MainTakeAway:4 Hour Work Week By Timothy Ferriss
The Main Takeaway: You will learn how to change yourperspective on money, your time, and being “rich.” You will see how to dreamline and get more work done than ever before
The ThemeDo the minimum necessary for maximum effectInactivity is not the goal.Doing what excites you is.
WorkBe neither the boss nor employee, but the owner.To own the trains, and have someone else ensure they run on time.Its not about the big pay-off some day, its about immediate cash flow every day.After years of repetitive work, you will often need to dig hard to find your passions, redefine your dreams, and revive hobbies which you have let atrophy.
A New Perspective on MoneyLiving in luxury in various places around the world costs less than rent in the United States. If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3-10 times as much.Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number ofWs you control in your life : What you do, When you do it, Where you do it, and Who you do it with. (the "freedom multiplier".)With this criteria, the rich-but-tied-down banker is less "powerful" than the person who makes $40k but only works a few hours a week, and can choose all his Ws. Options - the ability to choose - is real power. How to see and create those options with the least effort and cost.
Time vs. Money An excess of idle time is poisonous. "If I only had more money" is the easiest way to postpone thedecision-making necessary to create a life of enjoyment now, not later. Using money as a scapegoat. Measure money not by total-income but $/hr. Aim for $5000/hr for your time. A quote from Jean Cocteau. "You have comfort. You dont have luxury. Dont tell me that money plays a part. The luxury Iadvocate has nothing to do with money. It cannot be bought. It is the reward of those who have no fear of discomfort."
Retirement? Retirement should not be a goal. It assumes you dislike what you are doing for most of your physically capable years, and nothing can justify that sacrifice. Distribute "mini retirements" throughout life instead of hoarding them for the end. (Mr. Ferriss aims for one month of overseas relocation or high-intensity learning for every 2 months of work projects.)Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If its important to you and you want to do it "eventually", just do it and correct the course along the way.
Be Unrealistic Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic.Its lonely at the top. 99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. Therefore, competition is fiercest for "realistic" goals.Easier to raise $10M than $1M. Easier to pick up the one"perfect 10" in a bar, than the 5 "8"s.Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance needed to the end. Realistic goals areuninspiring and will only fuel you through the first couple hurdles, then you give up.
Act!...on Excitement What are you putting off, out of fear? What is it costing you (financially, emotionally, physically) - to postpone action? What are you waiting for? Excitement is a more practical synonym forhappiness, and is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all. Dont ask "What do I want?" or "What are my goals?" - but : "WHAT WOULD EXCITE ME?” Boredom is the enemy, not failure.
Dreamlining1. Goals shift from ambiguous wants to defined steps2. Goals have to be unrealistic to be effective3. It focuses on the activities that will fill the vaccuum when work is removed. Living like a millionaire requires doing interesting things and not just owning enviable things.• What would you do if you could not fail?• What would you do, day-to-day, if you had $100M in the bank?• What would make you most excited to wake up in the morning to another day? Convert each "being" into a "doing". Example: "fluent in Chinese" becomes "have a 5 minute conversation with a Chinese co-worker".
Action If the next state is some form of research, get in touch with someone who knows the answer instead of spending toomuch time in books or online, which can turn into paralysis by analysis. Find someone whos done it and ask them how. Schedule a meeting youll feel bad cancelling. The most important actions are never comfortable. Propose solutions instead of asking for them. Elicit desired responses instead of react. Be assertive without burning bridges. Develop the uncommon habit of making decisions, for yourself and others.
Elimination A Quote from Bruce Lee. "One does not accumulate, but eliminate. It is not daily increase, but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”Being busy is a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.Dont confuse efficient with effective. The best door-to-door salesperson in the world can be incredibly efficient, yetnowhere near as effective as a bad spammer. Someone who checks email 30 times a day, has an elaborate system of organizing, might be incredibly efficient but not effective.What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is useless unless applied to the right things.
