Try Elon Musk’s 5-Minute Rule to 5x Your Productivity Almost Instantly

How to get ahead (according to Elon Musk)

Simon Kupfer
3 min readApr 18, 2023
Photo: Patrick Fallon/Reuters. Shown here is Musk introducing Neuralink, yet another one of his companies. See more*

Elon is among the busiest (and therefore, the most productive) people on Earth right now.

And yet he finds time for regular exercise twice a week, 100 hours a week on Tesla and SpaceX, and somehow still has the ability to persue hobbies.

And how does he do this? His “5-Minute Rule” method. Plan out your day to optimise your time.

The rule is basically a structure of spending time, known as time blocking. It’s used by pretty much every highly successful CEO, entrepreneur, and productivity expert under the sun.

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

So, this time blocking I speak of. What is it?

This is one of the best time management techniques out there, with a focus on dividing one’s day into “blocks” of time. Each block is dedicated to achieving one or more particular tasks, so you’ll have a schedule set in stone for what you’ll work on, and when.

Musk’s day is planned out in advance, with no room for irritating and potentially distracting interruptions. No block is left unused, no time wasted.

*Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls “neural lace” technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts. Source: The Wall Street Journal.

So, let’s actually focus on using the rule, now that we know what it’s about. And good news: it’s incredibly simple, you just have 7 steps:

  • Identify what you need to work on for the day.
  • Figure out when you’re most productive.
  • Group together meetings or social gatherings into one block (if possible).
  • Divide the time with equity: if it needs more time, give it more time and take away from a block that you’ll complete relatively easily.
  • Give an entire block off to personal time, or a break.
  • Allow for sudden interruptions — set off an amount of time that you expect will be used by others unexpectedly.
  • Adjust as needed.
Photo by Mailchimp on Unsplash

This seems all well and good with me just telling you what to do, but let me show you how to put it into practice.

Here’s an example I’ve set out for myself:

Firstly, we must have a think about responsibilities:

  • 8 hours for full-time education
  • 8 hours for sleep
  • 2 hours for daily exercise
  • 2 hours for writing
  • 3 hours for daily study/working on side hustles
  • 1 hour for mealtime/spending time with family

Now, let’s allocate this a schedule:

  • Wake up at 7 am
  • Be at place of education by 8:30
  • 8-30–4 is spent studying
  • Return home, then spend 2 hours writing (and having a snack!)
  • Go out for 2 hours of daily exercise
  • Come back, and study independently
  • Dinner, time with family.
  • Be in bed by 11 (the earlier, the better)
Photo by kris on Unsplash

You’ll notice here that it doesn’t follow the plan to the letter —rather, the plan is simply an outline, to do with as you please.

Just try not to get distracted.

I hope you enjoyed today’s article!

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