The 4-Hour Workweek Recap

Every time I read an impactful book, I jot down reminders to reference in the future. These are my takeaways from the The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. 

Part 1: Definition

  • Set 6 month dreamlines for (1) having (2) being (3) going [3 to 5 in each category]

tim ferriss dreamline

tim ferriss dreamlines

  • Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses. Outsource them.
  • Ask for forgiveness, not permission. If potential damage is low to moderate, do it anyway then justify afterwards so people don’t stop you.
  • Relative income (time + money) > absolute income (money). For example, working 80 hours per week making $500,000 is worse than (in my opinion) working 20 hours per week, making $40,000 with complete freedom of when, where and how to live.
  • Define the worst-case-scenerio when considering a tough decision. Chances are, it’s not as bad as you’re making it out in your head.
  • Avoid WFW Syndrome and the deferred life plan (i.e 40 hours/week, then retirement)- set target income, achieve it in least amount of time possible, then spend your limited time doing fun activities and/or spending with family and friends. “The blind quest for cash is a fool’s errand” Don’t be the 45-year-old fat man (director of marketing or entrepreneur working 80 hour weeks making $250,000) in the red convertible. Time is exponentially more valuable than money. “The goal isn’t to create a business that is large as possible, but rather a business that bothers us as little as possible. The architecture has to place us out of the information flow instead of putting us at the top of it.” Always remember this story:

4hww mexican fisherman

Part 2: Elimination (Productivity)

  • Paretos Law – 80:20 principle – focus on the 20% of tasks that produce 80% of results. Whether that means cutting low-paying/high-hassle customers or only doing tasks you’re best at and outsourcing the rest or a personal evaluation of friends – who are the 20% of people that produce 80% of your enjoyment? Which 20% cause 80% of your depression, anger and second-guessing? Increase time spent with those that cause happiness, eliminate time spent with those that don’t. Or what 20% of side projects are producing 80% of side income (to pay off loans)? Eliminate the unnecessary. Being busy is not the same thing as being productive.
  • Parkinsons Law – tasks swell in perceived importance in relation to the time allotted for completion. 9-5 is an illusion; are you actually 100% working during that period? Since we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours. If we had 15, we’d fill 15. If we have an emergency and need to complete those tasks in 2 hours, we’d miraculously get it done. If you have short deadlines, you’re forced to focus on execution and meet the bare essentials.
  • Focus one critical task each day
  • Never check email first thing in the  morning [batch email: 3 times per day]. Only after you’ve completed your critical task.
  • Don’t create (or attend) meetings without specific agendas set
  • Live a minimalist lifestyle; enjoy quality over quantity. “One does not accumulate, but eliminate” If you’re acquiring new things you don’t use, just because you can, you’ve exceeded target income and should be spend your excess time enjoying yourself or helping others.
  • Avoid Paradox of Choice and cultivate selective ignorance. Don’t waste your time on something you cannot directly impact (i.e. reading the news to waste time)
  • Avoid working in places that are used for relaxation – i.e. the bedroom.

Part 3: Automation (Business Creation + Outsourcing)

  • Do things you enjoy, then eliminate or outsource the rest. Follow this flowchart:

tim ferriss flowchart

  • Find your 1,000 true fans – “It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, rather how many people do.”
  • Low prices attract painful customers – create the best product and use premium pricing
  • When validating a product ideas, you must first (1) identify your market, (2) brainstorm different product ideas (3) micro-test validation using PPC, landing pages, and/or FB advertisements and (4) automate or outsource product manufacturing.
  • Use “lose-win guarantees” such as Domino’s “delivered in 30 minutes or less or it’s free!” Shows your confidence in the product.
  • Don’t strive for perfection with the first release (or in other aspects of professional or personal life), rather strive for simply great or good enough.

Part 4: Freedom Creation

  • “Work wherever or whenever you want. It does not matter. Just get your work done.”
  • Take mini-retirements twice per year (for 1 to 4 months each) in new cities/countries around the world working remotely
  • After you start to get free time, you might become depresses because you have no idea how to spend your time. It’s like turning an espresso addict onto decaf – you’re used to going full speed. Take at least 10 minutes each day to meditate and appreciate where you are. Learn to turn down the static in your mind.
  • The Power of Why – Whenever upset or anxious, ask “why” at least three times and put the answers down on paper. Describing these doubts in writing reduces their impact twofold. First, it’s often the ambiguous nature of self-doubt that hurts most. Defining and exploring it in writing demands clarity of thought, after which most concerns are found to be baseless. Second, recording these concerns seems to somehow remove them from your head.”
  • Leave iPhone at house on Saturdays (technology detox)
  • Always remember the most important part of being alive – having fun with family and friends.