All of us have dreams. Maybe it is made of stuff like enjoying a high calorie chocolate brownie without guilt, or having so much money that.... This dream is different. It is an area where even dreams hesitate to tread...imagine working just four hours per week and making more money than you are doing now with a twelve-hours-a-day schedule. Timothy Ferriss holds out this dream. To get to the four hour week schedule takes time, but Ferriss promises getting there.
Author of the bestselling book “The Four Hour Week”, Ferriss was forced into finding a dream formula such as this when his girlfriend left him saying there is more to life than work. Ferriss stopped short in his 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. routine to think and reflect. The part on how Ferriss mended his broken heart has been left out, in keeping with the fundamental principle laid down by Ferriss: do not be a victim of the “epidemic of information abuse and addiction”. The four-minute talk on Youtube is precise and instructive.
The talk takes almost two minutes telling you what is wrong with the way our life is as of now. “Checking emails 200 times per day and having a blackberry on your dinner table or on the tube is not the way to success. Giving every person around the world immediate access to you is inviting trouble. It happened to me too. From 2000 to 2004 I was working in start up companies in Silicon Valley, started my own and worked all day...checked emails constantly, sent greetings to prospects on Thanksgiving...and the works. It was a depressing scene and unfortunately a common scene...there is more information than we can organise and time management is dead. To turn it around you have to completely unplug and reset. Take a step back. Forget about what people expect you to do, forget about what is popular and really look at what works and what is consuming your time.”
Ferriss says there are four steps to go about this. “Definition, Elimination, Automation and Liberation. Definition is simple. You first need to define your ideal lifestyle. What do you want to be doing from when you wake up to when you go to sleep. What do you want to have, what do you want to be, what do you want to do. And how much does that ideal lifestyle cost? That becomes your target. Elimination is getting rid of all the things, all the static, all the interruptions, of the micro managing of all the people possible that interfere with getting you to the ideal lifestyle. The third, Automation is by taking the few remaining tasks that are important but time consuming and delegating, automating or somehow outsourcing them.”
Now here comes a statement that gives a vivid portrayal of India as a back office haven: “In my particular case I have an army of MBA’s in India, about 25 of them who work for $4 an hour and take care of tasks that would otherwise consume hundreds of my hours,” says Ferriss who then elaborates the last step. “And then the last step, Liberation, is about the final step in lifestyle design which is mobility, and also how to use the time once you create it, which is very difficult for most people.”
Does all this really work? Can you keep the cell phone away and run the risk of missing that one opportunity that a call could bring? “I have statistics that would make your head spin. There was an experiment done in King’s College which has shown that people who were stoned scored six times more in IQ tests than those who were interrupted by emails and phones. Twenty-six per cent of the American workforce are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. So it is not a question of ‘if’ I should do this”...it is a question of ‘when’...” says Ferriss.