How to Apply the Elon Musk Routine to Studying

Elon Musk Routine

Elon Musk, a scientist and genius with a great vision. Who doesn’t want to be like him right? Let’s dive into his routine and find out how he got to the top.

Don’t worry! We shall be discussing the Elon Musk routine which you can apply to your school life. Hopefully, by learning and making a habit of these productivity tips this early in High School, you will inculcate these valuable lessons in your daily lives and lead you toward success as they had Musk.


Who is Elon Musk?

Everyone loves a success story. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that many people love to read about these successful men and women to learn their secrets to success and perhaps apply them in their daily lives.


Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, Inc., is a perfect example. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance is a huge bestseller, especially among bloggers who can’t stop raving about Musk’s productivity secrets. However, as much as Musk offers very good pieces of advice on productivity, most bloggers fail to adapt these advices to the student setting. For this reason, students who read these articles don’t understand how they can apply these productivity tips to their lives in school.

Elon Musk Routine

1) Elon Musk’s routine always starts with a shower

In a 2015 Reddit AMA, Musk said that the daily habit that had the greatest positive impact in his life was showering. There are two reasons for the effectiveness of morning showers. First is all about personal hygiene. If you feel clean and nice at the start of your day, you will be more refreshed and alert. It also has the psychological effect of promoting self-discipline, confidence, and greater willpower. Individuals who make it a point to shower in the morning are less prone to procrastination. They’re also more aware of their physical appearance so that they’re more inclined to dress in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. You can say that a daily shower makes you “dress for success”, a habit that you will carry until you have a career.


The second reason is that it refreshes the brain. Musk himself noticed that if he had been thinking of an important problem the previous day, a refreshing shower the following morning switches “on” his brain and gives him the solution. In addition, a refreshed brain enables you to make plans for your day ahead or to come up with solutions to any problems that may arise during the day.


2) Start your day with the most difficult work

This is a rephrase of Musk’s advice to start your day with the “most critical work”. In Musk’s case, “critical work” means addressing emails with criticisms on certain aspects of his job as CEO.


In the case of students, you can reapply this bit advice into determining what is your most important task for the day with the help of the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule. For example, if you want to improve in your grades in Math, you can schedule doing your homework for this subject early in the morning when your brain is refreshed after a shower. Or you can spend it reviewing your Math homework if you had done them the previous night before going to bed.


3) Practice batch tasking

Musk may seem like a very efficient multi-tasker, but he knows full well that the human brain is incapable of multitasking. As I mentioned in previous articles, the human brain is more efficient if it it accomplishes tasks serially or one after another. For a student with so many things to do, serial multitasking may seem like an impossibility. However, Musk made the impossible possible through batch tasking.


Batch tasking involves lumping together tasks that are related to each other. In this way, you don’t lose your momentum, drive or energy switching from one task to another. You can also squeeze in tasks that don’t require too much brain power so that you can get more things done.


Let me give you a couple of examples. First, when reading an assigned chapter in the textbook, you can make flashcards or outlines of the day’s lesson and then incorporate related information and ideas from the chapter you’re reading now. Second, you can set 30 minutes to an hour getting your lesson notes in order at night for easy review.


If you want to develop the habit of batch tasking, you can do so by making a list of activities/tasks that you need to accomplish for the day and week. Determine which tasks can be batched together. If one batch of tasks doesn’t work, try rearranging the tasks in other batches. Try using the Pomodoro Technique to help you process batched tasks faster.


4) Reason from First Principles

The idea of “first principles” may seem like a high-tech notion that only guys like Elon Musk can understand, but it’s not.


A first principle is defined as the fundamental concepts or assumptions on which a theory, system, or method is based and which cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption. You can say that first principles are the ABSOLUTE TRUTHS/FACTS from which all other thoughts, ideas, or experiences are based.


High schoolers are in the best position to develop first principle reasoning because they’re still learning these very same basics in school.


You may complain that you’re learning way too much in school, but consciously or subconsciously your brain is storing these fundamentals. What you need to do to develop first principles reasoning is by bringing these stored facts out.


Let me give you an example. It is a given that you will be asked to do science projects in school. Let’s say that your teacher assigned you to demonstrate rocket propulsion in class. Your first thought is “How can I make a rocket fly?” The answer, of course, is with the use of fuel and an oxidizer to burn the fuel. The problem is that fuel is very expensive. So instead of using standard fuel like gasoline to make your rocket fly, you use available eco-friendly sources, such as a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. It’s less dangerous too!

Elon Musk Routine

5) Be a Master of Communication

In the Elon Musk routine, it is important that you begin mastering the art of communication early. Always go straight to the point. Avoid rambling. Brevity is the key to good communication. Don’t just limit your conversations with fellow students. Find the confidence to communicate with your teachers. You can start building up this confidence by asking questions in class. Later, you may request an appointment with your teacher so that you can discuss any matters that you find unclear in the lesson.


In this day and age of text messages with acronyms like “LOL” and “IMHO”, Musk is very strict with his employees in that no acronyms are allowed. It is a sad fact that texting acronyms have become so common in usage that you see them popping up in test or research papers. Remember that the words these acronyms stand for reduce the quality of your ideas and opinions. They’re unnecessary.


6) Use Stretch Goals

Stretch goals demand that you go beyond your current capabilities. Don’t allow yourself to be confined within your conceived limits.


For example, if you think right now that you’re not good at Math, you will believe that you will never be good in the subject. Break out of this limit by setting the stretch goal of doing 5 math problems a day for one week and then increasing them in the following weeks. You can do this by answering the problems in your textbook or those that can be found in online Math sites.


In another example, if you have been dreading Physical Education classes because you feel you’re weak or sickly, you can build up your health and endurance by starting with morning walks for a week then moving on to brisk walks for the next week and then jogging for the third week. As you get stronger and healthier, you not only build up strength but also the confidence to meet the physical challenges in your Phys Ed classes.


7) Become a T-Shaped Person

High Schoolers have the greatest potentials to become T-shaped individuals because they’re presently learning the fundamentals – or the foundations, if you will – of what will be their future careers. Obviously, students may excel in particular subjects, such as Science, English or Math. However, to become a T-shaped person, you should not only lay the foundations in these subjects. You should also build up knowledge even in those subjects that you’re not good at.


Let’s say that you’re good in Science and hope to become a published researcher in the future. The problem is you’re not good in writing and/or public speaking. To become a T-shaped person, you need to improve on your grammar and other writing skills as well as build up the confidence to speak in front of an audience.


Here’s another example. As you know, Science has so many related fields. Even if you’re getting great grades in Chemistry, you must consider broadening your knowledge base by learning more about the fundamentals in Physics and Math as well.


8) There is always room for improvement in the Elon Musk routine.

Never make the assumption that you’re always right. Instead, always assume that you’re wrong. If you’re constantly questioning yourself and what you do, your mind will always be focused on doing things better. This growth mindset also sees failure as a means to improve and grow. In this way, you will be able to realize your full potential.


Let’s say that you’re struggling with a subject in class to the point that you failed in an exam. Rather than allow yourself to become frustrated or, worse, accept that a “passing grade” for that subject is okay, devote more of your time to studying and getting help from teachers and classmates alike. As you push yourself beyond your limits, you will not only see yourself getting a higher grade, you may also develop a love for the same subject that you once hated.


With these advices, it certainly is no surprise that Elon Musk is the huge success that he is today. Applying the Elon Musk routine now while still in school will help you in building a successful career in the future.


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