Way back in 2007, Tim Ferriss released his best-seller, ‘The 4-hour workweek’. He proposed the idea that all of us only ever needed to really work for four hours each week. His book started a revolution of people all over the world quitting their jobs, changing their roles and restructuring their whole lifestyle in order to follow his pattern of working and living. So, does the idea of a 4-hour workweek hold up and does it still look the same as Tim Ferriss’ ideal now that we’re moving into the new world of work, over a decade later?
What is work?
Many of us would think that work is whatever allows us to bring home the bacon at the end of the day but Tim Ferriss has a whole other view on the traditional view of work. His greatest fear is that he’ll have a “tolerable and comfortable existence doing something unfulfilling”.
His book seems to spout the benefits of only working four hours a week but, if we go with the traditional view of work, Ferriss is not working as little as he claims to be – he’s actually working in excess of 60 hours a week. His idea of work, however, is that it’s the tasks that you don’t enjoy doing. This kind of work isn’t really enjoyable, it simply needs to be done and cannot be handed off to anyone else. In this case, he is only working 4 hours a week – the rest of his time is spent ‘working’ on things that he really loves doing in his job.
Ferriss has taught himself to think differently about work and make changes in his life so that the majority of his time is spent working on projects that he loves to be a part of. Thinking differently is at the very core of the new world of work – it may not look exactly like Tim Ferriss’ week, but there are ways to work smarter so that your work is flexible and full of freedom.
Learn where your time goes
All of us have things in our day that suck away our time. There are the obvious things like social media and the general chit chat of the office but there are also other tasks that get in the way, like checking your email or answering questions over and over again. The best place to start if you’re looking to be more productive and flexible in the way that you work, is to log your time over a week. Every 15-30 minutes write down what you’re working on and how long that task is taking you – make sure you then take steps to cut out the biggest time-wasters in your day. For instance, if you spend too many hours checking your email, try only checking it twice a day and see how your productivity improves.
Throw the 9-5 grind out the window
One of the biggest myths is that work needs to be contained between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Putting aside the fact that many workers are working beyond these hours, the idea that everyone’s productivity only occurs in that window is absurd. The new world of work is seeing more and more workers choosing to work at all hours of the day to suit their own productivity.
For some people, perhaps a 4am start is the exact thing to get their day off to a great start while others work better burning the midnight oil. Workplaces should be prepared to accommodate differing working schedules and more flexible hours – it may also be that these flexible hours lead to more flexible working locations.
Know your strengths
Sometimes tasks come across our desks that are either time-wasters or are not something that we should be spending too much time working out. Knowing your strengths is the first step to cutting these out of your work week – it helps you to quickly identify tasks that should not be in your day. Delegating or outsourcing tasks that can be handed over to other people is the best way to get rid of them, while still ensuring that the work gets done. For example, taking care of things behind the scenes like payroll, salary management and other back office matters can take up a lot of time, so outsourcing them will take the weight off, leaving you available to do the work that you really enjoy.
The great news is that Pendragon offers solutions for you to start creating your own version of the 4 hour work week. By stepping into your shoes and becoming your back office, we can take the load off so that you free to pursue a more flexible working week.