Monday was just another day at Elon Musk’s office. well almost.
Sure enough, he closed the deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion in cash. But before that, the world’s richest man met with Indonesia’s minister for investment in the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin to discuss the battery supply chain.
And later that evening, at 10 a.m., Musk met with engineers—where he spent more than an hour working on rocket engine “valve leak solutions” at SpaceX Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, according to Walter Isaacson, famously The author is currently working on a biography of Musk.
“Nobody mentioned Twitter,” Isaacson said, what else, Twitter, “He can multitask.”
I share Isaacson’s sentiment: It’s fascinating that Musk can not only work on multiple projects, but lead multiple companies in a single day. But what Musk is doing isn’t really multitasking; It’s something completely different—and understanding that difference is the key to unlocking your own productivity.
Musk is doing a simple exercise that he has followed for many years. I like to call it the law of focus.
Let’s take a look at how the Law of Focus works, and how you can apply it to your work.
(If you find value in the “rules of focus,” you might be interested in my complete emotional intelligence course—including 20 more rules to help you manage your emotions and become more productive. Complete here See course.)
No multitasking, no task-switching. pure meditation
True multitasking, doing two tasks at once, is challenging enough. When it comes to relatively simple tasks it can be done with a lot of practice. (For example, consider a professional basketball player who practices dribbling a ball with one hand as well as throwing and catching a tennis ball with the other.)
In contrast, what we think of as multitasking is actually “task-switching,” which is rapidly switching from one task to another and back again. But task-switching comes with a hefty price tag.
“It is believed that the ability to change tasks requires extensive high-level cognitive processing,” explains the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. “The behavioral consequence of this processing is a stronger switch cost — slower and more error-prone performance when switching tasks than when repeating tasks.”
In other words, more task-switching equals more mistakes—and making lower-quality decisions.
But when Musk works for his various companies, he isn’t really multitasking nor is he task-switching. Rather, he is focusing on one thing at a time.
In the past, Musk has said that he generally tried to split his week between companies, for example working a day for SpaceX and working for Tesla. But Musk has also indicated that he changes his schedule based on current needs and projects, and it’s no surprise that as time goes on—and Musk has now grown into another multibillion-dollar company. Bought that he would work on multiple companies in a single day. ,
Nonetheless, let’s go back to Isaacson’s four key words, referring to a late night meeting working on the rocket engine:
“Nobody mentioned Twitter.”
This shows that, while Musk can work on different problems and more per day for more than one of his companies, he tends to focus on one thing at a time. This is important, as it allows Musk to focus much of his intelligence on a single subject, rather than multitasking or task-switching.
For example, imagine that Musk was calling about Twitter during his meeting with SpaceX engineers. Not only will this decrease the quality and concentration of his own work, but it will also drive everyone else in the room crazy. Conversely, by setting aside meetings, project work and major tasks, Musk makes the most of his time and brain power, which helps his ability to think critically and solve problems.
This is just one reason why Musk is able to do what he is capable of, namely, make valuable contributions to the many companies dealing with a complex subject.
For example, consider what Garrett Reisman had to say. A former astronaut and engineer who worked with Musk for years at SpaceX, Reisman was amazed at Musk’s ability to solve complex problems.
“I mean, I’ve met a lot of super, super smart people,” Reisman said in an interview. “But they’re usually super, super smart at one thing. And [Musk is] Capable of conversing with our top engineers about software and its most mysterious aspects. And then he’ll turn to our fabrication engineers and discuss some really esoteric welding process for Crazy Alloy. ,
Reisman continued, “He’ll just go back and forth, and his ability to do it in all the different technologies that go into rockets and cars—and everything he does—that’s what really impresses me.”
So, what can you learn from all this?
To be clear, as much as I respect Musk’s work ethic, I don’t recommend working that many hours, or even holding meetings late into the night. But we can take an important lesson from how Musk carries out his work.
You’re trying to balance multiple responsibilities, including running a business, balancing clients, and even setting aside time for work, family, and yourself.
The key is to set these aside and follow the “rule of focus”: focus on one thing at a time.
so, whether you
- send by email
- Resolving Problems
- thinking cap
- spend time with my family
- take time for yourself
Turn off all outside distractions. to be present. Focus all your attention and intelligence on the people or task at hand.
By doing this you will not only get more space and get more work done, but will also increase the quality of the work you do.
And that productivity is at its best.
This article is originally from . was published on Inc., and is reprinted here with permission.
Justin Barriso is a writer, speaker and consultant helping organizations and individuals develop their emotional intelligence.