Elon Musk is – right now – the richest guy on the planet. But what is Elon Musk’s morning routine like and, more specifically, can we learn anything from it? Let’s find out…
If you run a business or are just interested in being more efficient, using your time better, you can learn a lot by studying the habits of some of the most successful people on earth – guys like Tim Cook and Elon Musk. And like everybody else on planet earth, each productive day at work starts with a solid morning routine.
We know all about Tim Cook’s morning routine, how he likes to start the day, what time gets to work, and, more importantly, what he likes to do before he gets there. But what about Elon Musk? How does Elon start his day? One could argue Musk has an even busier schedule than Tim Cook, having to oversee and run several companies, including Tesla, Space X, and The Boring Company.
Elon Musk’s Morning Routine
Elon Musk is a busy dude but he also knows and appreciates the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Elon Musk usually sleeps in around 1 am most days, he then gets up around 7 am, securing himself a solid 6 to 6.5 hours of sleep a night. Musk has said that this exact amount of time is his “sweet spot”, allowing him to function optimally without wasting too much time in the land of nod.
Sleep is really great. I find if I don’t get enough sleep I’m quite grumpy. I could drop below a certain threshold of sleep, although I would be awake more hours I would get less done because my mental acuity would be affected.Elon Musk
Musk is ALL about efficiency. His approach and dedication to efficiency is legendary. He even once sent around an email to Tesla staff about how to make better use of their time. This email was then leaked online, giving outsiders a glimpse into how Elon runs Tesla. As most expected, time is respected and efficiency is king.
Here’s an extract from the email that Elon sent to Tesla employees, where he outlines his suggestions for making meetings more efficient:
Elon’s Guide To Conducting Successful Meetings
- Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get rid of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.
- Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.
- Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.
Elon Musk’s Breakfast of Choice
Elon is a fairly modern, forward-thinking chap, so it should come as no surprise that he often skips breakfast in order to save time and be more productive. If your day starts early, and you have a lot to do, you can very quickly improve things by fasting until lunchtime.
When Musk does have breakfast, he’ll usually keep it simple with two stables being coffee and eggs, usually in the form of an omelet. This choice of meal is important too – eggs fill you up and provide lots of protein, and coffee gets you pepped for the day ahead.
Does Elon Musk do intermittent fasting? Skipping breakfast is the most popular way to adopt this style of eating. Whether Musk does IF intentionally or simply as a result of not having enough time to eat in the morning is anybody’s guess. I’d assume he knows all about the benefits of intermittent fasting, particularly the neuroprotective ones, so it is entirely possible he does this for other reasons beyond saving time.
One thing Musk NEVER skips, however, is a shower. Speaking on JRE, Musk said that he has some of his best ideas in the shower. For this reason, he never misses one. He also discussed his approach to exercise on JRE too, claiming if he could get away without doing any exercise he would. When pressed by Rogan, Musk confirmed that he lifts weights and runs on a treadmill.
Is Elon Musk A Workaholic?
In order to run companies of the size and scope of Tesla and Space X, you need to be a certain type of person. Usually, that type of person is described as a workaholic. Elon Musk is no exception to this phrase either – he works A LOT and he doesn’t stop, sometimes for days at a time. And this kind of work ethic does take its toll on you physically, mentally, and also on your relationships (Musk recently split with Grimes, for instance).
Back in 2018, Musk was in peak workaholic mode, clocking in over 120 hours a week at Tesla and Space X. To put that figure into context, the average working week for the average American is 37.5 hours.
Elon Musk Once Did 120 Hour Working Weeks…
Here’s an extract from an interview in 2018 where Musk discusses his working habits and long hours:
There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn’t go outside. This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends. I would just sort of sleep for a few hours, work, sleep for a few hours, work, seven days a week. Some of those days must have been 120 hours, or something nutty.Elon Musk
This was in 2018, however, and since then Musk has dialed back his working hours to a more “sustainable” 80 to 90 hours per week – still almost more than triple the average working week for most Americans. And this schedule, even though it is less than what he was doing in 2018, does come with some pretty major downsides. Musk basically doesn’t get to spend much time with his infant child, probably even less now that he and Grimes are separated.
Right now there’s not much I can do. Grimes has a much bigger role than me right now. When the kid gets older, there will be more of a role for me. I think just doing what I’ve done with my other kids. If I have a trip for Tesla to China, for example, I’ll bring the kids with me and we’ll go see the Great Wall or we took the bullet train from Beijing to Xian and saw the Terracotta Warriors.Elon Musk
Given all of the above, the sacrifices, the time, the sheer grind, it is easy to see why Musk is so successful, and how he got to where he is today. But, on the flip side, it is also patently obvious to see that this kind of life is not suitable for, well… 99.9% of people.
Even before you take into account Musk’s intelligence and skillset, the sheer amount of time, risk, and focus required to do what he does on a day-to-day basis is just staggering. Running multiple billion-dollar companies is NOT easy. But I had no idea it was THIS hard either.
Could you do a 120-hour workweek? I know I couldn’t, not for any amount of money.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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