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  • It is no secret that Elon Musk has

  • an insane work schedule working more than

  • double the hours of the average full-time worker.

  • - And you know now I'm kinda in the 80 to 90,

  • which is more manageable

  • but you know that if you divide that by two it's only like

  • you know maybe 45 hours per company which is not much

  • if your world has a lot of things going on.

  • - [Interviewer] You're like a slacker.

  • - (laughs) Yeah.

  • - And that time is split between many different projects,

  • most of it goes to his main companies Tesla, and Space X.

  • But he also spends time on things like The Boring Company,

  • and open AI and of course making flamethrowers.

  • Add to that the fact that

  • according to Ashlee Vance's biography on him,

  • he spends four days a week with his five children.

  • And you've got what his possibly one of the busiest

  • and most hectic daily schedules of anybody on this planet.

  • Now in contrast to the video that I did about Ben Franklin

  • just a few months ago with Elon Musk we don't have a source

  • that gives us a super granular look at his daily schedule

  • other than a few tidbits that he's revealed in interviews

  • such as the fact that he spends about 80% of his time on

  • design and engineering despite what most people might think.

  • - I think most people think I must spend

  • a lot of time with media or on business-y things

  • but almost all of my time- like 80% of it

  • is spent on engineering and design.

  • - But what we do know about is the method that

  • he uses to keep his schedule organized

  • and to plan out his day.

  • Musk actually plans out his day in five minute increments,

  • and has everything pre-planned in advance.

  • This is a technique called time boxing,

  • and it's actually used by lots of other people

  • including Bill Gates and Cal Newport.

  • Though Cal calls it time blocking.

  • Essentially time boxing or time blocking

  • if you want to call it that or heck: time bloxing,

  • I'm not gonna stop ya,

  • is the practice of setting fixed amount of time

  • for each task that you have to do

  • and integrating those blocks of time

  • into your daily schedule.

  • I use this technique a lot with my own work

  • and because people like Musk, Bill Gates, and Cal Newport,

  • and many others find it so useful,

  • today I wanted to break down exactly

  • how you can use time boxing

  • most effectively in your own work.

  • So let's start with the obvious question,

  • why use this technique?

  • Why time box your schedule?

  • And I know there's going to be critics of this technique

  • right off the bat who are going to say

  • scheduling your entire day in advance

  • basically makes you a robot, dude,

  • why would you wanna do that?

  • And I gotta say, number one, you humans- I mean we humans

  • really give robots a bad rap sometimes but number two this

  • is kinda looking at it from the wrong perspective.

  • Yes, scheduling your day in advance does mean that you're

  • gonna be adhering to a predetermined plan

  • and that you're gonna have less unstructured free time

  • but as you might know,

  • unstructured free time can sometimes be bad thing.

  • As Parkinson's Law states,

  • work tends to expand to fill the time allotted for it.

  • So essentially time boxing creates a useful limitation

  • that can actually make you more productive.

  • First and foremost it takes a lot of the choice

  • out of the moment of what you're gonna work on because

  • you are adhering to a plan so you spend less time figuring

  • out what you're gonna do in the first place

  • and number two because you have a limited amount of time

  • you aren't going to waste it.

  • You're gonna be focusing a lot more intently.

  • And in the case of people like Musk and Bill Gates,

  • they probably need to use this technique.

  • They've got so many commitments,

  • so many balls in the air,

  • that without pre-planning their schedule,

  • and keeping it really really organized,

  • things are bound to slip through the cracks.

  • Okay so if I've got you convinced lets talk about

  • how to use time boxing and the simplest way to do it

  • is the way that I like to do it when I write out

  • my daily plan either on my white board

  • or on a piece of notebook paper

  • and I just estimate the amount of time

  • each task is going to take so I don't actually put it

  • on a calendar and give it start and stop times of the day.

  • I just say this is going to take me twenty minutes

  • and then I'm going to move on to the next thing.

  • If you're somebody like me who doesn't have

  • a whole lot of scheduled fixed commitments that start

  • and stop at specific times then that can work

  • really really well and it might also work if

  • you're in school or you're an employee

  • and you have like specific block of time when

  • you already know you're gonna be doing things

  • and then you have like another block of time

  • that's kinda freed up.

  • And if this method does work well for you,

  • you don't have to do it on paper because

  • there is an app called 30/30 on the iPhone

  • that I have used several times before.

  • Now I gotta say that I really don't like

  • the design of this app.

  • the font they chose in this app is kinda terrible,

  • but it is one of the few apps that lets you set

  • a specific time you're going to work on a task

  • and then kinda like build a little itinerary

  • of timed tasks that you can then go through

  • and I used to use this a lot in college

  • when I had a lot of homework assignments to get through.

  • Now if you are on Android I don't believe 30/30

  • is on the Android platform

  • but there is an app out there called Do Now.

  • It seems to have a similar function.

  • Now if you are the kinda person that has a schedule

  • with lots of predetermined commitments already

  • and have gaps in between them or you just wanna have

  • more structure in your life then you actually

  • might find it useful to use a calendar for your timeboxing.

  • To set specific start and stop times for your tasks.

  • This is the way that Cal Newport says he does it

  • in his blog post on the subject.

  • And you're a student that has a lot of little gaps

  • of time in between classes,

  • I think this is the way to go for you.

  • Either way if you're going to use this technique

  • successfully then the number one thing you're gonna need

  • to learn how to do is properly estimate how long tasks

  • are going to take you to complete

  • and the bad news is that you and me both are human beings.

  • We both like ingesting organic matter,

  • we both like using our respiratory systems

  • to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide

  • and we are both naturally bad at estimating

  • how long things are going to take.

  • Did I mention I'm not a robot?

  • We're all susceptible to what's called the planning falacy

  • which describes how human beings tend to

  • make over optimistic predictions for how long things

  • are going to take.

  • Now there's actually some research done at

  • the University of Waterloo in Canada on this phenomenon.

  • Students were asked to make two different

  • types of time predictions.

  • One was a best case scenario prediction where

  • literally everything went right

  • and the other one was for the average case scenario,

  • your average every day run of the mill experience

  • and the researchers found that predictions for both types

  • of scenarios were virtually identical

  • which showed them that human beings tend to picture

  • the best case scenario where literally nothing goes wrong

  • when they're trying to predict what's gonna happen

  • in an average everyday case.

  • So even though you know in the back of your head that

  • when you try to get to work on an average day

  • there's traffic or somebody's driving in front of you

  • really slow on their phone,

  • there's a grandma in front of you.

  • When you predict how long it's going to take to work,

  • you picture the scenario where there's barely any traffic

  • at all and everything is just perfect.