The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek by author Timothy Ferriss. The 4-hour workweek appears like fun fantasy but an impossible reality has given how damn busy we are every day. But in the book, Tim challenges the “I’m too busy excuse”, he says: ‘Being, Busy is only the Form of Laziness, lazy thinking & indiscriminate action.’

He says we mistake activity for productivity. We start to do work just for work sake, which ultimately distracts us from doing what’s most important and difficult. But by embracing two universal laws of productivity we could learn to stop doing work for work sake and discover how 40-hour work week can be condensed down to The 4-Hour Workweek.

The two universal laws of productivity are

1. Pareto’s law:

Pareto’s law states that the majority of results come from a select few efforts. Tim discovered the first law of productivity Pareto’s law while managing his sports nutrition company in 2004. In an effort to stay on top of everything, he worked more than 12 hours per day, seven days a week. On the verge of an anxiety attack, he decides to conduct an experiment. He simply stopped connecting to 95% of his low producing clients. And fired the 2% that were responsible for most of the angry emails and late-night phone calls he received. He shortened his work week and focused his attention on building relationships with the top 3% producers. And finding new clients that match the characteristics of those top 3%.

Tim says I went from chasing and appeasing 120 customers. Simply, receiving large orders from 8 with completely zero begging phone call and emails criticizing. My income just increased monthly from 30 K to 60 K in four weeks. And my weekly hours immediately dropped from over eighty to approximately fifteen.

2. Parkinson’s Law:

Parkinson’s law states that work expands or contracts relating to time needed to do allot for it. Tim discovered the power of the second law productivity Parkinson’s Law after finishing a paper in college. 24 hours before handing in a 30-page paper worth 25% of his overall grade. Tim had gotten calls from company, he interviewed for his paper and was told he couldn’t use the information they previously provided him. This meant his entire paper was useless.

He panicked and decided to meet his professor to ask for an extension. His professor called me observed him and he said I think you’ll be okay. With no other option, Tim got to work on a new paper. Miraculously he found interviewed and dissected a new company within 24 hours and produced the best paper of his life. He discovered that the time pressure forced him to focus on execution and doing bare essentials. Which resulted in a better product without any bloat. Say it if I provided you the work that I gave you before, you need to make the mountain out of the molehill in six days.


When we combine the two laws of productivity, we got a following realization:
  • Most of the things don’t matter
  • What needed mostly needs less time to complete than we think

If you doubt 1st half of that statement, think backward yesterday and any success that you experienced which activities led to that success. When I do this exercise, I could think only of one or maybe two hours of focus work that greatly contributed to my success. The things that mostly matters of other things I did seemed important at the time but made little difference to the end result. Now think of your life over last five years. Which decisions led you to where you are today. When I think about this, I will be able to think of just a few key decisions that led me to the books, the relationships, and the projects that made all the difference in my life. Everything else doesn’t look like to have mattered much.

You may also like: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

If you doubt the second portion of that statement think back to the last time you needed to complete your before going on a long vacation. Did it seem impossible at the time? did you get through it? I recall time when I was a project manager, an engineer working on five major projects and even get through a seemingly impossible about to work before going on the vacation at the end of the week. Somehow, I found a way to envoy tasks, I supposed I could only do and tie up loose ends that I thought would take weeks to resolve.

Much like Tim, I realized that when faced with seemingly impossible time constraints, I got zero choices but to focus just on simple essentials and be highly resourceful. And oftentimes this results in a better product. Our minds will naturally fight with the thought that many things don’t really matter and what essentially matters needs less time to complete than we think. So, we have to develop a habit of challenging us and think differently.

Each morning, get in the habit of simulating the following scenarios:
  • First, pretend you just got a major heart attack and your doctor says you will be able to work only two hours a day. Any more than that, you will have one more heart attack and die. What few things do you choose to do? What gets removed from your day?
  • For the second simulation, pretend there’s a family emergency & you have to leave the country tomorrow. No one could find you for days. What systems do you set up? what do you delegate? and what do you make sure it gets done today? despite how impossible it might seem?

By running these scenarios, each day you improve the thinking. You prevent yourself from doing work just for work’s sake. And you learn what it means to be truly effective making each hour count. With enough practice, you’ll start to see how you can turn 40-hour work week into the 4-hour workweek. That was the core message of Tim’s book. Now that you know what it means to be effective, Tim can offer you strategies to escape the 9 to 5 and work from anywhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *