Can You Work Only 4 Hours a Week?

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I've just re-read the 4 hour work week. I think it's now the 4th or 5th time I've read it and every time I get something different out of it. The thing is, I fundamentally disagree with the notion that you can build a profitable, sustainable and quality business with 4 hours a week of work. From what I know, a great business takes hard work, and lots of it. However, there's some awesome ideas lying within the pages of that book.

I like to think we can achieve some sort of happy medium and take mini retirements throughout our working lives and enjoy it while we're young and have the energy instead of working 60 hour weeks until we get to retirement age of 65 and die of a heart attack.

The section on delegation and automation is fabulous. It's the reason I picked up the book again this time round. Lately I've got stuck in the rut of leaving for work at 7:30am and getting home at 6pm. With young children, it's just a silly routine to get stuck into because I have so much I want to achieve outside the walls of the office.

With a rapidly growing business though, there's just so much to do and usually, until you can afford to hire lots of amazing staff, the work has to get split between only a few people, with all excess falling on the owner. I am a hard core people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy all of the time. The upside of that is that people get way more than what they're promised and it's really fun to give people above and beyond.

The downsides are plentiful. People get used to over receiving as an expectation and it becomes the new normal which leaves you time stretched and with less renumeration that was in any projection because you're spending all the profits on giving back things that you were never meant to. It's a cycle I find myself in often and have to take stock and reevaluate and redefine a new normal.

My other favourite part of the book is the travel aspect and removing yourself from your daily environment and social norms to discover new cultures and open your mind to new possibilities. With access to internet and remote working that we now have, there's no excuse not to do this a couple of times a year. Time can go by in a blink and you want to make sure at the end that you lived the way you wanted to. That's always a good reminder for me and one we'll be putting into practice in September when we work for a few weeks from a remote town in Nicaragua.

So while I don't think that I can ever endorse a 4 hour work week for anyone who's trying to build a quality business that will stand the test of time, the book is worth a read. If nothing else, it gets your entrepreneurial thoughts firing on all cylinders and makes you question your current beliefs! Just do it your way.

Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Work Week can be found here.

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