Jan Kubr

Posts Tagged ‘4-hour workweek’

DHH on early retirement

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2008 at 23:40

“If you come to the realization that work in itself isn’t evil, you can stop living your life as a waterfall-planned software project too.”

I think DHH read The 4-Hour Workweek..

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A book read: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2008 at 15:10

This might be a game changer for you. It opened my eyes to a few things I hadn’t been really realizing. And no, it’s not related to working four hours a week (although Tim has some good tips on how to boost your productivity).

Design your lifestyle now

The traditional career path is “study and work hard ~40 years, save a lot of money, and then retire and start enjoying your life.” The obvious problem with this is the money you saved might not be worth all that much after such a long time. Another obvious one is that you can die before you have the chance to retire. I realized this before reading this book and thought the solution to the first problem is to save really a lot of money or generate passive sources of income. And to the second one – well retire early enough. Which means working even harder.

Tim surprised me with another problem there is with this: How are you going to be able to “enjoy your life” if the only thing you did last 40 years was working 10-12 hours a day? What are you going to do? Note that it will be impossible for you to sit and be idle. If the the number one thing on your mind for the last 40 years suddenly disappears, what then? What will you use all this money for?

Tim quotes a friend of his who says that if he works 80-hour weeks for nine years, he would be making $3-10 million a year. When the author asked him what the hell he would do with the money, he said he would take a long trip to Thailand. You guess the problem; you don’t need three million to spend a few months in Thailand. And another problem: what would you do after the trip? Work like crazy other nine years?

So the biggest takeaway for me from the book is: Don’t postpone your real life. Don’t say, “I’ll only work here for a few years, save money, and then I’ll be enjoying life” unless you define what “enjoying life” means for you. Because without the definition you might very well be postponing the enjoyment forever. Try to define what your ideal lifestyle would be and think about how to make it happen. Now, not in a few years. You’ll probably realize that what you want is much less expensive than you thought.

Don’t be afraid to design your lifestyle exactly as you want it instead of what is common. Identify what the worst possible scenario is if your plan doesn’t turn out well. Often it is much less problematic than you think at first. For example if you decide to quit your job to start something else; having to find a new job is really the worst case scenario. No big deal.

Concepts and tips

Interesting is also the concept of relative income. It is great that you earn double the money of your friend, but if you need to work twice as many hours, you are equal on your hourly rate. And the friend has more spare time..

Mini-retirement. I want to do this: Work hard for a few months and then take a month off.

Oh and regarding the four hours. The book gives you some tips on how to spend only four hours a week on generating enough income that will support your other activities. (Note that the author doesn’t suggest you to work four hours a week and do nothing the rest of the time. The four hours should earn you enough money to enable you not to worry about your finances and can concentrate on what your passion is. Which might be again defined as “work” – starting a company for example.) These include:

  • Apply the 80/20 rule. Especially if you are an entrepreneur, it is likely that you spend 80% of your time on generating 20% of your income. Eliminate those 80%.
  • Have shorter deadlines on tasks and iterate. The more time you reserve for a task, the more time you’ll spend on it.
  • Delegate or outsource everything you can. Give your employees or colleagues more responsibility, don’t be a bottleneck.
  • Automate.
  • Don’t waste time in meetings and by answering emails.
  • Eliminate interruptions and multitasking.
  • Don’t work on unnecessary things just to have an excuse to put an important task off.
  • Don’t be busy, be effective.
  • Don’t work just to be doing something. Get the most important things done and save time for your passions.

The essence of 4-Hour Workweek

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2008 at 9:49

As you might have noticed The 4-hour Workweek has kept surprising me with inspiring quotes. The story below could be the summary of the what I take away from the book (was lazy to type it in, found here):

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican of the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.
“Only a little while”, the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.
“I have enough to support my family and give a few to my friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basked.
“but…what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican looked up and smiled, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The American laughed and stood tall. “Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A and can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boar. In not time you could buy several boats with the increased haul. Eventually, you will have a fleet of fishing boats.”
He continued, “instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the customers, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village, or course, and move to Mexico City then Los Angeles, and eventually New York City, where you could run your expanding enterprise with proper management.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, senor, how long will this take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years. 25 tops.”But what then, senor?”
The American laughed and said, “that’s the best part, when the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”
“Millions, senor? Then what?”
“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with you wife and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos…”