Elon Musk and the art of multi-tasking

17th Aug 2017
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Multi-tasking has received a lot of negative print recently. But times have changed. Employees are increasingly pursuing their hobbies and interests with the same gusto with which they pursue professional aspirations. It is often impossible to accomplish all that you want to without multi-tasking just a little bit. Nobody proves this better than Elon Musk. Changing the way we commute, taking humans to space, and being a dad and social rockstar – clearly Elon Musk is winning at the multi-tasking game.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Here’s a quick look at the things that stand out in his daily routine. Perhaps we can all take a leaf or two from Musk on how to manage our time so we can pursue all that we need and want to without suffering burnout.

He knows how much sleep he needs

Very often, we get hung up on the idea of needing eight hours of sleep. There is also the diametrically opposite viewpoint where several business leaders think they can survive with several hours of sleep debt every night. Elon Musk sleeps close to six hours every night. That falls in the acceptable range prescribed by the National Sleep Foundation. This number, however, can vary for different people.

If you have a busy life, with a side hustle, a full-time job, and many varied personal interests and commitments, it is important that you figure out how much sleep helps you feel well-rested, and carve out a routine and priorities around that. Sleep debt is a silent killer. Make feeling rested an important objective of your daily schedule. If Elon Musk can do it, so can you.

He prioritizes constantly

Whether it is in the number of hours he spends at each of his organizations or how he chooses to communicate – email over phone and an obscure email address so only relevant communication can reach his personal inbox – Musk comes across as someone who prioritizes carefully and ruthlessly.

You must too, if you want to accomplish all that you need to and all that you want to with similar amounts of enthusiasm.

He plays dad, investor, founder, and party boy with equal élan

At first glance, Musk comes across as an ace Silicon Valley investor and a gifted founder. But he also uses the fun stuff in his work life to spend time with his sons. From using California factory visits to plan camping trips with his sons, to switching between work email and play time with them, Musk is known to make the most of the resources he has around all his responsibilities. Between all of this, he even makes time for legendary parties!

He doesn’t let guilt trips come in the way of doing what he needs to

I strongly believe that the one thing that stops us from doing all that we want to is guilting ourselves into being an overtime workhorse and/or a near-perfect parent. Of all the interviews I have seen and articles I have read about Elon Musk, the one thing that stands out is that he is completely aware of the demands his personal and professional lives put on him, and that he is doing his best to keep up. After all, there is not much else he can do! For instance, he doesn’t feel any unnecessary shame about multi-tasking between emails and play-time with his sons, something that often makes working parents very uneasy.

Maybe that’s it then? It is perhaps actually possible to “do it all” and “have it all” if that is what you want. All you need is skillful prioritization and mindfulness.

Nobody knows the demands on your time and the aspirations you have – both personal and professional – better than you. Trying to live by the standards others put on you, or aiming for perfection when “just fine” would do, make it harder to multi-task and prioritize. Don’t let it. Do what works for you!

Read Also: Elon Musk on life, success and everything in between

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