Elon Musk’s 80 Hour Work Week


When deciding how many hours you want to work each week you need to have two things in mind. What are you working towards and how much of your free time are you willing to sacrifice to get there. In my case, I enjoy following people like Elon Musk but I’m not trying to be him. I’m not attempting to revolutionise the car industry or send humans to mars. In one interview I watched, Elon said that to really get ahead of the competition as an entrepreneur you need to be working 80 – 100 hours a week. The basic analysis was that if your competition is working 40 hours and you are working 80 then you should get twice as much done. Makes sense.

I remember listening to a podcast and the guest they had on had, if I recall correctly, sold the company he started for a sum in the tens of millions. Now his next goal was to become a billionaire. Once he had accomplished that he wanted to become president of the United States (is that all?). In order for the person to achieve those goals they will have to work like crazy. I’m sure they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t enjoy it but when they look back will they regret the time they lost with loved ones? Only the individual can answer that question. Most people will have slightly less ambitious goals, although it may require just as much of your time to reach them.

I’m sure most of us believe we work hard but to determine if you are working hard enough to accomplish your goals you need to have a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve.

Defining work

The most obvious way to increase your weekly working hours if you work a regular job is to do overtime. However, as polls have shown that as little as 15% of people actually like their job, it’s unlikely to be a long term solution. A day job isn’t the only was to increase your free cash though. Work can be considered as anything productive which is making or saving you money. It doesn’t even have to make you money straight away, you could be working for future results like the early stages of starting a business. If it’s something you enjoy doing then it won’t even feel like work. Working to save money is just as beneficial. Let’s say you are thinking of getting decorators in to paint a few rooms at a cost of £500. If you do it yourself in your spare time instead you are effectively earning that money yourself.

Working efficiently

Simply doing lots of overtime is unlikely to enrich your life. You will earn some extra money but at the expense of time at home. When Elon Musk talks about working 80 hours a week he is looking at it from the perspective of an entrepreneur. A lot of the time entrepreneurs can work from anywhere so don’t need to be in the office for 12 hours a day to get more done. Instead, look at where you could fit in extra hours without having to sacrifice too much home time.

For example, one thing you could try is waking up an hour earlier and using the extra time to work on a side project. If you commute to work by public transport then there’s time to be used productively (rather than scrolling social media). Take advantage of the weekends to get more done too. If planned well it will barely impact your usual routine. It could be carrying out DIY to save calling in a tradesman, working on a side business or even writing a blog post!

Where possible, try getting your extra hours done in the morning (especially at weekends) as it will set you up for a productive day. If you plan to do it later in the day you are more likely to put it off (I’m very skilled at this!).

Creating balance

When deciding how many extra hours you want to put in be sure to carefully consider what it is you are trying to achieve and what you may have to sacrifice in order to achieve it. Focusing on clear goals will help you to decide how best to allocate your time. Working 80 hours a week will be a lot easier for some people than others. Are you trying to be the next Elon Musk or just looking to have some extra cash each month? Identifying the end goal will help you to create a healthy balance.

Watch the man himself talk about working 80-100 hours a week in “Elon Musk’s Top 10 Rules For Success” by Evan Carmichael.



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