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This Is What Elon Musk Did the Day He Bought Twitter. It’s an Amazing Lesson in Productivity



Monday was simply one other day on the workplace for Elon Musk. Well, nearly.

Sure, there was the deal he closed to buy Twitter for $44 billion money. But earlier than that, the world’s richest man met with Indonesia’s minister for funding on the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, TX, to debate battery provide chain.

And later that night, at 10 pm, Musk met with engineers–where he spent greater than an hour engaged on rocket engine “valve leak solutions” on the SpaceX Starbase in Boca Chica, in line with Walter Isaacson, the famed creator at present engaged on Musk’s biography.

“No one mentioned Twitter,” Isaacson stated on, what else, Twitter. “He can multitask.”

I share Isaacson’s sentiment: It’s fascinating Musk can work not solely on a number of tasks, however spearheading a number of firms, all in the identical day. But what Musk is doing is not actually multitasking; it is one thing utterly different–and understanding that distinction is a key to unlocking your personal productiveness.

Musk is partaking a easy apply that he is adopted for a number of years. I wish to name it: the rule of focus.

Let’s break down precisely how the rule of focus works, and how one can apply it to your personal work.

(If you discover worth within the “rule of focus,” you may be fascinated by my full emotional intelligence course — which incorporates 20 extra guidelines that assist you handle your feelings and be extra productive. Check out the total course right here.)

Not multitasking, not task-switching. Pure focus.

True multitasking, concurrently performing two duties on the similar time, is fairly difficult. It could be accomplished with tons of apply relating to comparatively easy duties. (For instance, think about an expert basketball participant who practices a drill of dribbling a ball with one hand and concurrently throwing and catching a tennis ball with one other hand.)

In distinction, most of what we consider multitasking is definitely “task-switching,” quickly switching from one activity to a different, and again once more. But activity switching comes with a heavy value.

“The ability to switch tasks is thought to require extensive high-level cognitive processing,” states the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. “The behavioral outcome of this processing is a robust switch cost–slower and more error-prone performance when switching tasks than when repeating tasks.”

In different phrases, extra activity switching equals extra mistakes–and decrease high quality choice making.

But when Musk works for his numerous firms, he is probably not multitasking, neither is he activity switching. Rather, he is focusing on one factor at a time.

In the previous, Musk has said that he typically tried to separate his week between firms by day, working for SpaceX someday and Tesla one other, for instance. But Musk has additionally indicated that he alters his schedule relying on present wants and tasks…and it is no shock that as time has gone on–and Musk has now bought one other multi-billion-dollar company–that he would work on a number of firms in a single day.

Nonetheless, let’s return to 4 key phrases from Isaacson, referencing that late evening assembly engaged on rocket engines:

“No one mentioned Twitter.”

This exhibits that, whereas Musk may fit on numerous issues and for multiple of his firms per day, he concentrates on one factor at a time. That’s essential as a result of it permits Musk to focus his appreciable mind on a single subject, as an alternative of multitasking or task-switching.

Imagine, for instance, that in his assembly with SpaceX engineers, Musk was taking calls about Twitter. Not solely would that scale back the standard of his personal work and focus, it could drive everybody else within the room loopy, too. In distinction, by retaining conferences, venture work, and main duties separate, Musk makes probably the most of his time and brainpower, aiding his capacity to suppose critically and clear up issues.

This is only one motive why Musk is ready to do what he does, particularly, make invaluable contributions to a number of firms coping with complicated subject material.

For instance, think about what Garrett Reisman needed to say. A former astronaut and engineer who labored for years with Musk at SpaceX, Reisman was astonished at Musk’s capacity to assist clear up difficult issues.

“I mean, I’ve met a lot of super, super smart people,” stated Reisman in an interview. “But they’re usually super, super smart on one thing. And [Musk is] able to have conversations with our top engineers about the software and the most arcane aspects of that. And then he’ll turn to our manufacturing engineers and have discussions about some really esoteric welding process for some crazy alloy.”

“He’ll just go back and forth, and his ability to do that across all the different technologies that go into rockets and cars and everything else he does–that’s what really impresses me,” Reisman concluded.

So, what are you able to study from all of it?

To be clear, as a lot as I respect Musk’s work ethic, I do not suggest working as many hours as he does, and even holding late evening conferences. But we are able to take a invaluable lesson from how Musk carries out his work.

You’re probably making an attempt to steadiness a number of duties, together with operating a enterprise, balancing purchasers, and even separating time for work, household, and self.

The secret is to maintain every of those separated, and comply with the “rule of focus”: focus on one factor at a time.

  • Emailing
  • Brainstorming
  • Meeting
  • Creating
  • Solving issues
  • Thinking critically
  • Spending time with your loved ones
  • Taking time for your self

Shut out all outdoors distractions. Be current. Focus your entire consideration and mind on the individuals and/or activity at hand.

Doing so will will let you, not solely be extra locations and get extra accomplished, however to extend the standard of what you get accomplished.

And that is productiveness at its finest.

The opinions expressed right here by Inc.com columnists are their very own, not these of Inc.com.





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