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4 Hour Work week

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  • 4 Hour Work week

    has anyone read this book?

    It seems pretty contradictory to GTD from what I have read so far. I wanted to see if any of ya'll have read it and your thoughts

  • #2
    Got it - haven't read it yet

    It's in my stack of books to be read. I saw the author present at the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Expo a few weeks ago and he is definitely not a fan of GTD. More like POPTDYTFY (Pay Other People To Do Your Things For You). He's a big proponent of what I can only describe as "personal outsourcing". He has his taxes done in India, his bookkeeping in some Eastern European country, etc. He only reads e-mail occasionally.

    He was an engaging presenter and friends who have read the book seem to like it conceptually but I suspect his formula is difficult for most people to reproduce or apply to their own lives.


    • #3
      I've enjoyed the book very much. It's highly entertaining and a quick read. I'd agree with Marc's comments. Some of his formula, while intriguing, will likely not be of much help to many. However, it has served as a seriously needed kick in the butt for me with regards to becoming much more scrupulous about what I allow into my life and onto my radar. One thing about GTD is I have becoming very good at managing 100's of projects, but I'm not so great at determining whether I should be managing all of them in the first place.Also, it has(at least in the short term) left me determined to stop allowing myself to be seduced by the siren song of yet another gadget/software/doodad to help me better manage those 100's of projects.
      In the last two weeks I have sliced about 1/4 of my projects off my lists and either just let them go (through renegotiation with myself of others), delegated them, or parked them on my someday list.
      And I've made some real progress in terms of the amount of time I spend reading RSS feeds and trolling forum and web sites. (This is my first time here in a week-a new record)
      Anywho, a good investment in my books


      • #4
        Why do you think so?

        Originally posted by tjisolutions View Post
        It seems pretty contradictory to GTD from what I have read so far. I wanted to see if any of ya'll have read it and your thoughts
        Originally posted by Timothy Ferriss "The 4-Hour Workweek"
        Define three steps for each dream that will get you closer to its actualization. Set actions - simple, well-defined actions - for now, tomorrow (complete before 11 A.M.) and the day after (again complete before 11 A.M.).
        Once you have three steps for each of the four goals, complete the three actions in the "now" column. Do it now. Each should be simple enough to do in five minutes or less.
        So here is the 4HWW to GTD translator's dictionary:
        • "dreams" are at the 30,000 ft. GTD level of focus (Goals and objectives) (no more than 4 active "dreams" at the same time)
        • "steps" are at the 10,000 ft. GTD level of focus (Projects) (3 "steps" per "dream")
        • "actions" are Next Action and subsequent Actions (3 "actions" per "step")
        Tim uses artificial deadlines to overcome procrastination. He also limits number of Active Projects and Actions to improve focus. And don't you think that POPTDYTFY (Pay Other People To Do Your Things For You) is the art of the extreme delegation?
        Last edited by TesTeq; 05-16-2007, 04:18 AM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
          And don't you think that POPTDYTFY (Pay Other People To Do Your Things For You) is the art of the extreme delegation?
          I haven't bought the book yet, it should eventually become a S/M, but I just don't care about it enough right now.

          What I took out of reading the web site and a few blog posts reviewing the book is that Pareto's principle (80% of the work takes 20% of the time) is alive and well. I find that in a typical 50-hour work week, I earn my salary in 6-8 of those hours - those are the times when I generate the business-changing content or strategies, or have important conversations with clients and coworkers.

          I think the 4-hour idea works well with GTD: If I do GTD right, then I will have a "mind like water" when that crisis or opportunity comes rolling in and I have to spend 60 minutes dealing with it and providing maximum value. Do that twice a week in my professional life, and twice a week in my personal life, and I'm doing well.

          Of course, I think 4 hours is an exaggeration to get your attention. I think that 2-3 hours a day is more realistic for most people.


