I have long been an admirer of Tim Ferriss – in particular listening to his podcast which has a range of interesting and insightful guests, including Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Tony Robbins and Caroline Paul. Having stumbled across his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, I have found his outlook on work not only refreshing but also possible.
Overarching message of the book is: don’t bother waiting until you retire to live your dream life. But do not mistake that as the goal. Ferriss instead tells us to have a number of ‘mini-retirements’ that keep you happy and fulfilled. The ‘mini-retirements’ also offer a great opportunity to step back and get some perspective on your life.
Ferriss advises that rather than getting bogged down in what you want and your future goals instead focus on what truly excites you. Make sure that you are leveraging your strengths and letting them fire you up and drive you forward, rather than denying them because of what someone else might want you to do.
Ferriss also goes into depth discussing how “busyness” and email checking is very dangerous. Being busy is usually a way to avoid doing the few things that are actually important. As a result, you can be far more productive by focusing on a select few tasks. And surprise, surprise you have more time on your hands.
A good way to help you focus your mind is by asking, “If I only had 2 hours in the day to work, what would I do?” This will allow you to create short and clear deadlines that you can stick to and essentially cut out the busyness and time wasting. Ferriss also stresses the importance of asking yourself, “am I being productive or just active?”
The downfall, in my opinion, of this book is the advice to invest in outsourcing (essentially getting a cheap virtual assistant from abroad). For those starting out in business with tighter funds, or perhaps who like to be in control this is a tough hurdle to overcome. This aside, the 4-Hour Work Week has excellent pointers, thought provoking tips and gives you permission to dream of what you will do in your ‘mini-retirement’ that’s just around the corner. That could be learning a language, gaining a new skill, thinking about your purpose in life, travelling…. What excites you? What makes you happy? The world is your oyster, so get dreaming!