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How Does Elon Musk Get So Much Done?

Elon Musk

View from inside the now retired Shuttle Launch Command Center

Remember the scene in the movie Old School when Will Ferrell is at a college party and tells the students he can’t have a drink because he has a busy Saturday planned for the next day. He and his wife have a fun day planned with trips to both Home Depot and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. “I just don’t know if we’ll have time,” he memorably says.

I often feel that way myself. I’m just too busy to stop and enjoy myself. But when I look at what is keeping me busy, it sounds ridiculous.

And then I read another story about Elon Musk and I can’t stop thinking what else I could be doing with my days.

For those living under a rock, Elon Musk is the real-life version of Iron Man’s Tony Stark. Besides having a double digit billion dollar net worth, Musk has had a role in multiple world-changing technologies ranging from PayPal to Tesla to Solar City to SpaceX.

These companies have changed how we pay for things, how we drive, how we power things, and how we will someday become a multi-planetary species.

During a family vacation to Florida last year, we took the opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. It’s a truly remarkable place from both a historical perspective and when looking forward at what the future holds.

But without seeing it in person, you cannot fully appreciate the experience. Take for instance the massiveness of an Apollo rocket and the machines used to transport these vessels around the launch site. And to think the engineers who accomplished these amazing feats did so with technology less advanced than your microwave.

As rapidly as technology has progressed over the past 40 years (we have come a long way since Pong), space travel still seems like science fiction.

And then you listen to Musk speak. SpaceX has signed a 20-year exclusive agreement leasing one of the Cape launch pad sites. While NASA has shifted its focus to deep space exploration, the practical side of space travel is being tackled by private billionaire-backed companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galatic (Richard Branson’s extraterrestrial brain child).

There are many stories, interviews, and videos of Musk available, but I recommend reading Tim Urban’s current post as well as his four part series from last year.

Also, watch the video below to hear first-hand from Musk on his SpaceX vision:


I am fascinated by what we have in our future. It’s individuals like Elon Musk who seem to have an unlimited capacity to not only dream up wild ideas but also have access to the resources and talent to pull them off.


Readers, who are some other extraordinary individuals like Elon Musk that are leading us not just to great things, but to such massive innovations that will forever change how we view the world around us?



Permanent link to this article: http://financialslacker.com/how-does-elon-musk-get-so-much-done/


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  1. Matt @ Distilled Dollar

    I’m also a big fan of Elon Musk since I purchased Tesla shares back in 2013. Too bad SpaceX is a privately held company!

    When I think of the word success, Elon Musk comes to mind for the modern era. I’m not sure I have anyone else in that boat, and I know Elon has plenty of flaws, but overall, I find him truly inspiring. And he’s only 45!

    The one thing I have noticed with people like Musk is they have a strong ability to say No, and at the same time, they have a laser like focus on specific tasks at hand. Sure, they give grand presentations on long term strategic thinking, but it only serves as a method to align the organization. Once the alignment happens, then it is time to dive into the nuts and bolts. In Elon’s case, his desk is in the middle of the factory floor. He’s put himself in a position where outside distractions are put to a minimum.

    Much of the productivity we can make up in our lives doesn’t come from adding tasks to our plate, but comes from removing waste. Similar to our budgets, we end up with much more if we can remove the heavy baggage.

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    1. Financial Slacker

      That’s a great observation, Matt.

      It’s taken me a long time to stop thinking in terms of working more is better. Instead, working smarter is better.

      Elon Musk has a vision of the future and puts all his effort into making that vision a reality. He doesn’t allow himself to get distracted.

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  2. Xyz from Financial Path.

    Very inspiring man but few could ever live up to him.

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    1. Financial Slacker

      Agree. He has set the bar at a pretty high level.

      I think the key is to focus on your own accomplishments.

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  3. Finance Solver

    I think another person who rivals Elon Musk is Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square. I think Elon still beats Dorsey in terms of productivity but man being CEO of both companies can’t be easy, I can barely be CEO of myself. This is why I try not to complain when I have a lot on my plate because there’s other people who’s able to finish what’s on my plate and take on 5 more plates.

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    1. Financial Slacker

      Dorsey is another great example.

      On the surface, it seems these folks have the magic touch. Everything they touch turns to gold. In reality, while being in the right place at the right time is a big part, so is an ability to see something and a willingness to act on that vision.

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  4. Dividends Down Under

    He is an amazing person, though I wonder also if he has a team around him to help create these amazing companies and ideas. He is doing amazing things and seems like a good person helping the world. There are other ones out there who seem intent on just profit, or screwing humanity.


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    1. Financial Slacker

      I agree that he has a good team around him. That’s another great skill set – learning to hire, delegate, and manage. It’s the only way to leverage your time.

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