Who wants to have a kick-ass lifestyle where you work from anywhere in the world, work less hours and earn more money? If you nodded yes, you might want to check out the book The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (audiobook).
At Asian Efficiency we have written a lot about time management and how you can apply this to any part of your life. Whether you are studying in college, work 9-to-5 or are self-employed, all the techniques we have written about can be used in any field. While we have shown what you can do with it, the application of the techniques is really up to the reader. However, in The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim shows you how to use a variety of time management techniques to free up time and how you can utilize that for setting up an online business and location independent lifestyle.
This term, lifestyle design, coined by Tim Ferriss is all about how you free up more time to do the fun things in life and work less hours. The main premise of the books is to setup a low maintenance and cash flow positive (online) business that you can operate from anywhere in the world.
He really guides you throughout the book to use your time more effectively for this “New Rich” (as he calls it) lifestyle. What makes Tim Ferriss’ book interesting is that it is a mixture of business, lifestyle and productivity. Throughout the book he teaches you a lot of time management concepts but what sets this book apart from any other time management book is that he also shows you how to apply it to set up a lifestyle business (which he calls a muse).
The title of the book is a little misleading as you don’t actually end up working necessarily four hours a week. He defines work as anything you don’t like to do and if you spend time on something you love, it’s not really “work”. The reality is that you will end up spending more time on working on this lifestyle. However, as Tim says, if you spend time on something you love to do it’s not really “work”.
The key to “work” less is where the book really shines. It does not really tell you to follow your passions and work on your purpose in life – other books are better suited for that (like The Power of Story). However, Tim opens up your mind by explaining how money is not that valuable in comparison to time. As he says in the book:
If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3-10 times as much.
You will find out that having lots of money is not necessarily the key to happiness. A lot of people think that you need a certain amount of money to do certain things in life but the book will show you that’s not true at all. In fact, it will show you how you can enjoy a higher quality of life like those “rich people” without much money.
That’s really the essence of the book – to lead a higher quality of life that you enjoy. Time management and a lifestyle business are just a means to an end. The ultimate goal is to live a happy life. Most people make their lives around work. This book guides you on how to make time to work around your life.
Notes and Takeaways
There are a lot of great concepts introduced in The 4-Hour Workweek and this list is only the tip of the iceberg.
Pareto’s Principle – As the book became more popular, so did this concept (also known as the 80/20 rule). It’s the few critical things that contribute the most output. It’s a great way to prioritize things using this concept.
Parkinson’s Law – In simple terms, this means that if you give yourself a certain amount of time to complete a task, you will naturally use up all that time to complete it. The key is to setting strict deadlines so you don’t give yourself slack.
Combine the Pareto principle and Parkinson’s law – This is a big theme throughout the book: identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.
Low information diet – We consume way too much unnecessary information. Ranging from blogs, social media, news, and general chit chat, you need to cut back on a lot of these so you will free up time to do important things.
Basic email management – Email management is a big time wasting activity for most people and the book introduces simple workflows and ideas to help you minimize this time wasting activity (see our take on it here).
Personal outsourcing – Spend time on your strengths and things you do best, outsource the rest. Anything that does not contribute to your income is relatively a waste of time if you want to have this lifestyle.
Muse business – A low maintenance business that you can run from anywhere in the world. The idea is that you don’t run a business, you own it and use your time for other fun things that life has to offer.
You shouldn’t think that this book is a magic bullet. You will spend a lot of time on setting up this lifestyle but the 4HWW is not only a manual on how to do it but also a great inspirational read on escaping the 9-to-5 gig.
Also, this book is not for the faint of heart. Some of the tips outlined in the book can be perceived as controversial and out-of-line in order to maximize your time. However, if you apply the big ideas from the book you will come to realize that is is actually not that bad. In fact, you will be happy to push the boundaries to setup a lifestyle designed for less work, more time and more money.
We are a big fan of this book and we have many friends living the Four Hour Workweek lifestyle. We have seen firsthand (and live ourselves) this lifestyle that allows you to “work” less, earn more money and at the same time enjoy a higher quality of life. If you have any aspiration to leave the 9-to-5 world and to join the “New Rich”, you should read this book. You can grab a copy of the book here at Amazon.com (audiobook).
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