Part One – The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferris

This small series has identified the three books that I believe every leader who thinks big should read. The final book is The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. Even though I don’t fully embrace everything in it, there are some real gems and lots of great information, advice and guidance to help us become more effective leaders. I’ve not stuck to the books structure; instead I’ve picked out the six main themes I think leaders should focus on.

You’re never going to retire

For me one of the best sentences in the book, which is a theme repeated throughout is this: “How would your priorities and decisions change if you could never retire?”. Let’s just think about that for a minute. You’re never going to retire. So forget about being busy for 12 hours a day in something that you don’t really love, because there’s no end goal of retirement. Knowing that, would you follow your passions, your beliefs and your dreams. For me that answer is simple. “By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day”. This really hits home…

So what do you do for a living?

Another fantastic discussion in the book is “job-descriptions as self-descriptions”. I’ve recently reflected on this question a lot, and have come to really dislike the way in society we ask “So what do you do for a living?”. It’s a simple question, and more often than not we give our professional story. But let’s consider it a bit more. What do I do for a living? Mainly I try to be the best husband I can to my wife and the best father I can to my children. I like helping others and being involved in the community. So that’s what I do for a living, but of course I have to support this, so I have a job. I recently gave this very answer at a social event and it felt awesome! So my point – don’t let your professional life define you.

Let’s measure attention instead of time

The book discusses measuring attention instead of measuring time. Another theme that is discussed widely on professional networking sites. For the most part we still measure time, whereas what we should be doing for non-labour type jobs is measuring attention. I think the model we should employ is what industry commonly calls Results Oriented Work Environment where our performance gets measured against our results, and not how long we spend in front of a computer with half our focus elsewhere. It’s not a crazy concept, and I guarantee almost all of us put attention into our jobs outside of the 9-5 window society has created. As Tim Ferris says “any problem found in the inbox will linger in the brain for hours or days after you shut down the computer, rendering “free time” useless with preoccupation.” We’ve all been there. So my point – lets measure results. This will encourage full attention knowing that there is an end goal – the more focussed you are, the more efficient and the more productive you are, then the more free time you can win back to keep your life in balance. Remember, live like you’ll never retire…

And for the next three…

There is way too much important advice to even think I can cover the main areas in this short post, so you have to read this book! If you’re still not convinced, then see my second blog on this book where I’ll try to convince you even more.

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