Master of time management: work and family


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By Li Pengfei
Source: Alphabet list (ID: wujicaijing)
Original title: musk is the master of time management
In January 2021, Elon Musk was crowned the new richest man, launched a 143 star Falcon rocket, and landed a domestic model y. his achievements were scored several times at a time. In a short period of time, so much can not be achieved without his superb time management skills.
As one of the most successful and busy men in the world, musk manages seven companies and raises six children. Ordinary people, even if they have three heads and six arms, can’t be busy. How does musk do it?
The first is the “time boxing” method, which sets the duration of the task. When he is awake, musk will arrange his schedule in 5 minutes, and a day will be cut into hundreds of “time cubes”.
When it comes to working hours, the minimum standard of every day is to deal with the most critical affairs, including the most urgent work, the key people who need to meet and the key activities that must be attended.
For the next non work tasks, musk will compress and complete them in the shortest time, including taking 5 minutes to eat, arranging 10 hours for appointments a week, and taking 3 seconds to urinate.
One of the characteristics of Musk’s time management is that he uses his mobile phone to run business during meetings, replies to e-mails when checking invoices, and sometimes plays with his children in his lap. He also takes time to return e-mails
In 2017, American Wired magazine made an interesting comparison and conversion of Musk’s time, and concluded that musk worked eight years in a year.
For rocket building, space X compared with blue origin, the time ratio was 1:6;
Autopilot car, Tesla compared Ford, time-consuming than 1:4;
To build super high-speed rail, musk compared with the projects of the California government, the time-consuming ratio is 1:6;
Compared with the normal subway, the boring company takes 1:14 to dig a tunnel;
It takes two-thirds of GM’s time from project establishment to delivery to deliver electric vehicles at civilian price;
The faster car production line, usually car assembly takes 3 minutes, Tesla robot production line 10 seconds, time-consuming ratio of 1:18;
After landing on Mars, according to the plan, musk wants to send people to Mars in 2024, NASA will arrive in 2035, and musk is 1:8 ahead;
What gives musk a sense of control over time when he does a good job of time management at the technical level?
“First principles” is one of the theories musk talks about. He should ensure that he understands the basic scientific principles or rules behind most things. This can reduce his spending a lot of time learning new concepts, and cognitive things will have a smooth upward cognitive curve.
Real time management masters are often divided into two categories. One is a low-key model worker headed by Bill Gates. In order to save time, gates treats Guozhen as a meal. The famous theory is: “chongguozhen’s time can be used to work, because you have water in your body.”
The second type is musk, a master of both working and emotional development.
The Netflix documentary “walking into Bill: decoding Bill Gates” tells about a day when Bill Gates got up at 6:00 in the morning, attended the artificial intelligence technology report at 8:00, had a meeting with Tyra energy at 9:00, had the Microsoft board of directors at 10:30, had lunch for half an hour at noon, had a phone call with Warren Buffett, had a health meeting at 12:30, and then had to be interviewed by reporters and went to the laboratory
Busy work does not delay the vitality of emotional life.
Having five children with his first wife Justine, he and the actress talulah Riley performed a drama (marriage divorce remarriage divorce) after breaking up with their original partner. He also took the time to perform the “lipprint killing” event with Depp’s ex-wife amber. According to Depp’s doorman, musk will visit Amber’s top Mansion in the middle of the night while Depp is filming. As a result, musk got the nickname penthouse guy.
Musk and his wife, Lula Riley
In addition, four days a week with his family, driving his children to school, and taking time to run in movies and TV plays – Musk’s time management philosophy not only supports his wonderful personal world, but also pushes his personal career to a new height.
Deadline is the first productive force. Musk’s knack of using time is to create “time limit” rather than “time line”.
The core of the “time boxing” method advocated by musk is not when to do it, but how long it takes to do it. This kind of time management method is essentially different from the time management method of arranging to-do items according to the schedule in the market. It’s especially good for people like musk who have a complicated and irregular schedule.
In Elon Musk’s schedule, no two days are exactly the same. He once described his work rhythm in an interview. He will work in space X in Los Angeles on Monday and Friday, Tesla in San Francisco Bay area on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and openai in Y combinator incubator on Saturday.
Usually, people arrange their schedule. They will do task one from 9:00 to 10:00 and task two from 10:00 to 11:00, showing a linear distribution. But sometimes the delay of task one will affect task two. If you finish task one ahead of time, you may have to wait until 10 o’clock to do task two. In this way, the work plan made according to the time line seems orderly, but in fact it is fragile.
“Time boxing” sets a clear budget time for each item to be executed in the future, for example, task 1 should be completed in 15 minutes, task 2 should be completed in 10 minutes. After completing task one, you can immediately proceed to the next most suitable task, not necessarily the second one on the task list.

Musk is well aware that deadline is the first productivity. He arranges enough and least time for each task, so that he can always be under the influence of deadline, which is also the most efficient.
Parkinson’s law of corporate bureaucracy also says that work fills the allotted time. In other words, the more time is allocated to a task, the more time it takes to complete it. If we arrange half a day for the information that can be checked in 30 minutes, it may really take half a day. So he allocated less time to some low value items to avoid wasting time, such as wolfing down lunch in five minutes.
