November 1, 2012, 6:00 am

Is a Four Hour Work Week Attainable?

by: MD    Category: Business
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Can you only work four hours per week as Tim Ferriss suggests? Can you totally cut back on the amount of time that you work so that you can have more fun?

I enjoyed the 4-Hour Workweek so much that I read it a few times. It’s one of my favorite books and it really changed the way that I think. I now view the work-life balance in a different light. I also totally changed my perspective on retirement.

The only problem with the book is the title itself.

The 4-Hour Workweek.

It’s very catchy and I know for a fact that it took hours of research to come up with that title. It’s also misleading. I don’t know a single person that actually has money and works less than four hours per week.

I was recently reading the following post:

Are Gen Y Millennials Screwing Themselves On Purpose? @ Financial Samurai.

This once again got me thinking about the concepts discussed in the 4-Hour Workweek and various lifestyle design blogs that I frequently read. I wanted to address one important question.

Is the idea of a 4-hour week possible? How can you make the 4-hour workweek possible? Let’s get into it…

You outsource ALL of your work.

You have to outsource literally everything. You have to outsource most of the following:

  • Responding to emails.
  • Back end work.
  • Graphics.
  • Customer service.

When working a few hours per week, you don’t have time to respond to emails or to stay in touch with anyone. That’s not for you. You have to enjoy your life.

When everything is outsourced, you don’t have to work that much yourself because you have others doing the work for you.

What’s next?

You consider work to be fun.

When you enjoy your work, it’s apparently not work. So if you enjoy writing and you write all of the time for your job, you’re not really working. You’re doing something that you enjoy. This isn’t tallied up with your total work time. This is like play time.

I sometimes skip nights out with friends to write. I justify this by telling myself that I’m not working. I’m doing something that I enjoy.

You create a brilliant idea.

A brilliant and innovative idea can make you some good money and allow you to retire early.

The problem is that there are so few brilliant ideas out there. For every million dollar eBook, there’s dozens of failed launches like my own. For every Facebook, there are thousands of dudes trying to make it in the social media world.

Everything is automated.

You have to automate every process. You don’t do anything. There are tools that do all of the following for you:

  1. Distribution.
  2. Collecting payments.
  3. Emailing the digital goods.
  4. Followup emails.
  5. Sending your girlfriend flowers on her birthday.

The good news here is that tools that can automate the whole process are pretty cheap these days (e-junkie for example, when you want to sell an eBook).

Once all of these conditions are met, you can then work four hours per week while you rock climb in Thailand and go on Twitter to brag about how many emails you have.

I hope I wasn’t too facetious in this article. It’s possible to reduce your hours worked without killing your income. You just have to be realistic with your expectations.

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Comments

by: Financial Samurai | November 1st, 2012 (9:36 am)

I think Tim the author has admitted he works way more than 4 hours a week and the title is just a marketing move no? I bump into him on occasion here in SF and he’s usually having some 1-2 hour business meeting.

I wonder if his book has done more harm than good to Gen Y?

Sam

Hey Sam, I believe that he admitted to working longer hours, but doesn’t consider it work if he enjoys it. I’m surprised to hear that he’s based out of San Francisco still. I thought he travels more?

I have my own appliance/ac/heating business.

Hourly rate is $175. Wife is attorney $400/hour. Each working 4 hours per week with no debt, 4 hours per week is easily sustainable.

I’m sure he travels a lot. I’ve just bumped into him several time where he has business meetings. So if it takes 2 hours for a meeting, are we saying he only has 2 hours left to work for the week? Of course this doesn’t work.

I do believe work is not work if you enjoy it.

I just fear that the book has really warped the expectations of anybody who has read it, and especially Gen Y since its first publication!

S

You’re right about that Sam. Have you spoken to any delusional 4-HWW zealots?

[...] 10. Is a Four Hour Work Week Attainable? @ TFB. [...]

All the time MD. I enjoy their perspectives! I just wish they’d open up and share with us their financials too.

It seems to me like outsourcing a bunch of your smaller tasks, while more efficient for you, would cost a good amount of money, so how would that balance out? I guess doing something you like wouldn’t be considered work, unless of course you’re not doing it voluntarily at that exact moment but its something you have to get done- then thats work.

[...] I Learned From The 4-Hour Workweek and Is a Four Hour Work Week Attainable? by The Financial Blogger. The Four-Hour Workweek is the fast-paced, dynamic, possibly breathless [...]

I think that’s possible for people who get stable income from business, but not for people beginning their career.

I loved his book and I found it inspiring. It can lead people to make changes in their lives. It did for me but your insurance for making enough money to retire, etc. is to make sure you are earning enough. Not everything can do that within 4 hours per week.