The 4-hour workweek | Tim Ferriss


Published in: 2009

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The 4-hour Workweek is about avoiding the daily grind of working life – how we can free up time, get more out of our money and increase our freedom and mobility. Tim Ferriss is an American entrepreneur, investor and author. He has written five top sellers and was one of the early investors in Uber. Ferriss is currently 43 years old and lives in Austin, Texas [2020].

THE NEW RICH. Ferriss believes that it is obsolete to work hard with the goal of retiring into a life of luxury at an older age. Instead of wealth measured in money, we should measure it in time and mobility. Our goal should be to free up time while maintaining or increasing our earnings.

REALITY IS NEGOTIABLE. Except in regards to the laws of science and the state, all rules and preconceived truths can – and should – be questioned. Just because everyone works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 47 weeks a year and retires at 65, it does not have to be the right way to go on with your life.

WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW. The principles for freeing up time are the same for employees and entrepreneurs. An employee’s goal should be to make himself invaluable to the company while asking for more and more freedom in the form of working from home. Once there, we can let go of hours without bureaucratic disruption and use the free time to fulfill our dreams. The entrepreneur’s goal is to reduce the amount of work while the income is unchanged or increasing – this is achieved through efficiency, automation and delegation.

MINI RETIREMENTS. Ferriss believes that the pension structure in the West is incorrectly constructed and is based on the fact that we do not like what we do during our most capable years. Once we retire, there is a great risk that low pensions will mean that we will have to lower our consumption levels. And if we are wealthy when we retire, we are of the ambitious kind who will not thrive in a retirement life anyway. Instead, we should continuously take “mini retirements” throughout life. Mini retirements during a quarter or two where we move to another place and gather new impressions. In addition to making life more enjoyable, we then also “hedge” ourselves towards a life outcome where we do not reach retirement age.

THE PARETO PRINCIPLE. 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of the effort. The ratio is often even more weighted: 90/10, 95/5 and even 99/1 are not uncommon. For example, we use 20% of our clothes 80% of the time or 20% of our company’s customers account for 80% of the profits. By analyzing our activities, we can identify and cut off inefficiencies and focus on multiplying our strengths.

PARKINSON’S LAW. Parkinson’s law states that a task expands to fill the time available to perform it. If you have 24 hours to complete a project, you will be forced to focus on implementation. If you have a week on you for the same task, you relax and work less focused. The end product of the shorter deadline is often of higher quality as a result of greater focus.

SELECTIVE FOCUS WITH A TIGHT TIME FRAME. Increased productivity is achieved by identifying the few critical tasks that give the most effect and scheduling them with short deadlines. What would you have had to focus on if you could only work two hours a day? That’s Pareto’s 20%. Being selective is the key to productivity.

ADOPT SELECTIVE IGNORANCE. The key to having more time is to do less. We consume data both in abundance and from the wrong sources. Do not read the news and cut back on watching TV and surfing the web. Most of the information we collect is time consuming, negative, irrelevant to our goals and beyond our influence.

ASK FOR FORGIVENESS INSTEAD OF PERMISSION. If something is not going to be bad for those around you, do it and motivate it afterwards – do not give people the chance to say no. People deny suggestions on an emotional basis that they can learn to accept after they are a fact. Most people are quick to stop you before you get started but hesitate to get in the way when you are on the move.

STRENGTHS BEFORE WEAKNESSES. Most people are good at a handful of things and mediocre at most things. It is both nicer and more lucrative to focus on your strengths instead of reinforcing your weaknesses. Almost everyone is convinced that they cannot achieve great things. This means that the level of competition is fiercest for “realistic” goals, which paradoxically makes them the most time-consuming and energy-intensive to achieve. Do not overestimate others and do not underestimate yourself. It’s not just you who’s insecure, it’s the rest of the world too.

TURN OFF NOTICES & BATCH RECURRING WORK. Notices from emails, work in open office landscapes and phone calls daily disrupt our productivity. We should “batch” recurring work steps, such as checking emails only twice a day; 12:00 and 16:00. In addition, we should direct people around us to first contact us via email, then a call and absolutely last communicate through personal meetings.

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