Based on this kind of time management method, he always keeps a fast pace of work. After finishing one thing, he immediately moves on to the next one. It doesn’t waste time and doesn’t have to wait for the arrival of the next task.
In addition, musk also applied the Pastore rule in the allocation of personal management energy: most of the energy is spent on the two most important companies, namely space X and Tesla.
On average, he works 42 hours a week in Tesla and 40 hours in space X.
At present, musk has served as the CEO, founder or important role of seven enterprises, and these enterprises, in their respective fields, have the potential to subvert the industry, including: space X (rocket launch and recovery), Tesla (electric vehicle), the boring company (infrastructure and tunnel construction), hyperloop (super high speed rail), openai (Artificial Intelligence), and future Of Life Institute, and neuralink.
Such a complicated workload, he arranged for nearly 100 hours a week for work, and even in a big trouble, more than 120 hours a week, when Tesla faced a productivity crisis in 2018, Mask had to sleep on the floor in the factory.
“When I don’t get enough sleep, I find that I get grumpy I can also reduce my sleep time, but that will affect my mental agility. ” Musk recalled. Since then, he has returned to a more “sustainable” 80 to 90 hour week.
In order to be able to work efficiently, musk has become very emphasis on rest. In an interview held by the computer history museum in 2013, he mentioned that his most suitable sleep time is 6-6.5 hours. Generally, he would go to bed at 1 p.m. and get up at 7 a.m.
When he got up the next day, in order to save time, he often didn’t eat breakfast. Occasionally, he quickly drank a cup of coffee and ate an fried egg. In Musk’s dictionary, it’s better to take a bath than to have breakfast.
Bathing can usually relieve muscle soreness, increase blood circulation, reduce fatigue and help improve attention, which has become his most important daily habit. He once personally wrote back in reddit (an online community in the United States): bathing has had “the most positive impact” on his life, and there is no one.
In order to maximize the value of time, musk used a lot of time management methods, including going to the front line to hone his keen intuition; asynchronous communication, e-mail and team cooperation; and passionate investment to maximize his potential.
When interviewing musk about how to use his time, he said in the video: “many people may think that I spend a lot of time dealing with the media, but in fact 80% of the time is actually applicable to engineering design, focusing on products.”
Musk admits that he doesn’t like business. His favorite thing is to do engineering design. Put aside the suspicion of Versailles charges, which is quite in line with his engineering man.
Today, it is rarely heard that any CEO spends 80% of his time developing products. Musk often stays in Tesla design studio for half a day, sitting next to the chief designer of Tesla, Franz von holzhausen, and working together. This kind of personal contact with design gives musk the intuition to solve problems, so that he can not only participate in the creativity of the design studio, but also be more agile to deal with various situations and make decisions.
Focus and deep work can bring progress, and musk has a lot of chores, which means that only by living asynchronously as possible can we reduce the interference from the outside world. So musk loved email because it didn’t need to be answered in time.
In an interview with the CEO of Axel Springer, the European digital publishing house, he said: “the greatest invention in human history is language (not wheels)”. Writing is beyond language. “Writing is like a hard drive, which allows things to continue beyond human beings. If you want to keep everything in the form of oral history, it’s very difficult. ”
A large number of transactions are solved by e-mail, which is the reason why he seldom uses the phone, so that he can avoid frequent interruption of efficient state. Moreover, 80% of Musk’s communication is creative work, such as engineering and design, and the most efficient way is to ensure continuous flow.
In his own words, “I love email and try to communicate asynchronously as much as possible. I’m very good at email.” He also uses an email address that is hard to guess to avoid contacting people outside the company, so that he can focus more on the actual work of the company.
“I’ve written a lot of emails – and I’m very good at it,” he joked at a conference. This is my core competitiveness. ” He often communicates to the whole company by email how to communicate, the company’s vision and mission, and how to work efficiently. On July 1, 2018, musk sent a long-awaited email to all employees: “I think we have just become a real car company. We built 5031 model 3 in seven days. ” The weekly production capacity has climbed over 5000 units, and musk told everyone by email about Tesla’s most landmark achievement.

Musk’s e-mail skills are also practiced, with clear, concise and direct language. If you can use two words, you don’t need ten words. He will use some appropriate skills, such as “I hope Can you do it? ” Once you promise in your email, it’s like you promise to finish the task, instead of being forced down by him, you have to finish it.
In pursuit of efficiency, the most intolerable thing for musk is to find excuses or unclear work plans.
If someone tells him that he made a choice because he “did it all the time before,” he will be kicked out of the meeting room immediately. Musk hated being lazy or being conventional. He often said, “I don’t want to hear that again. We should do our best and never allow “half hearted”.
There was an employee who missed an event because of the birth of a child. Musk immediately sent a barrage of censure emails: “this is not an excuse. I feel very disappointed. You need to figure out what’s more important to you. We’re changing the world, changing history, and if you’re not going to do your best, don’t do it. ”
Although he seems inhumane and sometimes intimidating, his crazy work enthusiasm, aggressive style and unique thinking still attract many excellent employees
“Musk is a difficult boss. He always has a high standard for his work, and it’s hard for his subordinates to satisfy him most of the time; he’s always in a state of running forward, and sometimes it’s hard for us to keep up with him. ”
“But it’s an exciting experience to work with him, and we’re inspired that he’s always breaking barriers and routines and encouraging us to do the same thing.”
