Ratha (papertygre) wrote,
Ratha
papertygre

Four-Hour Workweek talk - Highlights

Via crasch, downloaded the recording of Tim Ferriss's presentation on the 'Four-Hour Workweek' given at SXSW.
Some ideas from the presentation that I found valuable:

  • Questions to ask yourself:
    • How would your decisions and priorities change if you knew you were never going to retire? - Some of us may never be able to retire because we enjoy work too much, we would be too bored. But also, holding out for a reward far in the future is no way to live your life.
    • Is your [lifestyle|business|career] scalable? In other words, can you handle success as you currently define it, without running out of resources and melting down? (Paraphrasing TF's quotation of Robert Frost: "If you work diligently for 8 hours a day for many years, one day you can be the boss and work for 12 hours a day!")
  • Parkinson's Law: "A task will swell in perceived complexity and importance in direct correlation to the time you allow it" (Tim's articulation) [This is the most immediately useful idea I got out of the talk. I'd been vaguely aware of this phenomenon for a while, but hearing it articulated was inspiring. This principle explains all kinds of otherwise baffling phenomena!]
  • Use the Pareto Principle:
    • Get rid of the 80% of your [clients|tasks|...] that are least productive.
    • Get rid of the 20% of your [clients|tasks|...] that cause the most unpleasantness.
  • If you can't measure it, you don't understand it.
  • Define the desired outputs.
  • Whatever nonmeaningful tasks you can outsource for less money per hour than you make per hour, outsource. [I had read the article The Outsourced Life when it came out a year ago, so it was not as striking an idea for me as it seems to have been for some. And other things being equal it still doesn't impress me a lot, because I don't see how you can outsource laundry and cooking.]
  • (From the Q&A session) Behaviors like checking email frequently are addictive because they make you feel important in the moment, but they drain your time and attention and thereby prevent you from doing the high priority things that make you important for real. So frequent email checking is like crack.

He also had advice about increasing "mobility," training expectations of [customers|managers|coworkers], "batching" to increase efficiency (this is similar to contexts in GTD), etc.

Tags: productivity, self-improvement, sustainability
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