10 tips to work like Elon Musk

Elon Musk is a man to be admired. According to CNBC, "the storied entrepreneur is less of a CEO than he is a rockstar." It's reported that, "Musk isn't a traditional celebrity by entertainment or business standards: The vast majority of the world doesn't own any of his companies' products nor has it used any of their services, yet he has 13 million Twitter followers. That trounces Apple CEO Tim Cook's seven million." 


Above: In South Australia, Elon Musk checks in on the world’s biggest battery installation (Instagram: elonmusk)

One could argue that, "Tesla's founder is admired by so many, most likely, because he's a visionary. No challenge seems to be too big for the entrepreneur and tech mogul." Pointing to the biggest battery installation in the world, Tesla's CEO recently reminded us, "Talk is cheap. Action is difficult. We wanted to show that it's not just talk, it's reality." Whether it's batteries, solar, cars, rockets, or even online payments, Musk continues to be recognized as an industry trailblazer.


Above: Just a few of Elon Musk's companies that have changed their respective industries (Source: Bloomberg)

So what tips can we learn from Musk? Axios took a stab at compiling a top 10 list with some helpful nuggets of advice. "As an entrepreneur with a demanding schedule, Musk runs his day on high-efficiency habits... [so] when we think we're getting too busy, we can take a page out of Musk's playbook." That said, here are some gems for those looking to become the next rockstar CEO...

10 tips to work like Elon Musk

  1. Don't skimp on sleep. Asleep by 1 a.m., Musk sleeps a healthy 6-6.5 hours a night, otherwise he feels "grumpy."
  2. Get inspired in the shower. On two separate occasions, Musk cites the shower as the time and place where he gets creative inspiration and positivity.
  3. Hyper-efficient meetings. A former Tesla employee reported a conversation with another teammate who recalls a meeting with Musk. In the middle of the meeting, Elon said to a quiet meeting member: You haven't said anything. Why are you in here? While perhaps a bit harsh, it shows meetings should serve a clear and distinct purpose.
  4. Hiring test. Musk asks candidates the question: "Did they face very difficult problems and overcome them?" If they're telling the truth, they will understand the problem intricately and be able to answer any detailed question.
  5. Don't work over 100 hours a week. He tried that. 85 is good.
  6. Diet for productivity. Drink two coffees a day and diet Coke. Skip breakfast half the time. Cut down on sweets. Scarf lunch in five minutes during meetings.
  7. Exercise 1-2 times a week. Usually treadmill and lifting weights.
  8. Schedule everything, even if it's in 5-minute time slots.
  9. Manage your emotions ruthlessly. "I feel fear quite strongly. But if what I am doing is important enough, then I just override the fear," Musk said in an interview.
  10. Email. Check messages while your kids are running around; "I'm able to be with them and still be on email. I can be with them and still be working at the same time."

Above: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (Flickr: Heisenberg Media)

Although these tips can help, it's mission-critical to understand Musk's mindset. First: find a way. Musk explains, "The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” Next: be an optimist. After taking heat for another missed Tesla deadline, Musk responded, "I'm doing my best to recalibrate, but that is a fair criticism. However, if I wasn't inherently optimistic, I wouldn't be doing electric cars and rockets in the first place!"