The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

The 4 Hour Work Week

If you could earn the same amount of money that you earn now, but only work 1/10th of the time – would you?
It’s a difficult question to answer because it’s so difficult to see as realistic.
We’re so conditioned (being obligated) to have a job to pay the bills, mortgage, cars, fund retirement, that we focus on security instead of happiness. But everyone does it, so it’s normal, right?
The four hour work week is a 380 page self-help book which gives principles for living more and working less, while still maintaining the same level of income.
Early on in the book Ferriss hits us with a blunt truth that is constantly staring us in the face, but that we fail to acknowledge or perhaps take action on;
Which is the scariest thought;

  1. ‘quitting your job and doing something that you really want to do with your life at the cost of not having a stable pay check’?
  2. Continuing to work your job out of obligation for 8 – 10 hours per day, 5 – 6 days per week for a total of 45 years in an average life, then retiring after already working through your most physically capable years’.

I’ve always found it daunting to leave my job, but when put like this – continuing to work seems like the scarier option!

TCree the robot!he book is written with 4 main chapters making up the acronym of DEAL, which stands for definition, elimination, automation and liberation – a simplified system for freeing up one’s life.
Tim gets us to do a ‘dreamline‘, like goal-setting but encourages us to go for our dreams, not necessarily what we believe is achievable but our actual dreams and shows how it is actually possible to achieve them and you may be surprised just how affordable it all really is!
For example, to gain my perfect house, motorbike and lifestyle I need around $200AUD a day. Not much to be in a beautiful house by the beach!
Tim talks extensively on eliminating those things in life that we don’t really enjoy doing by looking at what gives us most results in our lives with the smallest effort. This may be eliminating certain customers who have been found to occupy 80% of your time, but who only account for 10% of your profits, hence you politely tell them to go elsewhere, freeing you up for more time, or better support to worthwhile customers.
The section on Automation is about setting up systems so that things happen in your absence. Virtual assistants, auto-responding emails, online advertising and outsourcing tasks. The goal is to become a more efficient delegator than worker.
In the final Chapter Ferriss talks about Liberation, by creating this lifestyle for yourself you open yourself up to see the world. You may be trying to create this life for selfish reasons (to own a Lamborghini, appear rich, meet your ideal partner)  or to eventually help build primary schools in Uganda, however only with your work life semi-automated will you be able to free the time to actually do what you want to do.

Out of many great tips and advice (from using fulfillment/ mailing houses to take care of ordering and shipping of products to getting help from a Virtual Assistant in India), my biggest single take away from the book was just how reachable my desired goals are. Tim isn’t promoting a get-rich-quick idea, nor is he saying you need millions to live your desired lifestyle – he’s getting you to ask yourself honestly ‘What do I want out of life?’ ‘How much does this cost per month?’. I was extremely surprised to find that I’m already earning more than I need to live my desired life from my job alone, but even better is that I’m about a third of the way there with my other website!
It just excites me and makes me want to push on harder, faster and more efficiently.

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Reading.

The Pareto Principle – This is best described by author Tim Ferriss where he says that 80% of output is due to only 20% of input.
Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

Here are a couple more examples of the Pareto principle to get you familiar with it if you haven’t yet heard of it:

  • 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers
  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.
  • 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its products
  • 20% of the features cause 80% of the usage

While speed reading about this in Tim Ferriss’ book ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ I have come to the realisation that (in the past) I was wasting so much of my time on insignificant text (I Normally read educational books, whether they are self help, motivation or financial, I find a lot of reward from them and their teachings).
I’m learning that speed reading doesn’t mean a monotonous single fast speed, it’s a matter of getting through the text to the 20% that matters and slowing down for improved comprehension. Tim himself says to practise taking only 2 fixations or ‘snapshots’ per line for 5 pages. It’s not against the rules to go back and read those five pages, however when I do my comprehension increases for 2 reasons:

  • 1. I am reading the text slightly slower,
  • 2. I am already slightly familiar with the text.

I need to go back and revisit my initial WPM (words per minute) reading time, however I feel there has been a drastic improvement. I was just able to read through 40 pages of text in 60 minutes while taking notes and visiting 2 of the recommended websites.
I also find that I have strayed much less in my reading, since I have a small purpose I’m able to focus on the text and comprehend it without my mind drifting so much.
Perhaps I’m not giving Tim enough credit and Mr. Ferris has just written some very capturing text!
Either way, I’m growing and learning – so let’s keep moving forward!

Learning to Speed Read

Robot_Toon_Character-53While I have been very busy with my day job and trying to come up with an e-mail campaign for my other website, I have managed to make time to practise my speed reading, with a bit of guidance.
I’ve signed up for a free 10 day trial at lynda.com and am halfway through a simple to follow video series by Paul Nowak entitled ‘Speed Reading Fundamentals’. It has given some strong advice and a few exercises that can be practised daily.

Taking Action

I’d like to make a point that reading/ viewing and research are far different concepts to action-taking. Even though I have started watching tutorials and have read a few texts, I am yet to take much real action. I have practised these exercises for a total of around 40 minutes over a three day period and that’s not realistically enough to see a big or lasting improvement.
So many people (myself included) seem to get a feeling of achievement out of doing the minimum. They believe that trying for 40 minutes and not being able to accomplish something is enough reason for them to say they tried but failed and begin to look for the next shiny idea.
Taking action is the next step. After reading, viewing, learning a little – it’s time to get on the bandwagon and put in some proper effort. This is a hurdle that gets so many people and is obviously going to separate the ‘doers’ from the ‘gooers’ (going to doers).

Extra

While searching on google for speed reading resources I came across something cool on a website called ‘fourhourworkweek.com’.
I instantly recognised the title of this site as my brother was reading a book entitled the same a couple of years ago when he was getting into internet marketing so I had a click around.
The link: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2009/07/30/speed-reading-and-accelerated-learning/
What I came across was the most helpful article so far and in only around 20 minutes I had managed to increase my reading speed by about 250%. It hasn’t been a lasting result, but it did give a glimmer of hope and inspired me enough to go out and purchase the 4 Hour Work Week’ book. I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and learn to speed read using this book as my material!