Lifestyle Changes: My Experience with The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

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When I started reading The 4-Hour Workweek, I instantly became VERY skeptical.  It sounded like every other sales-pitch, get-rich-quick scheme that I got too much of in college.  It sounded too good to be true, and in my experience, if it sounds that way, it usually is.  I didn’t believe that a man could offer sound career advice for the average Joe when:

A) He had never truly been poor. And

B) He’d obviously lost touch with reality a long time ago.  By this I mean that he’s lived and worked in the Silicon Valley for too long and has forgotten that the average person lives paycheck to paycheck.

I kept reading.  The book was NOT for the average Joe. The author’s ideas would only work for a specific type of person, mainly entrepreneurs and techies.  But he wasn’t suggesting everyone rush out, quit their jobs tomorrow, and start traveling the world.  Rather, he was explaining how to start removing yourself from the workplace equation, so that you could eventually either work remotely or quit your job and experience a different side of life.  Most of what he was suggesting, my husband and I have already done.

  • A year and a half ago, my husband negotiated a different work location with his boss.  We moved from the crowded, overworked Silicon Valley (California) to a small town in North Carolina. 
  • I moved all my business online, so why stress in California when I could be happy in North Carolina?  It was a no brainer. 
  • We bought a house.  My husband made himself a home office and works from home 99% of the time.  We’ve never been happier.  Our stress levels have decreased and we’ve been able to enjoy more quality time together and with our kids. Not to mention his work performance has increased.

Time Management:

I’ve read the advice to check your email only twice a day before, but Timothy Ferriss actually explains why.  He shows you how much time email can consume.  I started thinking about my email checking habits and how much time I spent on it.

Why did I check it so often?

  • It made me feel like I was accomplishing something.
  • I wanted to respond to everything in a timely manner.
  • It gave me something to do.

    But once I realized how much time I spent being “busy” without actually accomplishing anything (checking email, form responses, comments, Facebook responses, etc), I automatically started to cut out the unnecessary.  Suddenly, I had a LOT of time on my hands.  I would sit and look at my phone and think, “Well, I can’t check my email, so … ?”

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    What did I do instead?

    • I finished a new painting.
    • I got started on some ideas for stock illustrations. 
    • I created a new pattern for custom fabric. 
    • I spent more time with my kids.
    • I took cookies to some neighbors who had a kid in the hospital.
    • I made dinner every night. (My kids were previously under the impression that pregnant women can’t make food.)

    These are things that I have neglected for years because I didn’t have the time.

    Making Money:

    Next came income generation and automation.  I had ideas bursting out of my head faster than I could write them down.  I made huge lists of ideas and started working on fleshing out the best ones.  I already mentioned stock illustrations and custom fabric.  But what about everything else?

    • What about my blog?  
    • Can I make my blog profitable rather than barely sustainable?  
    • Should I write a book?  
    • What kind of book?  
    • Should I have another go at making my art profitable?
    • What would I do differently this time?

    I wrote everything down.  I implemented some changes already and others are in the works. I’m excited about my new developments and have started planning out the next few months.

    Obviously, these sections of the book were extremely helpful for me.  My husband thought it was hilarious that I would sit and read a business book the way most people read a novel, but it was good, it was engrossing, and it was useful!

    What Didn’t Work:

    I didn’t find much in the travel section to get excited about, even though the ideas were good.  The author recommends relocation rather than two weeks of travel.  Move to a new country or place for a few months, cancel your expenses at home, and save money on the lower cost of living elsewhere.  But I have spent my entire life being shuffled from one place to the next.  I’m exhausted.  I want to relocate about as much as I want a snake bite.  I want to stay in one place and make friends and let my kids make friends.  I want stability, not mobility.

    The virtual assistant section held some possibilities, but I don’t plan on outsourcing my life anytime soon.

    The Bottom Line:

    Obviously, this book won’t work for everyone, but it will work for the right kind of person.  It has some great ideas for entrepreneurs (like me), and people in the tech industry (like my husband). If you work on a computer and don’t need to be on location, then this will be a useful book.

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

    About the Book:

    The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

    Age range: Adult

    Genre: Nonfiction/business/better living

    Hardcover: 416 pages

    Publisher: Harmony; Exp Upd edition (December 15, 2009)

    Source: From publisher via the Blogging for Books program

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Synopsis:
    More than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content.

    Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

    This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
    •How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
    •How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
    •How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
    •How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
    •How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

    The new expanded edition of Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek includes:
    •More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point
    •Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal
    •How Lifestyle Design principles can be suited to unpredictable economic times
    •The latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either

    Find the Book:

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