Elon Musk is the CEO of three companies.
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He works long hours and divides his time into five-minute segments in order to accomplish things.
To keep my workload under control, I tried his system. Although it worked, it was not flexible enough.
It is not easy to run a business, let alone three. Elon Musk is CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and Brain-chip Company Neuralink. He also founded The Boring Company.
Musk will go to great lengths to ensure he is on top of things. Musk is said to work 80-100 hours per week and sleeps six hours. He has admitted that he sends emails during meetings as well as when he is spending time with his children.
Musk is well-known for his meticulousness with time. He divides his day into five-minute segments to ensure that he can prioritize his workloads across his companies. Musk often skips breakfast and eats his lunch in five minutes. He also avoids calling.
Eric Schmidt's email method helped me to manage my inbox. Musk's time management hack seemed to have the same effect on how I manage my time so I tried it for a few days.
Although I did not go all Musk, I made sure to follow the rules and didn't skip breakfast nor clock in for 16-hour work days. This is counterproductive for many people. Instead, I used the five-minute slots to my normal hours between 8 a.m. & 5 p.m.
It required some planning
Many productivity gurus swear to the importance of blocking out time for specific tasks. Musk's scheduling is on steroids, and it required a lot preparation.
It is almost impossible to do anything properly in five minutes. This excludes the occasional source email or social-media post. Musk told Y-Combinator once that he devotes 80% of his time to engineering and design. It's unlikely that he limits himself to five minutes.
Although I organized my days into five-minute blocks, for the most part I grouped my slots together. For example, I used 12 five-minute slots to write up an interview for Wednesday at 9 a.m. I scheduled breaks and administrative tasks.
To tie up non-essential but important tasks, such as reading an article I came across on that day, I set aside six five-minute slots for the end of my day.
I was well-organized and managed to get a lot more done.
Musk is well-known for his meticulousness with time. Hannibal Hanschke-Pool/Getty Images
For example, I am known for making tasks take longer than necessary. This includes rewriting sentences multiple times. By limiting the time I had to complete a task, I was able to get it done quicker. It was a time constraint that helped me focus my mind.
It helped me eliminate unnecessary distractions, such as checking my email or scrolling through social networks.
It required constant adjustment, which was frustrating.
Sometimes, you don't know when a company will respond to your request for comment or when a colleague offers you a task. Sometimes, I realized that I was too ambitious in my planning for how fast I could complete certain tasks.
This meant that I had to constantly review my schedule and push things back or into next day. As tasks slipped into my time, I had to rethink my schedule.
Although it will get easier once you understand how long things take to complete, initially it was frustrating. To make it more flexible, I started to leave some space on my calendar.
Some parts I will stick with, however.
Musk's daily routine is, in general, probably too complicated for most workers.
I'll continue with parts. I found that scheduling dedicated time for even the smallest tasks helped me get them done and made me feel more organized at the conclusion of the day.