          • #6
            I'm new to GTD and have not read the book in question, but from what has been said here I would definitely feel that it's all about how you personally approach GTD. This all reminds me of Einstein as quoted by DA "Everything should be made as simple as possible but not one bit simpler". For some people this might equal lots of gadgets, for me it equals ultra low tech. I don't think I have ever heard DA say that you should not delegate everything... but that you should choose to do, delegate or defer. Choosing to delegate everything in that sense does not contradict GTD. On top of that not everyone wants a 4 hour work week.

            That's my uneducated two cents!


            • #7
              Interesting thread. I've read the book and found it extremely interesting and useful. It would seem to me that Tim Ferriss' approach is not at all incompatible with GTD and in fact his recommendations mesh very nicely with GTD.

              The dirty little secret of GTD is that you can't really get it all done. One of the key learnings that I've had to develop in my 2+ years using GTD is that there is more on my plate than I can possibly ever do and the most important decisions I can make are what NOT to do. We say Yes to so many things we should say no to. The real value of GTD is it forces you to look at everything you have on your list. This often gets overwhelming because you have so much on your list. Say NO and take some things off your list. Applying the 80/20 rule, 80% of the stuff on your list should be either deleted or at least moved to someday/maybe. 80% of your someday maybe list should probably be deleted. GTD will force you to look at the whole list and make real, hard decisions about what you can and what you can't do.

              4HWW for me added a few key distinctions to what I was already doing with GTD. Here's what I found (and I've only been implementing this for a week):

              1. Both GTD and 4HWW recommend batch processing inbox/email. This was something I was already doing. After reading 4HWW though, I use the 80/20 rule a lot more and now when I ask the question "Is it actionable?" my answer is often much more likley to be no. "DEL" is the fastest key on the keyboard. The circular file is nearly as quick for hard copy. I've already cut my inbox processing time in half.

              2. Delegate is certainly a part of the GTD process and it is central to 4HWW. I'm delegating a lot more and looking into Virtual Assistants for some of the personal work that has backlogged. I've been acting in a very insane manner. I have billable work that I've been unable to finish because of other demands. If I can bill $60/hr for my time why am I spending time working on something that can easily be outsourced for $10-15/hr.

              3. 4HWW recommends few next actions with tight deadlines. This forces you to actually focus on what you are trying to accomplish at a higher level. This is defining next actions at an extreme.

              4. 4HWW forces you to look at higher altitudes and make some decisions. How you set things up in your life is your responsibility and 4HWW has helped me make some decisions. One thing I noticed was that on average I'm spending about 30 hours a week in meetings. most of these are time wasting and unproductive. Looking at it, and delegating some of those meetings I was able to cut that back to 10 hours a week. Huge relief. Now I'll actually be able to focus on key next actions.

              Well thats my initial take on the book. It attacks higher levels, eliminates inputs, and if you can do GTD and have built a 4HWW then you ought to have about 5-10 next actions on your list at any given time... I imagine that's quite different than most peoples experience with GTD. Its an extreme difference.

              But then Tim Ferriss seems to be a pretty extreme guy.


              • #8
                It is really extreme.

                Originally posted by jpm View Post
                But then Tim Ferriss seems to be a pretty extreme guy.
                It is really extreme. And I think his way of thinking is not applicable for 99% of people. For example Virtual Assistants cannot work 4 hours per week since Tim will not pay them enough for each hour because it would make no sense (he would have to pay the same amount of money as his calculated income so it would be better for him to do this work instead of delegating it).


                • #9
                  Well, And One of the greatest benefits of the “flattening of the world” (to quote Thomas Friedman) is the ability to leverage world-wide talent to work towards a common goal. There’s just no reason that “common goal” can’t be yours.


                  • #10
                    I read the book and enjoyed it very much. I think it is a great manifesto for those who are self employed or hoping to become so. In the traditional corporate working world there is unfortunately a certain amount of face time people need to spend in the office.

                    It does employ the 80/20 principal which I read about many years ago in Richard Koch's book by the same name. If you are interested, I recommend the original version.