Most people are resigned to the 9-5 lifestyle, deferring their lives in hope that they’ll someday earn enough to retire and live their dreams. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss shows you how to reinvent your life to create time, money and mobility, so you can focus on what truly matters to you now. In this summary, we’ll give an overview of the key ideas to create your 4-hour work week and the 4-step “DEAL” process to create the New Rich lifestyle.
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The 4 Hour Work Week: “DEAL” Process
The book is structured like a detailed step-by-step guide. Here’s an overview of the 4-step “DEAL” process.
STEP 1: DEFINITION
To redesign your life, you need to break free from norms, create an automated income stream, and liberate yourself from unproductive tasks. Only then will you have the time and resources to focus on truly meaningful things in life. This starts with an understanding of the rules and objectives of the new game.
Define the New Game (and Beat the Rules)
The goal is not to stop work or do nothing, nor is it to work hard now to enjoy life later. It’s about creating the freedom of time, money and location, so you can design and live the life you want, now. In fact, time, lifestyle and freedom of choice are probably worth more than the paper value of money. Ferriss explains this in detail, along with 10 Commandments of the New Rich Lifestyle (get more details from the book or our complete 14-page summary).
Define (and Overcome) your Fears
Most of us are held back by our fear of the unknown. To conquer your fears, start by defining them with questions like:
– What’s your worst fear and what’s the worst thing that could happen if it’s realized?
– If you were fired from your job today, what would you have done to manage your financial situation?
– What’s the cost of your inaction – financial, emotional, physical – relative to the cost of action?
Define your Dreams (with Dream-lining)
Rather than focus on your fear of possible failures, you should be concerned about wasting your life doing things that bore you. The most exciting options are often also “unrealistic” ones. But, rather than dismiss your dreams, use “Dream-lining” to break down your dreams into concrete timelines and actions. Get the detailed breakdown/ steps from the book or our full book summary). This is what your dreamline would look like:In a nutshell, dream-lining involves:
(i) Defining your dream (what you’d do if you could not fail);
(ii) Identifying the 4 key and most exciting dreams, how much they’ll cost, and breaking the numbers down;
(iii) Identifying 3 steps for each of the 4 dreams.
Digest these tips at a glance with our summary & infographic!
STEP 2: ELIMINATION
To free up precious time and resources for what matters, you need to declutter your life, in 3 key ways. Read the book for a full breakdown of the tips below, or get a detailed overview from our book summary).
Be Effective: Free up your time
Busyness is often an excuse to avoid doing what we should. The book contains many powerful tips to help you improve personal productivity and achieve “fat-free performance”.
Adopt a Low-Information Diet
We are surrounded by too much (and often wrong) information which hinders productive action. Ferriss manages to keep abreast of what’s going on, without reading the news and with only an hour on his business emails each week – the key is to focus only on information that’s relevant, important and actionable.
Learn to Say No
Constant interruptions are a major time-waster. The book lists several tips on how to master your time and set the rules in your favour e.g. how to limit your accessibility, reduce unnecessary time on emails/ phone-calls, meetings, and batching repetitive activities.
STEP 3: AUTOMATION
To design your New Rich lifestyle, you’ll need a steady source of income. The conventional approach is to find a well-paying job (even if it takes up the bulk of your time). A better way is to build a “muse” – an automated revenue-generator that brings in cash without your hands-on involvement. Unlike a conventional business, a muse is in line with what you really want to do, and is less business-like.
Learn to Outsource and work with Virtual Assistants
If you recall, our goal is be able to run a business from anywhere in the world (ideally without your direct involvement). To do so, you must learn to outsource effectively. The key is to refine your rules and processes, so you can automate the process, delegate low-value tasks to focus on the high-value ones. Get practical outsourcing tips from the book or our full 14-page summary, to avoid potential pitfalls and get the best results.
Build your Muse
There are 4 key steps to finding and building your muse (this is broken down in detail in the book / complete summary):
(i) Market Selection
(ii) Product Brainstorm (know the criteria for good products, and 3 ways to get them)
(iii) Micro-Testing your products (using the 3-part strategy provided), and
(iv) Roll-out and Automation (over 3 recommended phases).
STEP 4: LIBERATION
Liberation means having the mobility to run your business from anywhere in the world. This involves 3 key components or phases.
Free yourself geographically
If you are an entrepreneur, you’ll need to free yourself from the “boss mentality”, and remove constraints that tie you to a fixed location. If you are an employee, the book details a 5-step “escape-plan” to gradually free yourself from being tied to the office.
Rather than do “binge travelling” at a stretch after you retire, it’s better to take multiple “mini-retirements”. It’s a lot more enjoyable, less tiring and much more affordable than you think.
Focus on Something Meaningful
Even if you are living your craziest dream – e.g. dropping everything and moving to the Caribbean – you will probably start to feel bored after a while. Having too much idle time and doing nothing can actually make you depressed. It’s better to use your free time to live fully, to do and be more, and the book offers several ideas to find what fulfills you.
Get more details from the book or our full 14-page book summary, on how to liberate yourself!
Other details in “The 4 Hour Workweek”
This is essentially a workbook to help you think about, and more importantly, take action toward your dream lifestyle. Although there are enough “how-to” tips to guide you through the process step-by-step, the biggest takeaway is probably the message that, by learning to think for yourself and break free from widely-accepted rules, you can create new options for yourself, and live an exceptional life.
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