The 80/20 Rule 80% of consequences flow from 20% of causes. 80% of results come from 20% of effort/time. 80% of profits come from 20% of products/customers.The ratio is often skewed more towards 90/10 or even 95/5, but at least 80/20. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problemsand unhappiness? Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?
Most Things Make No Difference Being busy is a form of laziness : lazy thinkingand indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed isas unproductive as doing nothing, and far moreunpleasant. Being selective – doing less – is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few, and ignore the rest. Lack of time is actually a lack of priorities.
Parkinson’s LawA task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.If I give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressureforces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials. If I give you a week to complete the same task, its 6 days of making a mountain out of a molehill. If I give you two months, god forbid, it becomes a mental monster. The end product of the shorter deadline is almost inevitably of equal or higher quality due to greater focus.
2 Approaches for Increasing ProductivityThere are 2 approaches for increasing productivity:1. Limit tasks to the important, to shorten work time (80/20 rule)2. 2. Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinsons law) The best solution is to use both together : identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income, and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.
Auditing Your Day3 times per day, at schedules times, ask yourself: Am I being productive, or just active? Am I inventing things to do, to avoid the important? Focus on demonstrating results instead of showing dedication. 1. Define a short to-do list. 2. Define a not-to-do list.
Mission-Critical ItemsThere should never be more than two mission- critical items to complete each day.Do them separately, from start to finish, without distraction .Do not multitask.You should have, at most, two primary goals per day. Do them from start to finish without distraction.
Tim’s Low-Information DietI never watch the news, and have never bought anewspaper in 5 years. I check business email for 1hour each Monday. I never check voicemail when abroad. What if someone has an emergency? It doesnthappen. My contacts now know I dont respond toemergencies, so the emergencies somehow dont exist or dont come to me. Problems, as a rule, solve themselves or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottleneck and empower others.
Interrupting Interruptions: The Art of the Refusal An interruption is anything that prevents the start-to-finish completion of a critical task: TIME WASTERS Limit access and funnel all communication towards immediate action. Limit email consumption and production. Never check email first thing in the morning. Only once a day. Perhaps send auto responder saying youre only checking email once a day & give your phone. Screen incoming and limit outgoing phone calls. When someone calls your cell, dont ask, "Hows it going?" - just say, "Im right in the middle ofsomething - how can I help?" - if they say they can call back, say, "No - I have a minute - what can I do for you?" Get to the point immediately. If they start to wander, say you have only a couple minutes, and what can I do to help you out? Or perhaps ask them to send an email instead. Master the art of refusal and avoiding meetings.
Interrupting Interruptions: The Art of the Refusal TIME CONSUMERS When someone goes into too long of a story, say, "I dont want the story. Just tell me what we need to do.” Keep those around youfocused and avoid all meetings, whether in person or remote, that donot have clear objectives. Make it clear that remaining on task is your policy. Train those around you to be effective and efficient.Respond to voicemail via email. This trains people to be concise. Write emails that have the if-then in them so they dont need a response. (Prepare for only answering email once a week.) When someonewants to talk on the phone, ask them to define the agenda: the topics and questions well need to address. If forced to have a meeting, define the end time. Do not leave these open-ended.
Interrupting Interruptions: The Art of the Refusal EMPOWERMENT FAILURES : WHERE SOMEONE NEEDS APPROVAL TO MAKE SOMETHING SMALL HAPPEN.For the employee, the goal is to have full access to necessary information and as much independent decision-making ability as possible. For the entrepreneur, the goal is to grant as much information and independent decision-making ability to employees or contractors as possible. Tell employees : "Keep the customer happy. If its a problem that takes less than $100 to fix, use your judgment and fix it yourself. Fix these problems without contacting me. I am no longer your customer; mycustomers are your customer. Dont ask me for permission. Do what you think is right, and well make adjustments as we go along.” People are smarter than you think. Give them a chance to prove themselves.
