Money Matters

Elon Musk Admits He Does This, But It’s a Terrible Idea

(Source: www.inc.com)

There’s much for entrepreneurs to admire and imitate about billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink. But Musk has admitted to one practice that no one should copy.

In an interview with Gayle King that aired on “CBS This Morning” recently, Musk discussed Tesla’s fevered work to meet production goals for its Model 3 electric vehicle.

“Yeah, I’m sleeping on the factory floor, not because I think that’s a fun place to sleep,” Musk said.

King had to make sure she heard him correctly, saying, “Sleeping on the factory floor … why are you doing that?”

“Because I don’t have time to go home and shower,” Musk told her, “I don’t believe like people should be experiencing hardship while the CEO is like, off on vacation.” 

That’s admirable reasoning. But sleeping on the factory floor? Dr. Raj Dasgupta, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California who’s board-certified in sleep medicine, has some thoughts.

Tesla did not respond to a request to clarify if Musk really meant he was catching a few zzzs on the presumably hard concrete floor of a car factory or if he was being metaphorical, but Dasgupta takes him at his word.

“I believe every word,” he said. “I think he literally is sleeping on the factory floor.”

The problem there isn’t actually the floor itself — “for some individuals, that might be the most comfortable place” — Dasgupta said. “I’m not overly focused on the floor but on the sleep deprivation.”

Dasgupta notes that his own industry, medicine, is noted for requiring long shifts with little sleep, though there have been some reforms in the 2000s. But it’s even harder to police good sleep practices with the sprawling technology industry.

“As a sleep doctor, this is kind of the opposite of how we are trying to train the next generation of entrepreneurs,” Dasgupta said with a laugh. “I don’t know that this is going to be the best role model.”

Musk’s reasoning is admirable. Feeling like the company CEO is right there in the trenches with his or her employees builds camaraderie and a sense of trust.

“I know his heart is in the right place,” Dasgupta said. “It’s very noble.”

But still, sleep deprivation is serious business. Dasgupta notes that it can impair one’s memory and cognition, and lead to mistakes. He notes that some tech companies, such as Google, even have nap pods where workers can catch up on their sleep.

Dasgupta offers three tips for getting those valuable sleep hours.

1. Put away the phone.

“Technology is a double-edged sword,” Dasgupta said. “You want to transition to sleep, both physically and mentally.” Even simply reading one last email from your bed could take you down a rabbit hole — first you respond, then you check a related link, and suddenly, another hour has flown by and you’re still not asleep.

2. Reserve the bed for sleep only.

Dasgupta calls this “stimulus control.” If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and go elsewhere to do something non-stimulating in dim light. Reading seems the natural option. But Dasgupta admits that modern young workers are unlikely to go grab a library copy of Moby Dick, and instead may read on a Kindle or other device, which isn’t ideal. A paper book or magazine, or a soak in a warm bath, might be a better choice.

3. Keep to a sleep schedule.

Dasgupta calls this “sleep restriction.” Make sure you have a set bed time and a wake time, and stick to them. “This means all the time,” Dasgupta says. “(Even) weekends, vacations.” It’s easy to reward oneself with a late night on Friday or Saturday, he notes, maybe out for dinner and a movie, or just binge-watching Netflix at home. But it’ll all catch up with you when you’re trying to wake up Monday morning.

More Info: www.inc.com

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