‘I Torture Myself’: Elon Musk Sheds Light On Just How Enormous His Workload Is
13 August 2021, Brandenburg, Grünheide: Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, stands in the foundry of the Tesla Gigafactory during a press event. The first vehicles are scheduled to roll off the production line in Grünheide near Berlin from the end of 2021. The US company plans to build around 500,000 units of the compact Model 3 and Model Y series here each year.
Patrick Pleul/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Elon Musk is the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, as well as the leader of several smaller pet projects, such as Neuralink and The Boring Company. Following his acquisition of Twitter, one of the world’s largest social media platforms, the multibillionaire gave the world a view into just how busy his schedule can be.

“You know, my workload has recently increased quite a lot,” Musk said during a virtual interview at the B20 summit in Indonesia. “I mean, I have too much work on my plate, that is for sure. No doubt about it.”

When asked about business leaders who want to become the “Elon Musk of the East,” the world’s richest man commented that his lifestyle is not necessarily one to be desired. “I’d be careful what you wish for. I’m not sure how many people would actually like to be me,” he said. “They would like to be what they imagine being me, which is not the same thing as actually being me. The amount that I torture myself is next level, frankly.”

Four years ago, Musk said during an interview with Recode that he has worked 120 hours per week, although he finds working 80 hours per week “pretty sustainable.” According to a Harvard Business Review study, the average chief executive works 62.5 hours per week.

“There were times when, some weeks … I haven’t counted exactly, but I would just sort of sleep for a few hours, work, sleep for a few hours, work, seven days a week. Some of those days must have been 120 hours or something nutty,” he explained. “The pain level for hours increases exponentially. It’s like nonlinear above 80.”

Musk is presently worth $189 billion, according to an estimate from Bloomberg Billionaires Index. A South African by birth, Musk moved to Canada as a teenager and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in economics and physics. Among his first ventures was Zip2, a company that provided city guide software to newspapers, and online bank, which later merged with another startup to become PayPal.

Musk founded SpaceX, which manufactures and launches reusable rockets, in 2002, and became an early investor in electric vehicle maker Tesla two years later. The latter company has a market capitalization of $594 billion, constituting the seventh-largest company in the world.

The entrepreneur acquired Twitter last month for $44 billion after initiating the purchase earlier this year. He released a statement explaining that the deal was motivated by a desire to foster an open dialogue and free expression. “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” he said. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”

Beyond his business ventures, Musk began what appears to be a political epiphany during the government lockdowns that gripped the nation two years ago. He said he grew increasingly frustrated as California officials prevented a major Tesla factory from reopening, prompting the entrepreneur to move the company’s headquarters to Texas. He encouraged other Americans to “take the red pill” and noticed that leftists were “losing the middle” of the political spectrum. Ahead of the most recent midterm elections, he cited the benefits of a divided government while urging his fellow citizens to vote for Republican candidates.

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