The 4-Hour Workweek

book: The 4-Hour Workweek
author: Tim Ferriss

general overview

there’s a reason this was named a New York Times Bestseller. if there’s any idea i can get behind, it’s redefining what work-life balance looks like by spending less time working and more time with friends, family, and spending your precious, limited energy doing the things you love.

i shaved off a point because some of these tips are glossed over, and some are easier said than done. nevertheless, i’m intrigued just how easily this book had me questioning the status quo and rethinking my life. own your life. work to live. be happy.

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” — Oscar Wilde

summary notes

here’s advice you’ve heard before: “work smarter, not harder.” 

Ferriss takes that sentiment to a whole new level in The 4-Hour Workweek. i was drawn in first during the FAQ section because explained that the 4-hour workweek isn’t just for risk-taking millennials who were born into a wealthy family who went to an Ivy League school — quite the contrary. it’s for anyone who feels unhappy in their work life and would like to make changes, big or small, to becoming more content. what have you got to lose?

quick note: i believe in the work smarter and harder philosophy. i’ll elaborate on it in another post soon…

a huge concept that Ferriss cites as a life-changing discovery is the Pareto Principle (also known as The 80-20 Principle). it’s a simple concept: 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your time, and the other 20% of your productivity actually ends up wasting 80% of your time.

how did he wrap his head around this idea and start applying it to his life for the better? Ferriss poses that if you eliminate 20% of productivity that wastes a bulk of your precious time, you can live in a much more efficient way. 

sounds simple enough, right? let’s dive in and figure out what he means.

3 key takeaways

3 key takeaways from this book are:

  1. be effective, not “efficient”
  2. validate all of your business ideas – by testing them in their respective market
  3. charge a premium to make your life easier

the process: DEAL

d is for definition. redefine how you think about work and life, and challenge the status quo. 

Ferriss offered up an example that stuck with me: fresh out of college, he worked a job making cold calls. he quickly realized that if he made all of his calls at 8:00-8:30 am, then again at 6:00-6:30 pm, he was able to book more than twice as many meetings for his employer. 

by focusing his efforts on this small window of time, he was able to avoid secretaries, assistants, and other gatekeepers.

what did Ferriss do here? he redefined his tasks. he didn’t make calls from 9-5 when they were minimally effective. he focused his energy on the maximally effective strategy, and no more.

e for elimination. eliminate your thoughts on time management. Ferriss explains that this step is all about learning not to be efficient—but to be effective. eliminate any distractions to free up your time. how do you free up your time? learn how to say ‘no’ to tasks that don’t give you energy.

an effective way of freeing yourself of those distractions, reset your focus so that you’re focusing on only the 20% of things that are important to you and ignore the 80% that doesn’t give you energy.

a is for automation. now, this step seemed one of the toughest to achieve but possibly one of the most important. Ferriss urges readers to automate cash flows to increase income. okay, that’s easier said than done, right? if everyone knew how to make money while doing less or very little work—also known as ‘set it and forget it’—they would!

a few tips to automate your cash flow is to outsource or develop a business that can fly on “auto-pilot”. nevertheless, this business tip is a tough one to actually implement. 

even if its not always easy to do, outsourcing tasks does improve productivity: 

hate writing marketing emails? don’t.

buried in Facebook messages from your customers? hire a social media manager. 

dread balancing the bookkeeping each month? get an accountant. 

if you feel like you may be doing everything yourself with your business or even your side hustle, outsource it to an expert! investing a little money to free up your time to do the things you love and give you energy could just be your saving grace.

l is for liberation. and last but not least, Ferriss offers up the concept that you don’t need to be traditional or compare yourself to others and their successes. design a job that works for you and your unique desires. this could mean working to prove yourself, working part-time remotely, then shifting to a remote, work-from-home gig.

this idea, Ferriss cites, is one way to maximize your free time and give yourself the life you’ve always wanted.

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