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The 4 Hour Workweek: Produce More, Work Less, Have More Fun


Tim Ferris and The Four Hour Workweek

You may have already heard the buzz of Tim Ferris and his book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. I’ll tell you what it’s all about and most importantly how you can use some of this information to improve your life.

What is The 4-Hour Workweek?

In his book, Tim Ferris describes how he drastically reduced the amount of time that he works each week, followed his dreams of dance, martial arts, and surfing, and at the same time continues to grow his business. How did he do this? The details are in his book, but at its simplest level I believe it comes down to organization, delegation, and elimination of time wasters.

How Does Tim Ferris Do It?

He delegates his email, his phone calls except emergencies, mundane business decisions, has a “low-information diet” (opposite of news junky), and is very clear and organized about how he wants to spend his time.

How Can YOU Reduce Work Time, Increase Play Time and Maintain/Raise Productivity?

  1. ANALYZE: Log how you spend your time for a day or two. Calculate what your time is worth on hourly basis. (Yearly income divided by 2000 hours). Identify the mundane tasks that can be delegated. If you can delegate a low cost task, that will free up your time to be spent on higher revenue producing task, thus enabling you to potentially INCREASE your productivity!
  2. DELEGATE: Start small and build over time. Examples to delegate: filing, data entry, article submissions, housecleaning, grocery shopping, etc. Make a list of the things you can delegate and implement one each week. Go slow and build for success.
  3. DELEGATE TO WHOM?
    • Virtual assistants cost anywhere from $4-10/hour (try Elance)
    • Your kids! Make it fun. Incent them and praise them. Good learning opportunity for them.
    • Neighborhood teens need to earn money. They can do yardwork, cleaning, filing, probably even some computer tasks too.
    • Local services: cleaning services, grocery shopping services, accounting, please share your other suggestions in the comments!
  4. PLAN YOUR TIME: How much time do you think you waste each day, reading catalogues, browsing the web without purpose, watching TV, etc? And then we say “I don’t have time to do the things I want to do.” THINK AGAIN:
    • Start with “How do I want to spend my time?”
    • ELMINATE: have a plan for how you will avoid or minimize the time waster activities that creep into our day. Either set a specific time for doing them or commit to not doing them, whichever is your desire.
    • Plan Your Day, Week, and Future. See Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity for more great information.
  5. FAILPROOF YOUR PLAN: Put time frames around your daily action plan. Use a countdown timer if you tend to get over-involved in a task. Here’s how: estimate the time needed and set your timer (watch, online appointment, online stopwatch) and when the timer goes off, stop what your doing even if your not finished. Analyze your progress and what you need to do to finish, and review what is next on your daily plan.
  6. MAKE ROUTINES: Make certain tasks automatic by establishing routines. This will help increase your efficiency. Here’s an example:
    • Morning: Exercize, Creative Tasks, Most Difficult tasks, Phone Calls
    • Mid Morning: Break. This is important to clear your head and review your progress on your daily plan. (use a some reminder tool to ensure that you don’t miss this). 5 minutes is enough, but 15 minutes is fine too. Dale Carnegie was a big believer in this!
    • Lunch: Again, if you tend to miss or put lunch off till you’re exhausted use a reminder tool like online stopwatch.
    • Afternoon: Review your daily plan, mundane tasks, easier tasks, easier phone calls, research work
    • Break:
    • End of Work Day: Review day and make plan for tomorrow.
    • Evening: Dinner, relax time, reading time, longer term planning, meditate, stretch, sleep.
    • Weekends: Chores, Errands, Fun time, Family time, Rest time, Exercize, Spiritual time, etc. Plan for it!

Let your plan serve you. Live the life you want to live. Analyze and plan for how to do that and your will succeed.

What little tricks do you use to get more work done and to ensure “play time?”  Even the smallest tips can make the biggest difference.Please share your valuable comments with us! Many thanks to recent commenters: Mike, Terry, Court, Ilker, Dee, Paula, and Philomena.

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10 Responses to The 4 Hour Workweek: Produce More, Work Less, Have More Fun

  1. Mark May 10, 2007 at 12:30 am #

    This book has the title of my dream life. How great will it be to only have to work four hours per week so the rest are available to do what matters most. Can’t wait.

  2. Fran May 10, 2007 at 1:16 am #

    Planning our time is important even in our normal lives. We need to spend the right amount of time to maximize our performance. I believe it’s necessary to balance our work and our family.

  3. Brian May 10, 2007 at 11:03 am #

    How to achieve the 4 hour work week:

    1. Write a book about achieving a 4 hour work week. Alternatively, write a book about getting rich in real estate.

    2. Reduce your working hours to 4 per week while collecting money from the millions of hapless marks who think a book will change their lives.

  4. AgentSully May 10, 2007 at 11:41 am #

    Hey Brian, Thanks for the comment! You know I agree with you that that is the perfect forumla for achieving a 4 Hour Workweek.

    At the same time there’s definitely something to be learned from his approach that can help others improve the quality of their lives.

    I had meant to say in my article that I don’t think the goal has to be to work a 4 hour workweek in order benefit from these techniques.

    If the average person can create an extra hour or 2 or more per week to do the things they really want, then that is a success.

    Thanks again for the comments!

  5. Alan May 10, 2007 at 9:43 pm #

    I agree with the list, especially with delegation. Who said we have to work with every single task? If we need a break, we can hire someone to do our job.

  6. K-drama Addict May 18, 2007 at 12:13 pm #

    I should try following these tips because I have porr time management. I tend to overdo some things and left other tasks behind.

  7. Sonia June 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Great post and all valid, but what about those on an extremely low budget? Not everyone can afford money for delegation. It would be nice to see this point addressed in more detail.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] eventually you will work less and it may be easier down the road. Maybe you’ll become like Tim Ferris and design your life so you only work 4 hours per week. Or it may be that you choose to live on a lower income. In that case you might work less sooner […]

  2. Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business? - July 18, 2007

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  3. Simplifying Your Goals | Life Learning Today - December 30, 2013

    […] available. Also, you need to learn to say “No” to certain requests, ignore others, and delegate tasks that are more appropriately or more cost-effectively handled by someone else. Small Investment, Big […]

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  1. […] eventually you will work less and it may be easier down the road. Maybe you’ll become like Tim Ferris and design your life so you only work 4 hours per week. Or it may be that you choose to live on a lower income. In that case you might work less sooner […]

  2. […] eventually you will work less and it may be easier down the road. Maybe you’ll become like Tim Ferris and design your life so you only work 4 hours per week. Or it may be that you choose to live on a lower income. In that case you might work less sooner […]

  3. […] available. Also, you need to learn to say “No” to certain requests, ignore others, and delegate tasks that are more appropriately or more cost-effectively handled by someone else. Small Investment, Big […]

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