The 4-Hour Workweek describes the specific actions Ferriss took about “lifestyle design”, about creating a life that balances work and plays. Thus maximizing the positives of both.
This book “4-Hour Workweek” is the complete embodiment of the 80/20 principle into an individual’s personal and professional life.
The 80/20 principle is the idea that says 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your time, and the other 20% of your productivity eats up 80% of your time.
Timothy Ferriss argues that by eliminating 20% of productivity (Unproductive work Hours), you can live in a much more efficient way.
D is for Definition
Most of this section is devoted to divorcing yourself from the idea of working to death for a gold watch and a pat on the back. Instead, you should abandon a few concepts behind such as retirement as a holy grail and that absolute income is the most important thing in your life. Relative income – i.e., the amount you earn per hour of work – is the most important thing according to this book).
Here’s one key exercise from this section that really shows what he’s talking about. Spend about five to ten minutes and define your dream. If it wasn’t for the things you had to do, what would you be doing with your life right now? Now, spend another five to ten minutes and define your nightmare in as much detail as possible for you. What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if you followed that dream? If you take the dream and compare it to your nightmare, is that nightmare really bad enough to abandon your dream?
From there, the book goes into a very detailed process of breaking down that dream into tangibles and seeing how close you really are to that dream. Set up the remainder of the book, which identifies things you can do to reach that dream.
E is for Elimination
It focuses on some very straightforward techniques for eliminating most of the regular mundane activities that fill our professional lives.
Here are seven examples:⦁ Make your to-do list for tomorrow before you finish today. When you add an item to this list, ask yourself if you would view a day as productive if that’s the only thing on the list that you got done. Then, when you start in the morning, just attack that list with full force and focus knowing that all of the stuff is worthwhile.
⦁ Stop all multitasking immediately. This means when you’re trying to write, close your email program, instant messenger and your web browser. Just focus on writing, nothing else. This will allow you to churn out the task a lot faster.
⦁ Force yourself to end your day at 4 PM or end your week on Thursday. Even if you have to come in on Friday, do nothing (or, even better, focus on something for your self-development). The goal here is to learn to compress your productive time.
⦁ Go on a one week media fast. Basically, avoid television and nonfiction reading of any kind. By the end of it, you’ll discover that the media and information overload was giving you a mild attention deficit.
⦁ Check email only twice a day. Combining this with the “no multitasking” principle enables email to only eat up a sliver of my time when it used to seemingly bog down everything.
⦁ Never, ever have a meeting without a clear agenda. If someone suggests a meeting, request the specific agenda of the meeting. If there isn’t one, ask why you’re meeting at all. Often, meetings will become more productive or, if they were really time-wasters, to begin with, they’ll vanish into thin air.
⦁ Don’t be afraid to hang up a “do not disturb” sign. This was something that seemed very natural to me, but for many people, it’s not. If you’re being interrupted regularly by people popping in, you’re effectively multitasking which is a time-waster. So if you have a task that requires your focus, literally hang up a “do not disturb” sign. People will get the message
A is for Automation
This section describes how to become a little or no-value-added entrepreneur – in other words, a middleman. The idea is that if you set up being a middleman appropriately, you can create a stream of passive income that permits you to make money with very little effort.
It relies heavily on salesmanship (the ability to convince people you have a product that they want) and luck (stumbling into a market). If you have both, you can do quite well, but such things are never a guarantee.
L is for Liberation
In essence, it takes into account the dreams, the enhanced productivity, and the passive income and creates that titular four-hour workweek.
The first step is to change your job so that you can work remotely. You can do this by getting efficient (as described in the second step), then demonstrating your efficiency during sick or vacation leave, then requesting some time away from the office as part of your routine, then slowly and gradually shifting to an all-remote life. This way, you can tackle the work from anywhere on your own terms. Of course, this may also lead you to quit your job if you are able to build up new opportunities.
What do you do in your free time? The the entire point of this book that time is the valuable asset we have in our lives, not money. Time allows you to follow your dreams. The prime purpose of the book was about devoting more time to your personal life.