more organized at the end of the day.