One of the books that propelled me into entrepreneurship was Timothy Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week...I read and re-read this book to the point of pages tattering while traveling after college and loved the ideas, passion and personality the author put into helping others reach his 4 hour lifestyle. Over the next Year I focused 100% of my goals and motivation towards becoming an entrepreneur and living a similarly free life where I could escape the 9 to 5 (hence the name of my blog) and travel the world with ease. Not surprisingly it wasn’t so simple… but I don’t think Ferriss ever intended it to be. He was/is a very hard worker… and if he really does only work 4 hours a week than I imagine they are the most hard core, packed hours of his life. I don’t think the ideal of the four hour workweek is unattainable, I just think it isn’t for everyone. But if you do really want to cut your hours down to practically nothing and still make a killer living its possible… there are just some tricks and tips along the way.
So here I will lay out how I attempt to live the four hour work week and how its working for me so far.
First of all let me say this, right now I work more like four hours a day versus four hours in a workweek. So ideally I am not living the dream but I am happy and enjoy what I do. Secondly I do absolutely believe I could work a mere four hours a week and still run my business successfully (probably more successfully then I do now) it would just take a type of self control I have not yet mastered. How? you may ask… well I’ll tell you… working so little and still being productive is a cow of another color, it takes hard work to build up a ‘structure’ that allows that kind of freedom and hard work to make sure your own neurosis don’t drive you towards micro-management. Here are some tips:
- Delegate some stuff. Even if you are barely making anything its good to start to get into the habit of delegation early, I’d say that is the number one way you’ll find freedom, fulfillment and the ability to escape the 9 to 5. This can be as simple as hiring your next door neighbor’s kid to transcribe some stuff for you or as complicated as hiring on a full team of four virtual assistants that do almost all the nitty gritty work of your organization (I do the later).
- Focus on the 80/20 rule. Take Pareto’s law to a new level, force yourself to only focus on the 20% of productivity that leads to 80% of results. Instead of letting your mind get bogged down with the minutia of daily life focus on the big picture and let the rest fall by the way side. This concept alone is incredibly scary and probably hard to do for almost all new entrepreneurs.
- Get insanely, OCD organized. Now this sounds like a horrible idea at first, but let me tell you this if you do it ONCE the right way you’ll NEVER have to do it again. I read the book Getting Things Done 3 times before I could grasp the enormity of David Allen’s organizational systems. But once I implemented them, which took a week, it upped my productivity 100x! This is not fun, I won’t lie to you, but getting ridiculously organized and making a ‘system’ for everything you do will ensure you only do it ONCE! That alone is worth the bother.. because repeating yourself over and over in business is incredibly draining also when you have the systems in place that is when you can start taking yourself out of the picture.
The four hour work week isn’t a myth.
Or at least I don’t think so, granted I also think that 95% of the population could never hack it but for those who can.. or who can even get close there is a world of wonder out there to explore. Once you take off the shackles of your 9 to 5 job and unburden yourself from constant financial worry there are truly unlimited experiences awaiting. Its more a mental barrier than a physical one to the concept of a four hour workweek but whatever your reasons are try to open your mind to the possibilities just for a while.