FOCUS ON Work/Life
THE BUSINESS OF LIFE
FITTING YOUR JOB INTO YOUR LIFE IS SIMPLER THAN YOU THINK.
BY KATE PAVAO
imothy Ferriss doesn’t want you
to work harder; he wants you to
work smarter—and free up your
time to do all those things you
really want to do. (Hint: it’s probably not
spending your day in meetings.) Ferriss
talks to Profit about his best-selling book,
The 4-Hour Workweek; why results matter;
and his next global adventure.
PROFIT: How realistic is a four-hour
FERRISS: It’s important not to take the
four hours too literally. That is achievable, but it’s a process, not an overnight
change. For people who are in a 40-hour
workweek, there are two ways to go. You
can use the book’s strategies to achieve the
same results in less time and then work
on creating mobility and remote work. Or
you can cut all the fat and accomplish
15 times more in the same period of
time, which is what venture capitalist Tim Draper said was possible using
this book. Of course if you produce
more results, your ascension through
the ranks—your promotions and pay
raises—will come much sooner.
PROFIT: If you’re an executive and
decide to start using these strategies—for
example, working remotely—should you
FERRISS: This book is about fostering and rewarding people who produce
results. There are always going to be
people who are resistant to change. But
resistance isn’t difficult to overcome if
you expect it and plan for it. It’s generally
very easy to get people to embrace these
approaches once you demonstrate a measurable increase in results.
PROFIT: A lot of your advice—like
sayin g that you only have a minute to talk
with someone by phone, or answering
e-mail only twice a day—may seem rude
to coworkers. Should you be worried
about the impression you’re making?
FERRISS: In some companies, the
strategies I recommend are policies.
UBS Investment Bank in Zurich allows
employees to check e-mail no more than
twice per day. But I don’t think these
tactics need to appear rude, as long as
you phrase your requests diplomatically.
If someone wants a meeting, suggest
that having an agenda will ensure that
you’re on point, or ask if there are questions and topics that you can consider
beforehand. Defining a clear end time
is also important. You can say, “I have
other commitments, so can we end at…”
and then pick, let’s say, a time that’s 30
minutes out. I’ve received stories from
employees who’ve done this very effectively, not only with coworkers but with
supervisors as well.
In every organization, there will generally be a split between people who
focus on being effective—doing the right
things—and people who focus on being
efficient—doing things well whether or
not they’re important. To the greatest
extent possible, it’s important to associ-
ate with and learn from the people in
the effective camp. The impression you’ll
make by embracing this results-driven
methodology versus a presence-driven
one is that you’re very effective and no-
nonsense, which is the reputation you
want to have.
PROFIT: Do you find it hard to promote
a book on a four-hour workweek?
FERRISS: It’s actually not. I’ve followed
the principles in the book. I’ve done
no physical book touring and no book
signings whatsoever. I was very precise
in doing an analysis on what activities I
should focus on for the best results, and
the best-selling authors I interviewed cited
book touring as the largest time consumer
with the least ROI. My main promotional
activity at the moment is one or two blog
posts per week—that’s it, besides this type
of interview. Anything that I’m doing right
now can be done from anywhere.
PROFIT: You’ve been a champion kick-
boxer and competed in a global tango
competition. What’s next?
FERRISS: I’m planning on going to
Dubai this fall to race an Enzo Ferrari and
a McLaren F1, as well as to learn Arabic.
I try to learn one representative language
from each of the major families so that I
can cluster related languages around each.
Learning languages makes you much
more precise in your English usage and
problem solving. To varying degrees, I
know somewhere between 6 and 12 lan-
guages, but I have not learned a Middle
Eastern language yet. <>