The 4-hour workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek
The average working hours in the world are around 40 to 44 hours per week. The regular 9-to-5 job, from Monday to Friday. Timothy Ferriss, the author of “The 4-hour workweek: escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich”, challenges the status quo with, you guessed it, 4-hour workweek.
The typical path for people tends to be education for 20 years, working for 40 years and then 20 years in retirement. Doesn’t sound that good to me. Imagine working in a job you hate and consider retirement as the end goal, ask yourself: What if retirement wasn’t an option? How would your life change? Would you change your job to something you enjoy doing?
While my motto, somehow jokingly, has been “Work smarter, not harder”, the author also acknowledges the value of working smarter. The New Rich (NR), an idea coined by Timothy Ferriss, are the people who abandon the normal life-plan and use the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. He refers the process as Lifestyle Design, or LD in short. The simple process is split in 4 sections:
D is for Definition
Define objectives, set goals, and prioritize tasks. Less is not laziness, by doing less meaningless work frees your time for tasks of greater importance. Being busy is the trend nowadays since our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.
The chapter also handles the difference between absolute and relative income. Simply explained: Matt earns 100,000€ a year, while John makes 50,000€ a year. In absolute income, Matt is twice as rich as John. But when you consider time and money, things change. Let’s say that Matt works 50 weeks a year, earns 2000€/week, works 80 hours a week, that’s 25€ per hour. John also works 50 weeks a year, earns 2000€ a week, but only works for 10 hours a week, which makes his income 100€ an hour. In terms of relative income, John is four times richer.
E for Elimination: Eliminate distractions, learn effectiveness.
The chapter consists of tips on how to improve productivity. First, let me introduce a principle from Vilfredo Pareto, a controversial sociologist-economist, the 80/20 rule. He demonstrated that approximately 80% of the wealth and income is produced and possessed by 20% of the population. Pareto’s law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. The rule also applies widely outside of economics, from computing to sports. Timothy Ferriss utilized the law to eliminate distractions and unprofitable processes and tasks.
A for Automation:
In this chapter, the author has compiled multiple stories with one goal in mind, outsourcing. The point is to create a stream of passive income with little to no effort by being a middleman. Most of the chapter consists of the authors experience of virtual assistants or VA’s in short.
L for Liberation:
The last chapter connects the earlier chapters and ties the theory of the 4-hour workweek together. The first step to create the 4-hour workweek for you is to get out of the office and work remotely. The authors tips to start gradually working remotely:
- Practice environment-free productivity in a café for an example.
- Create an opportunity to demonstrate your remote working productivity.
- Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and ask would you trust yourself to work outside of the office?
- Practice getting past “no” before proposing.
True liberation comes not from money but from free time. The entire point of the book is to demonstrate that time is the most valuable asset to us. Time allows us to follow our dreams, whereas money acts as a resource to help achieve them.
The 4-hour workweek is one of the “New Rich books” which focus on revenue streams of passive income. Having read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” from Robert Kiyosaki, which is also a part of the “New Rich books”, I saw many similarities between both books. The latter focused more on investing and acquiring assets rather than outsourcing tasks utilizing the internet. The 4-hour workweek could work, but I don’t see it as a career for me, at least in the near future.
REFERENCES: Ferriss, T. (2007). The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. New York. Harmony; First Edition.