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The 4-Hour Workweek, Revisited

Cheryl's Musings: The 4-Hour Workweek, Revisited

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


The 4-Hour Workweek, Revisited

Since I mentioned Timothy Ferriss's book earlier this week, I thought I should offer my thoughts on the book as a whole (now that I've finished it!) It's an interesting book. Worth reading? Maybe.

This goal of this book seems to be to move workers (both employees and self-employed) to a place where they're spending minimal time working while maintaining a reasonable income stream. Ferriss's strategies for doing this are straightforward--and he includes some useful time-saving ideas as he presents them:

  1. Work efficiently. This includes a "media fast": he advocates not listening to the news reading the daily paper, or following news online; minimizing e-mail interactions; and he'd no doubt cross blogging, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc., off his list as "time-wasters", too.

    For me, it's about maintaining mindfulness. I benefit from reading blogs and staying in touch with people (friends, family, and business contacts) on Facebook; I can also get sucked into spending too much time on these activities.
  2. Apply the 80/20 principle to your work life. That is, he advocates focusing on the 20% of the customers who provide 80% of the income while eliminating that difficult 20% who cause 80% of the problems.

    Well, since I usually have somewhere between 1 and 6 clients, I'm not sure this applies...although I suppose it could be applied to which projects I pursue. Still, I'm not quite ready to give up that freelancer mentality of saying "yes" to all work (at least, all the work I can realistically accomplish).
  3. Remove yourself, as much as possible, from the daily operations of your business (or equivalent) and life by outsourcing many tasks to overseas (and therefore inexpensive) virtual assistants.

    Um, sounds good in theory, but I don't have a lot of administrative stuff to do. What would I hire a virtual assistant to do, write my blog for me? Not ready for that. Nope.
  4. Using the above strategies, make your work life mobile and automated, which frees you to take "mini-retirements" along the way.

As I said earlier, I started reading this book with a great deal of skepticism. It advocates a lifestyle that sounds too good--and too easy--to be true. And in the end, that hasn't changed. The book's entire premise (freeing the reader to enjoy a rich lifestyle by creating a self-operational, wildly successful business) rests on the assumption that just about anyone can come up with a product to market online, producing a generous income stream to support a lavish lifestyle. That's the premise: the book doesn't say much about how to come up with this great product, but spends most of its pages explaining how to separate yourself from your new business's day-to-day operations so that you can live large.

Having seen the multitude of people hiring others to write websites, eBooks, etc., in the Elance arena, I don't think creating a salable product is anywhere near as easy as Ferriss makes it out to be.

BUT...the book has a lot of other worthwhile points to make. Ferriss's ideas about valuing your own time are terrific. He's encouraged me to take a closer look at how I spend my time and whether that "expense" is worthwhile. He also provides great info on how to outsource some of the day-to-day work of running a business. I'm not to the point where it's worth my dollar to hire a virtual assistant, but it's good info to file in the back of my mind!

Perhaps my favorite point in the whole book is made near the beginning: people don't really want to be millionaires. They want to live like millionaires, to have the time and resources to design their ideal lifestyles. I enjoyed mapping out my dreams...and discovering that I'm living the biggest one right now. I live in a lovely place, with a great family--and I get to write. Every "dreamline" I could create contains those things...and it's kind of nice to remember that.

Guess I'm already rich and successful!

:) Cheryl

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At November 21, 2008 at 1:35 PM , Blogger Yat-Yee said...

Sometimes the best thing about reading a book is not the book itself but the thoughts it provokes in us. Thanks for sharing yours, and for the reminders that we are living a dream.

At November 23, 2008 at 6:32 PM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

:) True...I LIKE books that make me feel good, but I GROW from books that make me think...whether I end up agreeing or disagreeing!


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