Outsourcing Getting a remote assistant is a huge departure point and marks the moment you learn how to give orders and be commander instead of commanded.Its a litmus test for entrepreneurship : Can you manage other people? Using a VA as a simple exercise with no downside, the basics ofmanagement are covered in a 2-4 week test costing $100-$400. This is an investment not an expense.Its about building a system to replace yourself. Preparing someone to replace you will produce an ultra refined set of rules that cut remaining fat and redundancy from your schedule. If I can do it better than an assistant, why should I pay them at all? Because the goal is to free your time to focus on bigger and better things.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant The biggest challenge is the language barrier, which oftenquadruples back-and-forth discussion and the ultimate cost. Imade the mistake of not setting an hour cap, and they spent 23 hours on a simple task: $230. Same task assigned to a native English speaker in Canada was completed in 2 hours for $25/hr.Per-hour cost is not the ultimate determinant of cost. Look at per-task cost. Dont spend time restating the task and otherwise managing the VA. Use a VA firm instead of a solo operator, so you canswitch, and have redundancy. Not dependent on one person.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant Request someone who has "excellent" English, and say that phone calls will be required (even if not).Be precise: say what the outcome of the task is, so that they dont get the wrong idea & give a detailed report for unintended.Sentences should have one possible interpretation and be suitable fora 2nd-grade reading level. Even if for native-speaker. Ask foreign VAs to rephrase tasks to confirm understanding before getting started .Request a status update after a few hours of work, to ensure the task is both understood and achievable. Assign tasks that are to be completed within no more than 72 hours. Ive had best luck with 24-48 hours. Assign order of importance or even better: assign just one or two tasks at a time.
Don’t…• Dont lose sight of dreams and fall into work for works sake.• Dont handle problems your outsourcers or co-workers can handle.• Dont help outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once, or with non-crisis problems. Give them if-then rules for solving all but the largest problems. Give them freedom to act without your input. Set the limits in writing, then emphasize in writing that you will not respond to help with problems that are covered by these rules. At the end of each month or quarter, review how their decisions have affected profit and adjust the rules accordingly.• Dont chase customers, particularly unqualified or international prospects, when you have sufficient cash flow to finance your nonfinancial pursuits.
Don’t…• Dont answer email that will not result in a sale, or that can be answered by an FAQ or auto-responder.• Dont work where you live, sleep, or should relax. Separate your environments.• Perform a thorough 80/20 analysis every 2-4 weeks for your business and personal life.• Dont make non-time-sensitive issues urgent in order to justify work.• Dont view one project, job, or project as the end-all and be-all of your existence.• Dont ignore the social rewards of life. Surround yourself with happy positive people who have nothing to do with work. Create your muses alone if you must, but dont live your life alone.
Redefining Work & Life Being bound to one place will be the new defining feature of middle class. You want unrestricted mobility. The new mantra (even for your employees) is this: work wherever and whenever you want, but get your work done.Big Rule (About Life): If you cant define it, or act upon it, forget it.
Redefining Rich Deferrers : those who save it all for the end, only to find life has passed them by.D: work for yourselfNew Rich: have others work for youD: work when you want to:NR: do the minimum necessaryD: be boss instead of employee - be in chargeNR: neither boss nor employee, but the owner.D: to reach the big pay-off, record deal, pot of goldNR: ensure payday comes every day. Cashflow first, big paydaysecond.
The MainTakeAwaysDOING THE UNREALISTIC is easier than doing the realistic. Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides theendurance to overcome the inevitable. Realistic goals are uninspiring. Doing big things begins with asking for them properly: "What would excite me?” The opposite of happiness is boredom. Excitement is the morepractical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. Convert being into doing. Great cook? -> Christmas dinner without help. Fluent in Chinese? -> 5-minute conversation with Chinese co- worker.Perform a task in the most economical matter possible. Door-to-door salesman is efficient, but ineffective. (Would do better with email.)Same for person who checks email 30 times a day and has GTD methods.
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