Everyplace I go to read about the Four Hour Work Week (or any of Tim’s book for that matter) I find people talking about their life changing experiences. My review is no different.
This is my second time reading this book and the effects, this time, are already evident. The interesting thing about non-fiction books is the value you get changes every time you read them. Often I find (and I am sometimes guilty of this as well) that people read non-fiction books but never implement anything. I am reading with a purpose.
This book is not about working four hours a week (although it does show you how to achieve that) it is about being as effective as possible with your time. To help teach you, this Tim uses the acronym, DEAL.
D = Define: This is all about defining what success means to you. So often people set their goals based on an arbitrary amount of money but that is the wrong approach. Why do you want one million dollars? Most people can’t answer that question. You should set your goals based on a number that means something. If you outlined your ideal lifestyle, how much money do you need to make per month? Per day? etc. Thinking this way makes it easier to grasp the reality of your dreams and helps you realize that living your dream life may be less expensive than you think.
E = Eliminate: What are you doing that is not helping you achieve your goal? There are two main principals outlined here.
Number one is Pareto’s Law, also know as the 80/20 principle. Think about your business, your job, your customers, your relationships etc it is most common that 20% of your effort is giving you 80% of the results. Stop doing the other 80% unless it is absolutely necessary to achieve your goal outlined in D.
Number two is Parkinson’s Law. This is the idea that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allowed for its completion. For example, If I give you a week to do a project you will take a week because it will seem like a big important project but if I give you 24 hours to complete the same project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice to do only the bare essentials.
These ideas in conjunction will significantly increase your effectiveness and ability to achieve your goal life.
A = Automate:
After you have eliminated the portion of the 80% of the work that doesn’t need to be done you need to find a way to automate what you don’t want to do but needs to be done. Automation is one part, the other is outsourcing. In the book, Tim recommends services like GetFriday and Your Man in India but since the book is fairly old I did a little research on my own and found this list
. The real challenge comes in trying to figure out what to outsource. The first tasks should be things you have to do but hate doing (at least improve your happiness level). Next I would take a look at this list.
L = Liberate: This is what Tim outlines as the goal. Be able to be mobile. In this day and age, there is no need to have a home base. I tend to agree but I understand that is not the goal for everyone. So if you don’t want to travel the world, learn different languages, cultures, etc feel free to skip this part. Unless you work for somebody else, in which case, this section is VERY important!
This book has already helped me get closer to my goal. The first week after reading the book I have implemented a few changes that have had huge effects:
1. Batching: This simply means allotting specific time to do tasks. For example, instead of responding to emails all day when they come in I set times throughout the day to respond to them. There is no benefit of being the first person to respond to an email, I am sure there is more important work to be done. Now I respond to emails at 10 am, 1 pm and 4 pm. This allows me to focus on work that I know needs to be done rather than being responsive to other people’s needs. This is just step one, I plan to batch many more tasks that I need to do such as quoting, paying bills, follow-ups, etc.
2. Outsource to Virtual assistants: currently looking for one. I had an interview a few days ago and it went very well. I am waiting to hear if the company has any more candidates for me but if not, I am going to pull the trigger and start outsourcing parts of my life.
Other key takeaways that I haven’t accomplished yet.
1. Mini-retirements: I have said many times, I have no interest in retiring
, Tim hits that nail on the head with his idea of mini-retirements. Essentially what he recommends is to take 2-week to months-long breaks from work rather than work 60 years then retiring from work for good. The idea here is that postponing living isn’t a good model. There is no reason to be miserable for your prime years only to enjoy the bitter end.
2. Muse: This is a business that you can practice the Four Hour Work Week on. It’s not designed to become the next Facebook it is designed to help you achieve the monthly reoccurring revenue you need to live the life you want to live without too much work. Tim’s business BrainQuicken became his Muse product and although he doesn’t say everyone needs to come up with a product like this it is a great way to achieve the Four Hour Work Week he describes.
I cannot think of a person I would not recommend this book to. It is a guide to being more effective in your business. You don’t need to be a business owner to find this book useful this book can be useful to anyone that implements it. Even if you don’t think it’s possible for you to work a Four Hour Work Week in your job this book can at least help you significantly increase your output per hour you work. Give it a shot, don’t pay too much attention to the name of the book, read the contents and APPLY the principles.
Good luck and please let me know what you think!