Musk is always challenging the tolerance of employees. If he can stand the test, he will be trusted. Musk wants to make the company up and down to work as crazy as he does. It’s amazing that everyone understands his value orientation.
Musk’s passion for work makes him like a superman who doesn’t need rest. When he first founded zip, the first Internet company, he never left the office, sleeping on the floor in the sleeping bag beside his desk, and asked the early employees to wake him up so that he could continue to work.
Zip’s early employees commented on musk, “we work 20 hours a day, and he works 23 hours.”. It seems that the easiest way to reveal time management is to squeeze as much time as possible out of 24 hours a day.
When there is no time to save, musk will compromise. “Once Elon wants to know something, he will put in much more energy than others,” Musk’s college classmate Faruk said. That’s the difference between Elon and the others. ” This kind of necessary time investment is just the overall optimal.
According to his true personality, musk actually has slight “IQ discrimination”. For example, he will be very disgusted with low-level communication. However, in order to advance his career, he doesn’t care about “keeping a low profile” to repeatedly communicate with the government, capital, media and users. At this time, he does not dislike the waste of time, because waste has become a necessity, he must accommodate the rhythm of partners.
Musk also has many interesting things in his life.
No matter how busy your career is, you will still have some hobbies or entertainment activities. In musk, he found a common hobby of successful people reading. Bill Gates reads more than three hours a day, and zakar finishes one book a week, while Buffett insists on reading 80% of the time every day, and musk is no exception.
Musk’s favorite books include the Lord of the rings, biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Einstein, and an unknown history book about adventurers, such as “Twelve against the gods”.
Space X’s two sea rocket recovery landing ships, named “of course I still love you” and “just read the instructions”, are all based on science fiction. This is musk paying homage to Ian banks, the Scottish novelist. In his civilization Series science fiction, there are two spaceships named after them.
On weekends, he always tosses a coin to decide how to spend his time. On Sundays, he either travels with his family or stays in his apartment; on Saturdays, he continues to work in space X or Y combiner or accompanies his children. Sometimes career type character will let him in leisure life at the same time, will unconsciously put into work. In 2013, he said in his speech that I found that I could always stay with them by email, so that I could stay with them and work at the same time. If I can’t, I can’t finish my work.
As for work and rest habits, musk has his own way.
In the most difficult time in Tesla’s history, musk used to sleep a few hours, work, sleep a few hours, and then work seven days a week. Afterwards, he reflected that it was not sustainable, so he set the best schedule for himself and had enough and just good sleep.
Most of the business tycoons in the west go to bed early and get up early. For example, Tim Cook, CEO of apple, goes to bed at 9:30-10 p.m., gets up at 3:45 a.m. and appears in the office at 4:30 a.m. every day. Musk goes to bed late and gets up late from 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., breaking the inherent impression that successful people in the west get up before 6:00.
The flow of movements after getting up is also different. Everyone has their own fixed routines. Some meditate, some yoga, some run. The first theme is life, but musk is not.
For example, Anna Wintour, editor in chief of vogue in her 70s, the first thing to get up is to brush the news of Britain and the United States to learn about world events; the second thing is to play tennis rain or shine, and do an hour of high-intensity exercise every morning from 5:45 to 6:45, which has been hard for decades.

After he gets up, Bezos likes to drink coffee, read newspapers, have breakfast, and even wash the dishes leisurely. According to his own opinion, one hour after he gets up, he never works.
Musk starts to work as soon as he gets up. When he wakes up, he starts to brush e-mails against the clock. From 7:00 to 7:30am, he will deal with critical e-mails that are urgent and important.
Musk’s children
After returning the most important email, musk will personally send her to school. No matter how busy he is, he is still a good father. Driving his own Tesla car, he sent the baby to Ad Astra, an experimental primary school built in space X headquarters. The name of the school comes from the Latin proverb per aspera Ad Astra, which means “through hardships, to the stars” classical and romantic.
Musk also has a chance to guest star in movies and TV series, “Iron Man”, “big bang of life” and so on. He can almost be regarded as the guy who has the most guest stars in movies and TV programs among Silicon Valley’s technological elites. Such free public relations publicity is meaningful to his goal and also saves his PR time.
As a top rich man, musk, who is always full of energy and the winner, has come out of his hard-working and relaxed time management style.
Musk on time management, Bili bili
Time Management Secrets of iron man musk, Sohu
How does musk lead a private life when he works hundreds of hours a week, curiosity daily
What is a real time management guru like? Musk, Bezos and Zhang Chaoyang tell you
How does musk manage time? Working 12 hours a day, you can take care of love and five children
Silicon Valley iron man, Ashley Vance
11 commitments and progress of musk and Tesla in 2020, Sina Technology
“The first launch of star chain this year: the birth of space X, the first one rocket eight fly eight recovery rocket”, surging news
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)