Business Lessons From The 4 Hour Workweek

lessons from the 4-hour workweek |

I love reading non-fiction books, especially books about making something in my life better or learning something new that will help me. Whether it is a self help book, or a book about business, I just love getting tips and ideas that will help make my life better. 

Anyway, the sad truth is that I don't often make the time to just sit down with a good book. I really wish that I was better at this, but I tend to browse the internet or my phone instead, so the unread books just keep piling up.

Over the past few years, I have heard so much about the book "The 4 Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss, on podcasts and interviews. The title itself is intriguing, and my curiosity finally got the best of me so I decided to give it a go. I went for the audiobook rather than the physical book this time, so that I could just listen while I'm on a walk or in the shower, and avoid adding another book to the unread pile on my nightstand.

This book really makes you think about your career and/or business in a different way. Here were the top a-ha moments, as Oprah would say, that I had while reading this book:

1. Rethink Your Salary
Most people place the highest value in their career on salary. Higher salary = better job. Tim Ferris makes a point to note that often times, jobs with the highest salaries completely take over your life. He notes that most people think that they want more money, when what they really want is the lifestyle that they associate with more money; usually things like freedom and travel. You would be better off taking a lower paying job that required fewer hours, than a higher paying job that took up every second of your time and energy, in order to get the "millionaire lifestyle" that most people desire.

The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?’ or ‘What are my goals?’ but ‘What would excite me?’
— Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek

2. Structure Your Schedule
I know that I have been guilty of checking my email multiple times per day, leaving the gmail tab open, and answering emails and messages the second that they come in, even if I'm right in the middle of another task. Tim says that it's important to structure your time so that you're only checking emails once or twice per day, and then attacking all of them at once. Blocking your time out in this way makes you a lot more efficient, and most of the time there is no emergency that needs to be answered this second.

At least three time per day at scheduled times, he had to ask himself the following question: Am I being productive or just active? Charney captured the essence of this with less-abstract wording: Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important? He eliminated all of the activities he used as crutches and began to focus on demonstrating results instead of showing dedication. Dedication is often just meaningless work in disguise. Be ruthless and cut the fat.
— Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek

3. Value Your Time
One chapter of the book is all about outsourcing and virtual assistants, which I have never given much thought to until reading this book. He talks about the importance of outsourcing, and spending your time doing the things that are necessary and that you are good at, rather than every little administrative task. You have to be willing to trade control for freedom. It was a real eye opener!

If you spend your time, worth $20-25 per hour, doing something that someone else will do for $10 per hour, it’s simply a poor use of resources.
— Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek

4. Find Ways To Automate
Tim stresses the importance of setting your business up so that it can run without you. This is something that I've been working on over the last year or so. I used to do every single aspect of my business myself, but I now have an automated system for order fulfillment so that I can focus on product design and promotion. This is something that probably won't be possible for a lot of businesses, especially those that focus on handmade goods, but it's important to think of ways to free up your time as much as possible so that you can focus on what matters.

Becoming a member of the new rich is not just about working smarter. It’s about building a system to replace yourself.
— Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek

5. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
The book is filled with little challenges to help you get more comfortable doing things that make you, well, uncomfortable. The idea is that success belongs to those who are willing to be uncomfortable, ask important questions, and talk to people who can help them take their business to the next level.

A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.
— Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

6. Don't Be Busy Being Busy
Along the same lines as structuring your time, Tim writes that most people are "busy being busy", and it's important to take a step back every once in a while and figure out how you can make things more efficient.

Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.
— Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek

While this book may not be helpful for everyone, it really made me think about my time in a different way, and I found it to be quite eye opening. 

Have you read The 4-Hour Workweek? If so, what were your thoughts? What book should I read / listen to next? Let me know in the comments!

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