Elon Musk’s rules of ‘insane productivity’

Like many others, Ariana Baio lists Elon Musk’s six rules of ‘insane productivity’ in indy100.com which Musk sent to all his Twitter employees – they make good sense, as far as they go, albeit they’re sure not silver bullets for becoming super super rich – but then he applies his old-school Theory X man-management views, making us reflect on who is the multi-billionaire and who is not!


Here are his six rules:

1. Reduce the frequency of meetings

According to Musk, “excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time.”

To make meetings more effective, he suggests fewer of them unless there’s an urgent matter to address.

2. Leave meetings that aren’t valuable

Similar to rule one, if an employee finds they cannot contribute successfully to a meeting then they should be allowed to leave with no repercussions.

“It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time,” Musk says.

The best way to communicate effectively is to be direct about what you’re saying, this means “don’t use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software, or processes.”

4. Don’t use “chain of command” to communicate

“Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done,” Musk toells employees.

He finds it unnecessary for lower-level employees to communicate issues through the chain of command, rather than approaching a person directly.

“Any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere”

5. Use common sense

While it may seem obvious, some people need a reminder to use common sense in most situations.

Musk uses the example of following a “company rule” that would be “obviously ridiculous in a particular situation.”

6. Avoid big meetings

“Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get [out] of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.”


But then Musk recently required his mostly brainworkers to work long or longer hours, and stop all WFH – this is never going to get the best out of them, especially the best of them – see the following Reuter’s report

Elon Musk has reportedly told his new Twitter workforce to work “long hours at high intensity”, according to a message seen by the Washington Post
Staff were given the option of committing to a pledge or facing redundancy, with Musk saying the company would need to be “extremely hardcore” in building “Twitter 2.0”.
“This will mean long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

It comes after almost half of the social media giant’s staff were laid off as part of a major overhaul following the billionaire’s takeover of the company.

He reportedly told staff in an email that remote working would no longer be allowed, and he expected workers to be in the office for “at least” 40 hours per week.

Are his expectations realistic?

Digital wellbeing and peak performance researcher Dr Kristy Goodwin says humans are not biologically designed to work long hours at high intensity

She told SBS News that Musk’s expectations would not be realistic for most employees – “From a neuro-biological perspective, the prefrontal cortex – the part of our brain that does the heavy lifting – really only has a maximum of four to six hours of battery life per day,” she said.

“Biologically, we just aren’t primed to do cognitively taxing work for hour upon hour so, from a biological perspective this is not working within our neuro-biological constraints; it’s a physiological incapability.”

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