I dare you to read this management article
Not so long ago I was living the 9–5 life. I was bored, uninspired, drained and desperate to break free from the monotony.
But I had no idea how.
That’s when I discovered a book that would change my life. The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. In it, are details about what Tim coins the “new rich” — a group of people who aren’t set with the status quo. The new rich are people who don’t want to wait until retirement to travel. People who want to live an extraordinary life now. People who believe in working for themselves, in doing what they enjoy, and in productivity above all else.
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I was hooked.
Tim Ferris’ method is fairly simple: monetise your skills without a need for your continued input. He suggests two main ways: by selling low-cost products or producing resealable content like e-books and courses. Another important aspect, which I’ll be focussing on here, are ways to automate and simplify the work life as much as possible. For me, these ideas have been life-changing.
Tim is adamant that most of us waste time on unproductive tasks, by continually doing things we could easily outsource, by constantly checking our emails, and by spending time in unnecessary meetings.
Ready to take control of my life, In 2019, I quit my job and finally escaped the 9–5. And by implementing some of Tim Ferris’ techniques, I became more productive, inspired, and fulfilled than ever before.
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Here are the Tim Ferris methods that worked for me:
Get real about what needs to be done
If everything’s important, then nothing is.
In the book, Tim asks us to get real about what really needs to be done. He suggests having no more than one important task to complete each day.
It sounds tricky, but when we get honest with ourselves, it becomes clear that many of the so-called ‘essential’ tasks we complete each day are actually products of unproductivity.
By removing extra tasks that aren’t productive, I now focus on one or two necessary tasks each day. And while I may complete additional things, I don’t even think about anything else until my key tasks for the day are actioned.
- Focus on results: leave the rest
Another key aspect of Tim’s method: getting results focussed. It’s no secret that workplaces can be incredibly inefficient. I used to work in email marketing sending thousands of emails to customers each week. Yet it only occurred to me after reading The Four Hour Work Week, that so many of the emails being sent weren’t backed up with results.
Now, at the time, I was simply following orders for a company. But, once I got control of my life, I knew that my tasks must be matched by results.
I ask myself these questions to keep my business efficient and results-focussed. Which of my tasks in leading to the most income? Which clients are most efficient to work for? Where does the majority of inbound work come from?
- Set shorter deadlines
There’s a theory, known as Parkinson’s Law, that work expands to fill the time available. Which is to say, if we have until next Wednesday to complete a task, we’ll spend much longer completing it, than say if we had to get it done by tomorrow.
To keep projects moving off my desk, I set myself short deadlines (regardless of what the actual deadline is). I’ve been shocked at how quickly I can write an article when I set myself an ‘unreasonable’ deadline. This has allowed my productivity to increase exponentially and granted me more hours in the day to do what I enjoy.
- Timeblocking for tasks
When it comes to emails, Tim Ferris is ruthless. He recommends checking email only once or a maximum of twice per day.
And while I can’t say I’ve implemented such a stringent approach to emails, I have changed how I deal with incoming tasks and requests. Instead of continually checking my email, I check my inbox every few hours. I don’t treat mail on a first-come-first-served basis anymore either. Instead, I prioritise tasks based on the timelines I set myself and what’s going to be the most productive. I also give greater weight to the tasks which provide greater results. It gives me much greater control over what needs to be done and ultimately saves me time.
- No more meetings
When I quit my job, my biggest goal was to all but eliminate meetings. And I believe the no meetings rule is one of the most important on the list.
While I haven’t been able to exile Zoom calls entirely, by holding few meetings, I can focus on being productive rather than talking in circles with people who are unfocused.
I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve sat in over the years thinking: what have we achieved here? Could this have been summarised in an email? Do all 16 of us need to be in this room right now? How much is the meeting costing the company in lost productivity?
Now, if I do need to attend a meeting, I like to keep it short and to the point. 15-minute meetings are my favourite kind. And I’m much more productive because of it.
I have greater autonomy
While I may not have cracked Tim’s method entirely — I don’t work four hours per week after all––my life has changed considerably because of it.
Overall I’m happier, more productive, and have greater autonomy over my life. And I’m continuing to refine his methods to suit me and gradually move towards a truly free lifestyle.
CONTRIBUTED BY Chloé Garnham
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