Tim Ferriss and the Four-Hour Workweek: How to Escape the 9-5 Routine

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Tim Ferriss and the Four-Hour Workweek: How to Escape the 9-5 Routine

Take a look at the concepts behind Tim Ferriss's bestselling book on rethinking productivity.

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Tim Ferris came out with his famous (read: controversial) book, The four-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich in 2007. The book has sold more than 1.3 million copies and has been translated into 35 languages. Not only this, but the book has also been a New York Times bestseller for more than four years.

The core idea behind the book is to work less and make more money. Pretty much like the saying "work smarter, not harder."

Now, before approaching the topic of how to adopt a four-hour workweek culture, let’s first address the fire it has stirred. The book gave birth to an endless debate of whether it’s realistic and can work for anybody, or if it’s a myth and doesn’t really fit in with the real-world problems.

So, basically, there are two extremes to this, both quite strong.

Tim says that you only need to manage your time intelligently, rather than fitting everything in your schedule to achieve more. Move somewhere in the world, take your computer with you, and work remotely whenever you want to. So, that’s basically the crux of four-hour workweek.

How to Adopt a Four-Hour Workweek Culture

If you hate working long hours at the office, this is the good news for you. You don’t have to anymore! The lazy bum inside you may get too excited, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at all.

The whole concept around the four-hour workweek emphasizes that all of us have enough time. We just don’t know how to manage it effectively. There’s no such thing as "too busy" or "too little time."

Some of the key takings from the book that can help you in adopting the four-hour workweek culture are:

1. Pursue Your Passion

There’s no questioning the fact that most of the people you know have 9-5 jobs that they probably hate. Pushing through each day just so they can pay their bills and make it through the day is all too common. Tim Ferris suggests breaking this norm.

He urges to look deep within yourselves and embrace your entrepreneurial instincts. Sit back and evaluate what you want to do with your life. Find your passion and just go for it. This tip is particularly useful for people who want to break the shackles of corporate slavery and run a business of their own.

There’s a dedicated section of the book where Tim gives suggestions for running a successful business.

2. Apply the 80/20 Principle

Keeping in context the 80/20 Pareto principle, Tim Ferris urges that we find the 20% of the work that draws 80% of our productivity, and leave the rest. To put it in simple words, 80% of your business’ revenues come from 20% of your customers. This is what you need to identify.

When it comes to your business, find those valuable customers and invest your time and efforts into retaining them.

Tim Ferris applied this principle to his life and within a month his income jumped from $30,000 to $60,000 and his weekly working hours dropped from 80 to 15.

3. Delegate and Automate Your Tasks

Tim Ferris says, “Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined”

If there’s a thing that can be easily managed by a machine, it should be. Don’t try to do everything by yourself and waste your precious time and energy.

Another thing the four-hour workweek teaches us is to start outsourcing your work. If there’s a task that someone else can do for you (better than you), delegate it immediately. For delegating tasks, hire a virtual personal assistant. The assistant can look at all the trivial and important tasks for you and will save you ample time to focus on things that matter.

4. Cultivate the Sense of Selective Ignorance

You’re working peacefully at your workstation and a small email pop up appears. You’re too tempted to check it instantly and you do. Now you’re stuck in the continuous cycle of follow-ups.

When adopting the four-hour workweek, teach yourself to ignore all the unimportant or irrelevant interruptions. Don’t check your social media again and again in the name of getting a break. The same holds true for all of your emails. Stop watching the news for longer times. Just go through the headlines, and don’t finish books you don’t feel like reading.

5. Make a To-Do and a NOT To-Do list

Generally, we only make a to-do list and summarize the stuff we need to do, but half of the times our list consists of things that do not necessarily need our attention. The principle of delegation fits here perfectly.

Make a list of all the tasks that you can easily delegate to someone else, so that you can divert your attention towards more important tasks for the day.

Counter Argument

To counter the above discussion, the second extreme implies there are people who’ve worked hard to reach where they’re right now. Yeah, they didn’t work only four hours a week to achieve their goals. If  they did, they probably wouldn’t get what they wanted.

Because the universal truth is that in order to achieve something big, you need to strive. And for that, you need time. Lots and lots of it. So, where exactly does this four-hour workweek theory fits? Nowhere!

Another matter of the fact being pointed out by this bunch of intellectuals is that unless you already have a steady stream of revenue coming from some online platform that you’ve outsourced, making money requires a lot of time. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Two of the biggest negatives pointed out about this book are:

1. Entrepreneurship Is Not Everyone’s Forte

As much as it sounds tempting to run one’s own business, the fact is that not everyone is talented enough to see it through. An overwhelming amount of people who work at a 9-5 job are doing it to make ends meet. Others simply may not have the desire to do so.

Jump on the bandwagon of entrepreneurship only if you have the energy, passion, and resources to make it work without giving up in the middle, because entrepreneurship requires your utmost dedication, sleepless nights, and definitely more than a four-hour workweek.

2. Competition at Work Is Real

In today’s economy, you don’t succeed by working less, and working more does not necessarily mean you're not being smarter. At times, you need to put in those extra hours to make a mark at work. To bring more value to your work and to earn an extra buck, you may have to give in more than expected.

This is what the four-hour workweek certainly doesn’t address.

With that being said, you don’t have to drain yourself of your energy or over-whelm yourself with a plethora of work. Take a break whenever you have to and opt for work that brings you joy.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your work preferences and how things fit in with your schedule. Which end of the discussion do you agree with? Share your views with us in the comments below.

agile ,culture and methods ,dev career ,dev life ,productivity ,task management ,work behavior ,work life balance

Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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