The 4 Hour Workweek Series: What to work on from 9-5

What are you working on?

When I started this post, I thought that I was going to make it about how Tim Ferriss is the typified example of The Sovereign Individual. But as I went down that road, I realized that it would be better for you to draw those conclusions and not me.

When I restarted writing this post I decided to break down the concepts that I have learned from the 4-Hour Workweek into a series of thoughts that will help me convey what I learned. Hopefully it will make it easier for you implement those ideas.

The first place that I want you to start is by challenging an assumption that we all have. It isn’t your fault if you still have this assumption, most people continue to struggle with escaping this assumption. I struggle with it all the time too.

Do you need 8 hours each day to do your work?

This basic assumption, which is a “dinosaur” of the previous industrial age, continues to run rampant in this world. For most, I would assume that they would answer that 8 hours a day isn’t enough to get everything done.

Today I want you to consider this assumption and how I want you to approach reconsidering it is in the following fashion.

Take a piece of paper, draw a line dividing it in half, and I want you to write down all the things that you would say are the responsibilities/tasks/roles of your job. And if listing every one takes two pieces of paper, take two. But I want you to be absolutely clear with your self on what your work is really about.

Do not go one step further into this idea until you have finished your list.

Okay, I am going to assume that you were good and you actually did the assignment. You now have a nearly exhaustive list covering everything that you call your work. Congrats, doing this one step will clarify more about your world view than almost anything I could tell you to do.

Now, you have the list and you are ready for the “big-tada” of the post. What I want you to do is I want you to count the entire list. How many entries are there? If you forgot a couple along the way, include them; ultimately, I want you to be able to write down how many roles/tasks/responsibilities you have. Do you have 10 or do you have 100?

Okay, so take that number (10 or 100) and I want you to times it by 20% (0.2). In the case of 10 you would have 2 and in the case of 100 you would have 20. If you have a fraction, round down. But you get the idea, we are determining the most important 20% of your work. To do that, I want you to circle the 20% of roles/tasks/responsibilities that are a must for you to continue getting paid. Once you are done circling those items, I want you to re-write them on the other half of the sheet of paper.

For now, there isn’t much that you need to do other than be aware of what this 20% as you go about your day today. I want you to carry this list with you, and look at it over lunch, or more often if possible, and I want you to ask your self:

Am I focused on the 20% that matters more, or the 80% that matters less?

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