The 4-Hour Workweek
In The 4 Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss puts an end to the idea of forever putting off the pursuit of your dreams. You don’t have to wait until you retire before you can finally realize your dreams and do what you have always wanted to do. Wealth is only partly about money, and you will find that you don’t need large amounts of money for most of your dreams.[lwptoc]
Stop all multitasking immediately. Start checking email only twice a day. Go on a media fast. Hang up a “don’t disturb” sign whenever you want to.
The 4-Hour Workweek is a guide to lifestyle design. It is also suitable to read if you are not an entrepreneur. Follow the simple step-by-step plan to reinvent yourself, build a business and design your work so that you can do what energizes you.
Ferriss describes the DEAL principle, which stands for Define, Eliminate, Automate and Liberate, to escape a 9 to 5 life and live as a ‘New Rich.‘
The basis of Ferriss’s lifestyle is based on the simple principles of what WEALTH & HAPPINESS mean.
When imagining wealth, one often thinks of being a millionaire. However, when you think about what people mean by pursuing this wealth, it is not so much about having a million dollars in your bank account but having the ability to live as millionaires do. So it is all about activities and not about money.
A second exciting definition is that of happiness.
- What is happiness?
- And what makes us happy?
- Is it about having something?
- Or being able to do something?
The 4-Hour Workweek describes happiness as being equal to excitement and boredom as being a synonym for unhappiness. Do you want to be happy? Then make sure you do things that give you a buzz! Therefore, in the pursuit of happiness, replace questions such as “What do I want?” and “What is my goal?” with “What gives me a thrill?
D is for definition
The first step in creating a new lifestyle is to DEFINE what makes you happy. Ferris does this by writing ‘dream lines.’ In these dream lines, you define for yourself what you think makes you happy.
Three different categories of dreams can be distinguished: having, being, and doing.
In the first category, you write down what things give you a kick. Like having a car, or maybe a collector’s item of something you collect?
The second category includes who you want to be to experience more kick in your life. Do you want to speak a language? Write a book? Play a musical instrument? And the third category describes activities that you get a kick out of, such as places to visit or activities to perform.
After defining your dreams, it is time to quantify the costs of the different dreams. An intermediate step may be needed for the ‘being’ category to define when you have reached your goal. Ferris gives the example of learning a language, where the goal may be to have a 15-minute conversation with someone whose language is his or her mother tongue.
The remarkable thing about this exercise is that the money you need to make most of your dreams come true is not impossible to save. Moreover, over time you will find that the dreams in the second and third categories become more frequent and the first category less frequent.
The third step in the dream line describes defining actions. What actions can I take today to make one of my dreams come true? What steps will I take tomorrow? And what can I do after that? For example, you can set aside time each day to learn a language or research how best to visit your dream location.
E is for elimination.
The E in the DEAL method stands for ELIMINATE. Two topics that appeal to me most in this step are the principle of time management and the low-information diet.
People are generally paid for the responsibilities they have and the work they do. Why is it that people worldwide seem to need 8 hours a day to do this? Our world has a habit of looking at the number of hours someone is present instead of looking at the output.
Tight deadlines and using the Pareto principle can help you work more effectively. If you have one week to write a report, you are forced to focus on the basics, the most important 20% that comprises 80% of the possible result.
If you have two months for the same report, you will see that because of the 9-5 thinking, you spend much more time on the report without adding much extra value. We fill up our time, and that’s not a good sign.
Besides eliminating the 80% of things you do at work that barely contribute to your output, the second step is to eliminate things within the rest of your time allocation.
How do you spend your free time every evening and weekend? And which of those activities contribute to your dreams? Eliminate activities that do not directly contribute to your dream lines. An exciting start is to look at the information we constantly receive, for example, through television or social media. Dutch people watch an average of 3 hours of television per day, which could potentially be used more intelligently to become happier.
Ferriss describes that with every source of information, you should consider whether you need the information immediately and/or whether it is important to have the information. Besides watching television, reading newspapers and magazines, surfing the Internet and reading books can also be considered.
A is for automation
The third step of DEAL is AUTOMATIC, in which Ferriss describes tips to eliminate or outsource as much work as possible that does not add value to your dreams. Ferriss’ starting point is that work does not give satisfaction, and therefore the ultimate goal might be to reduce your workweek to 4 hours to free up time for other things. Since most people work for a boss, it would be easier to find a job that gives you satisfaction.
In that way, you can get a kick out of your work every day!
You could also hire a virtual assistant.
A lot of work can be outsourced to virtual assistants.
L is for liberation
Finally, the L stands for LIBERATION. Ferris describes planning several mini-retirements to test how you prefer to live. Instead of waiting until you have worked 9 to 5 for many years to do what gives you a buzz finally, you should do it as soon as possible!
The final step is to free yourself from physical and mental restrictions.
Escape the office
Do small experiments to prove to your boss that you can work remotely. Through covid-lockdown many, more people understand that working outside an office can also be productive.
Ferriss describes a precise plan to convince your boss to work location-independently.
Make use of mini-retirement
Retirement at the end of your working life is an outdated concept. You probably have less energy. Instead, take a few months off to make sure you are fully charged. This kind of mini-retirement allows you to spend your earned money on memorable experiences.
The 4-Hour Workweek is not about working four hours a week.
Unlike the title suggests, the book teaches you three things: let go of the 9-to-5 mentality, live where you want to, and be happily rich. It is about organizing your work differently and looking at money differently.
Although any sane person also understands that becoming successful four hours a week is not for everyone. It’s about focusing on important things, outsourcing what you can outsource, letting others work for you who do it cheaper, working independent of time and location, and above all, enjoying the time you have left.
It is a book that motivates you to think about how you spend your time at home and work.
Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek has helped me to let go of the 9-to-5 mentality. I’m going to do my work where and when I want. I am going to cut out and outsource. And more importantly: I realize that I am happily rich.