I’m an avid fan of reading and writing, I think they are both very important tools for success. Recently I started reading ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss. I’ve only read about one-fourth of the book but am already blown away by some of the information nuggets that Tim is dropping.
Tim Ferriss is an author and entrepreneur, among other things, who prides himself in finding the most effective and efficient way to do things, often using unconventional methods. Forbes wrote an article on Tim Ferriss that sums up his style and why you should ultimately do as he does. But enough of that, let’s dig into the two main methods he uses to work more effectively.
The first method Tim Ferriss uses is called ‘the low information diet’ or ‘selective ignorance’. These are two sides of the same coin and can be summed up like this: block out all the information that is not important to your goals or is not important to the task at hand. Tim recommends blocking out all media, emails, meetings, etc. that are distracting and take away from your productivity. Tim wrote his book in 2006, so this advice is more important than ever. In an age where people are addicted to their phones, social media, and get outraged by politics every other day, a productive worker/entrepreneur can’t allow these petty distractions to take their focus or precious time away. Basically, keep focused on what you are doing. Everything else is not important and can wait.
The second method Tim Ferriss uses is Pareto’s Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. This principle was coined by Vilfredo Pareto in 1896, who found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by the wealthiest 20% of the population. Pareto’s Principle has been used since then to basically show that 80% of outputs come from 20% of inputs. As an entrepreneur/worker, you need to find where most of your results are coming from and double-down on that. You can cut out the rest or use a hands-off approach. This means focusing on your biggest sources of income and focusing your attention on that, whether it is your biggest customers, accounts, revenue streams, etc.
By using Pareto’s Principle, Tim was able to double his monthly income and work less than half as much as an account manager. He found that 95% of his sales came from his top 3% of accounts. He simply stopped contacting the other 97% and worked on up-selling and building up the top accounts. By cutting out the 97% of work that was yielding very low results, he freed up his time AND was able to make a lot more money by focusing on the work that mattered. Pareto’s Principle applies to other areas of life as well, not just work. Focus on the inputs that give you the best outputs.
Tim Ferriss combined these two methods to exponentially improve his effectiveness as a worker and entrepreneur. Of course, he talks about a LOT of other methods and life-hacks in his book. I’m near the beginning of the book and am already blown away by some of the simple but unconventional advice Tim gives. If you want to be an entrepreneur, free up time for things that matter, or just be a more effective/efficient person, I highly recommend you buy ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’.
The other crazy thing is that Tim wrote this book back in 2006, when social media and smart phones were in their infancy. You could say he was a pioneer for the ‘mobile entrepreneur’ and showed that it is possible to live the life you want. Be like Tim: do the things that matter the most and cut out the bullshit from your life.