Elon Musk Shared the Most Refreshing, No-BS Productivity Tips with Tesla Employees

Elon Musk is under a lot of stress, pulling overnighters at work and sleeping on the office couch.

Between dealing with a production crisis at Tesla and managing projects such as, you know, sending humans to space or eliminating illiteracy, the entrepreneur has to be ruthless about productivity.

elon-musk-ruthless-productivity
Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

And in the spirit of maximizing time and improving efficiencies — a necessary step to get the severely delayed production of Tesla Model 3 cars back on track — Musk sent all Tesla employees a memo. In the e-mail, the CEO outlined his own productivity hacks.

While some of them were predictable (we’ve heard the whole “avoid useless meetings” thing before), Musk also shared some unexpected and forward-thinking advice.

Take a cue from one of the busiest men in the world with these three no-BS productivity tips.

1. Leave meetings and hang up the phone when needed

Anyone who has ever sat through a painfully long meeting wondering why they were even asked to attend that meeting in the first place will love this refreshing piece of advice:

“Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time,” wrote Musk.

While Musk probably has more leeway than the average person when it comes to nixing courtesy in favor of efficiency, this tip is absolutely worth testing.

2. Communicate more, and communicate directly 

Musk does not believe in the idea of messages traveling through the “chain of command.”

“A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is allow free flow of information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work, then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen.”

Super dumb things do mostly happen because of miscommunications, so this seems sensible. Musk also shared that he doesn’t believe in using jargon to describe products and processes. “In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication.”

3. Break stupid rules if necessary

As an innovator, Musk is not afraid to break the rules — even his own.

“In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a ‘company rule’ is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change,” he wrote.


So the next time you come across a work situation that just doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to find a better solution.


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