The belief that Elon Musk uses time blocking method to manage his hectic schedules might not be a myth. But, it is not completely true, either.
Here’s the story of how I found out about this.
I’ve been experimenting with the time blocking method for a few weeks now and got some success in practicing it as a person who likes structure for both work and life. So, it inspired me to learn more about the method, hoping improve time management. What kept coming up again and again when I googled the term “time blocking method” were articles about the method being used productivity experts and tech moguls. The articlesOshin, M. (2020b, November 10). Elon Musk’s “Time Blocking” Method: How to Manage Time Effectively Even If Your Schedule Is Hectic. The Smarter Brain.By The Enterprise World. (2021, January 9). Elon Musk’s '5 Minute Rule’ – The key to utilize your day fully! The Enterprise World.Oshin, M. (2020b, July 1). How to manage time effectively even if your schedule is hectic. Ladders | Business News & Career Advice.Field, H. (2018, April 19). I Ran My Day Like Elon Musk Runs His -- and This Is What Happened. Entrepreneur. and YouTube videos Timeboxing: Elon Musk’s Time Management Method.(2018, April 21). Video. YouTube.Chelliah, V. (2020, August 29). Timeboxing | An Elon Musk Time Management Technique Video. YouTube. claiming that Elon Musk also uses the method got me my attention.
But, what got my interest most were those claims that the tech CEO even scheduled his day in five-minute blocks! I got so curious about how he did it and decided to go down the habit hole. None of the articles or videos had proof!
A few hours in without a trace of evidence to prove the claim, I jumped onto Elon Musk’s Twitter and searched his tweets hoping to get a trace so I can learn more about it. What I found instead was the opposite.
Here is what I found:
1. Elon Musk refuted the five-minute rule of time blocks
The tech mogul wrote in his tweet in on May 22, 2018:
I definitely don’t do this 5 minute thing. Need to have long uninterrupted times to think. Can’t be creative otherwise.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 22, 2018
So, what does this mean? Obviously, he does not schedule his day in five-minute blocks. But, does that mean he does not use the time blocking method?
This brings you to my second finding about Elon Musk and his association with the time blocking method.
2. But, the tech CEO might utilize the time blocking method.
Elon Musk did mentioned in his tweet, “Need to have long uninterrupted times to think. Can’t be creative otherwise.”
And this fits the definition of time blocking by The ONE Thing. Keller, Gary. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results: Achieve your goals with one of the world's bestselling success books (Basic Skills) . John Murray Press. … Continue reading The number 1 Bestseller advises blocking four hours a day to work on the priority. Keller, Gary. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results: Achieve your goals with one of the world's bestselling success books (Basic Skills) . John Murray Press. … Continue reading Another hint was how Elon Musk spelled “times.” This could imply both the duration and blocks of time.
So although I could not find any evidence that this world’s richest man schedules his day in blocks with a specific start and finish time, the way he wrote that tweet does suggest he use the time blocking method.
Elon Musk might use the time blocking method, but he does not schedule his day in five-minute blocks. To be creative, he needs long uninterrupted times to think.
But, what does it mean for you? Should you use time blocking method?
My short answer is a yes especially if you procrastinate too much, or want to get focused better. Time blocking is an essential method if you want to make time for what needs to get done. But, bear in mind that according to The ONE Thing, you need to block four hours a day for the method to work.
Here's the extract from the book:
If you notice it, another important point is underlined, "...block time as early in your day as you possibly can."
Most importantly, the book also advises blocking these two: a) your time off, and b) 30 minutes of planning time.
Further recommended reading about time management: Kanban: Toyota's System for Personal Productivity