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Productivity

What Elon Musk can teach us about getting more done

It seems Elon Musk can run multiple successful businesses while only working part time. Does these mean we should be able to run our businesses without working long hours? Matthew White looks at how he does it.

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Apparently Elon Musk gets more done each day than any other CEO. That’s what I read on the internet anyway so it has to be true 🙂

It would appear that he can run multiple businesses working part time. So if we follow in his footsteps does that mean we can run our own businesses without working long hours?

So how does Elon Musk get more done?

Here are some techniques that have emerged either from his speeches and articles:

1. He doesn’t bother with business plans

Apparently he’s not a big fan of the business plan. Instead, he works at the visionary level and leaves the operational details to others. By contrast, without a big team, most business owners or CEOs tend to get deeply involved in the business planning process.

Do you need to bother yourself with a business plan?

I think we all know the answer to this one. And it’s alright for him; he has people to write his plans for him. We’d be veering off in all sorts of directions if we didn’t have a plan. However we can be more like Elon by having a big picture focus or vision for our business as an overriding goal.

2. He ends pointless conversations

Apparently when he perceives that people are wasting his time, he cuts them off, even if it seems rude. To his way of thinking, what’s truly rude is forcing him to listen to conversations that are neither interesting nor useful.

Are you confident enough to end pointless conversations?

Sometimes when you work for yourself having a conversation with someone, even anyone, can be a highlight of the day! But I do see his point. By refusing to listen to nonsense you can free up more hours each day to carry out more useful things.

3. He walks out on useless meetings.

Apparently if a meeting rambles on too long or is on a subject that’s not immediately relevant, he gets up and leaves. More importantly, he also gives his staff and employees permission to do the same.

Could you do this?

I tried this in my office this week. I got up and just left a meeting. I didn’t quite get the reaction I was hoping for because I had to come straight back in again and continue the meeting as our meeting area is in same area as our office!

Again, I do see his point though. When I was in the corporate world I had to sit through hours and hours of irrelevant meetings. How I longed to be able to just get up and leave and get on with something more productive.

How many employees when in a meeting with their CEO would just leave, quoting irrelevancy? I’m not sure it would be many, especially if the CEO is in full flow.

4. If he wants to get in touch with someone, he does so directly

He says and I quote: “Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the ‘chain of command’. Apparently any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere.

What do you think?

I agree with this in principle. We’ve all been there, waiting for information and decisions to go up and down the chain of command. But isn’t there a reason why companies have structure? If you remove this structure and process you could have anarchy on your hands with decisions being made left right and centre. Or am I reading this wrong?

5. He does not use acronyms

He believes that if anything requires an explanation it inhibits communication.

Do you have a jargon free business?

I could not agree more. I think this works in terms of how you speak internally but also how you communicate externally. We’re currently reviewing how we speak to our customers and potential customers and have identified a number of ways in which we could be simpler in how we communicate.

There is no doubt Elon Musk is a very successful person. Like so many successful and visionary people he has created his own way of doing things. I believe that this is the key take-away from this article. Be true to yourself. I think I will be working long hours for many years to come. But I ensure how my own personality, personal values and business ideals reflect how I conduct business.

What do you think? Could you work like Elon, even just a bit?

Matthew White

is director of Ergoflex Australia, an online retailer of premium quality memory foam mattresses. As well as helping Australians get a better night's sleep, Matthew is a marketer, sleep blogger, father of four and home renovator.

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