I rarely blog about best-selling books, but I just finished reading The 4-Hour Workweek (#4HWW) by Tim Ferriss, and it got me thinking…
I chose to read it because it is referred to over and over by many of the writing and productivity bloggers and podcasters I follow. #4HWW permeates my Twitter feed. Tim Ferriss also has his own podcast and interviews individuals I find interesting. I realize I am late to the party, but better late than never. At least now I understand the conversations going on around #4HWW.
“Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” ~~Tim Ferriss
Starting the book, I assumed it would be another book about time-management, working efficiently, and productivity tips. I was not prepared for it to redefine wealth, upend the basic tenets of work habits, or present an alternative and viable option to the commonly held career and retirement paradigm. Tim Ferriss, as a young college graduate, quickly became bored as soon as he learned the ropes to his job, causing him to change jobs often. This was not what he wanted for his life, and took a vacation to sort out goals for his future. His vacation morphed into fifteen months abroad, learning new skills and languages, creating his own company, and blogging about his adventure. That blog led the The 4-Hour Workweek, and I read the expanded/updated version which also included case studies of others who worked the #4HWW plan and added their suggestions.
“I’ve trained myself to propose solutions instead of ask for them, to elicit desired responses instead of react, and to be assertive without burning bridges. To have an uncommon lifestyle, you need to develop the uncommon habit of making decisions, both for yourself and for others.” ~~Tim Ferriss
I encourage you to read the book if you are considering a major life change, or looking for new ideas to consider. The premise of the #4HWW is that waiting to retire to live your dreams is not necessary, and you don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one. Rather than take vacations, think of them as mini-retirements. Rather than punch a time clock forty-plus hours per week for someone else, create your own business, outsource the tasks you dislike or don’t do well, make it something you can run virtually, and automate it to the point where it pretty much runs itself while you are living your dream. Sound too good to be true? I thought so also, until I realized how many people are already doing it. This option seems to be gaining in popularity among young people, families, empty-nesters, and retirees who don’t want to be chained to one place and who understand technology.
The book goes into great detail about how to actually live a 4-hour workweek, including recommendations and examples of websites and apps, outsourcing services—both international and domestic, types of businesses you can create to maximize profit and minimize time, how to negotiate with your current employer to keep your job (if you love it) and work virtually, how to explain to friends and family that you are not drug dealing or doing anything illegal or unethical, travel tips, how to live abroad cheaper than you can at home, and of course there are some time management and productivity hacks. The e-book version has hyperlinks throughout to the resources mentioned.
“Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence. I challenge you to look at whatever you read or watched today and tell me that it wasn’t at least two of the four.” ~~Tim Ferriss
The test of a good book, for me anyway, has always been whether or not it inspires me to action or a change in my thinking. This book has done both, more than I could have imagined. Here are three items I’ve already implemented:
- Due to my husband’s chosen vocation as a counselor, currently working with at-risk adults, my dream of living out of one suitcase as an international vagabond will not fully come to pass. And that’s OK. Whatever the choice, I choose Steve. However, I do believe the concept of mini-retirements is doable for us, and I will be working towards that. Since I am disabled, I cannot manage a traditional 40-hour workweek, nor being committed to someone else’s schedule or way of accomplishing tasks. I can do a lot more than most would imagine if I’m allowed to manage my environment for my safety and efficiency, and do the work at my peak hours which are in constant flux. As much as I loved teaching, I can no longer do it in a traditional sense. I can write and coach writing, though. I am currently coaching a new writer who travels internationally, a more advanced writer in New England, and a new blogger in my city. This is the beginning of my virtual business which I hope to grow as 2017 progresses, in addition to publishing my first novel.
- I’ve always been fascinated with technology, and look forward to experimenting with and implementing many of the resources listed in The 4-Hour Workweek. I’m updating my blog and website, as well as have initiated the Google Voice app, and am practicing with different video chat apps.
- Controlling social media and communication instead of allowing it to control me has become a growing frustration for me. When writing fiction, I require a chunk of time (preferably two hours minimum) to get into my fictional world, bond with my characters, and write their stories. Any phone call or e-mail notification yanks me out of that imaginary place and costs me not only the ideas, but the time it will take to get back into that world.
- Tim started by only checking e-mail once a week, and then moved to once a month, and only gave his family members and virtual assistant his phone number. I have modified that to only checking e-mails and phone messages at the end of each day. I have turned off all notifications for all communications and social media on both my android and computer. I thought there would be some dissent among my friends and extended family, but when I explained what I was doing and why on Facebook, I got support, and two other friends followed suit.
- I’ve also cut off TV in my home for the last month and love it. If there is something I really want to watch, I can do so via Internet, the media room at my apartment complex, or the sport’s bar/restaurant next door (go Rangers!!). No more idle channel surfing, or staying up too late watching just one more episode. Getting more and better quality sleep was the first happy realization of this experiment.
- Social and broadcast media have been relegated to end of day when all my other tasks are complete.
- And finally, I am putting time limits on my web surfing/research since that’s a rabbit hole I regularly fall into.
In the short time I’ve been applying these suggestions, I’ve already noticed I’m getting more accomplished in less time, am more intentional in how I spend time, am more creative, and more relaxed in general.
If you have already read this book, I’m curious what your impression was. If you have implemented any of the suggestions, which ones, and how have they worked out for you? Do you have any additional experiences or suggestions relating to the #4HWW? Please leave a comment, and let’s continue discussing this in the comment section.