What the 4-hour WorkWeek taught me and how you could apply it
It’s been 10 years since Tim Ferriss launched his revolutionary idea of the 4-hour workweek, in which he describes a lifestyle of travel, fun and little or no work. Many millennials have picked up that idea and the term “digital nomad”, a lifestyle in which you own little and travel a lot has gained traction.
Meanwhile, many others are still happy in their offices, but some principles can still be applied even if you are working from an office and work a 9 til 5, so here are some of the principles that we can apply in our own lives today.
Only work on your core skill
We all tend to remember those times when we sucked at something, whether it was math, certain gymnastic exercises, or when we struggled to master something that our friends picked up very quickly. We tend to remember our failings way more than our successes and sometimes we might not even remember our successes. Most people tend to also emphasize their losses rather than their wins. Ever been to a birthday party where people only seem to share their complaints? You are getting the idea!
Most of the time we do not remember when we were ahead of the pack, which seems to be that we need to ensure that we remember this well. Also most of the time a school system focusses on a pass and fail, making us remember our failings but not focus on our successes.
I’d say one of the biggest focuses of the work of Tim Ferriss is that we need to excel at what we are good at already. If you constantly start focussing on what we are not good at we never achieve that thing we excel at entirely. Tom Brady makes $25M not because he remembers his failings, but because he makes a pass over long distances every time he is asked for it.
Businesses, like humans should focus on their core as well. By outsourcing every aspect of their business that is not core, whether that is mobile development, cleaning toilets, gardening or otherwise, a business can get to its core and focus on what is important to that business.
At Parrolabs we focus on our core, which is helping North American Teams achieve their goals by helping them deliver Web Development and Mobile Development faster and more efficient. That is what we are good at, and we outsource most of our other aspects that we are not hat good at. Whether that is Accounting, Marketing etc.
Many businesses are dysfunctional and even more businesses are trying to streamline processes by having an excessive amount of meetings. Try to avoid excessive meetings at all costs. Many modern businesses use standup meetings and some even use a daily standup in Slack or similar chat app. That way, a process is streamlined, but it is heavily avoided that people spend their days inside of meetings.
Work everywhere and Any moment
Granted, this is not for everyone, but we tend to stick to the notion that work should be achieved in an office and between 8 AM and 6 PM. I can tell you right now that most inventions did not take place in an office. In fact, most people who spend their days inside an office are there to service part of a process. However, with today’s smaller laptops, it would be easy for some to spend part of the day inside a coffee shop or library and get creative.
At Parrolabs, most of us work part-time from our favorite place, whether that is the Juan Valdez, Starbucks, Library or even our own homes. This way, we optimize work balance and also stay more focussed from time-to-time as working from a favorite place can mean for some that they are getting into the “zone” and distractions are reduced. That might seem counter intuitive to enter a busy coffeeshop, but imagine that your boss can walk in any moment. That would be a major distraction, wouldn’t it? That is why it would sometimes be more efficient to work from a place where there are a lot of people, but they would not talk to you personally.
Exchange a Long term Career for Short-term Work bursts
This one seems to be counter intuitive as we are always taught in our lives and frequently asked as youngsters that you should choose a career. At Parrolabs we are staunch believers that this is “BS”, as it would not take your entire life to learn something new.
If you have a work-burst that would mean that we can take a short time to achieve a lot, but also that everything you are doing is still new to you. That means you can be inventive. At Parrolabs we believe in the fact that there are frequent mini-retirements needed in our lives and that we should follow our heart. The founder of Parrolabs has done a lot of out of the box things including living in over 7 countries and travelling to many more. This all while keeping a very successful career. That does not mean that we should not take 6-months to a year off once in a while. Better plan what you are going to do the next 90-days rather than plan 1-5 years in advanced.
Get some passive income
This one might seem obvious. At a bank rate of less than 5%, it would be better to invest that money into your own activity and to get some return in a project. Some of the most used projects these days seem to be dumping some kind of product on Amazon. The return is more risky, but you will most likely get a greater return than the bank would ever give you.If you want to spread your return, you can dump a lot of products, invest in your own projects etc. That way, you can optimize your returns and again focus on what you are best at.
There are some people who make over $200K a month in Passive Income and you might not even have heard about those people. So it is certainly possible to change your life and pick up some passive income. There are many ways to do it. I would highly recommend to refrain from writing a travel blog,as nobody really cares about the travel except for you. In that case you would really need to find a niche. Other people try to sell stuff to digital nomads, which also seems a saturated market. Better is to focus on something that is not related to either one of them.