Wednesday, May 27, 2009

if you were organized, how little could you work?

The four hour work week, by timothy ferriss
Timothy Ferriss should fire his marketing staff. He has an interesting concept, but his marketers are delivering the wrong message.

I first heard Ferriss on NPR, talking about his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. I was drawn to the message for the wrong reasons. His concept is spot on, though his packaging is flawed.

If you judge this book by its cover, you might think Ferris is a snotty slacker (from Princeton, don’t you know), trying to avoid work while raking in millions. The author isn’t sidestepping work, but embraces enormous “outside” tasks and interests.
Ferriss lumps adults into two categories, then challenges the reader to accept their role:
New Rich: Those with options and personal goals as first priority.

Deferrers: Those work and save for long-term reward.

Ferriss challenges the status quo and demands readers address and organize their lives: Manage that which you can manage.
Emphasize your strengths, he preaches, and avoid your weaknesses.

Less is not laziness. Focus on being productive instead of busy.

Are you being productive, or just active?

Are you inventing tasks to avoid important tasks?

Ferriss urges readers to read e-mail twice a day: at noon and 4 p.m. It is the reader’s job to train those around him to be effective and efficient.

Twas this point that made me read the book after hearing the NPR interview. I’m a slave to my Outlook and Gmail inbox, and have forever believed my multi-tasking efforts were the definition of productive. Ferriss helped me understand the difference between busy and active, between busy and cluttered.

Is Ferriss a slacker? No. An ultravagabond addicted to travel? Yes.

He must be bright; he talks about making $40,000 a month on a business that runs itself. He works hard, but doesn’t want to be accountable to conventional standards and workflows. Could he make more if he stayed in one place? Sure, but then, he wouldn’t be traveling the globe several times a year.

Ferriss’ marketers present him as a vagabond, lazing in a beach hammock. I see him as incredibly organized, pursuing his life work: seeing and enjoying the world now while maintaining a comfortable income stream.

How about you: With which lifestyles and cultures do you best align?

1 comment:

Realty Secret Agent said...

I think that he is correct asking if you are busy or productive. Other gurus arrange a daily schedule in hour increments that you assign tasks. You highlight them as green (Money making activity), Yellow (Potential money making activity) and Red (Non-money making activity such as filing and maintenance.

God I wish I were more organized!