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Appreciating the phenomenon of doing less…better

January 16, 2009

4-Hour Workweek Cover

4-Hour Workweek Cover

I listed Tim Ferris4-Hour Workweek as one of the books that I wanted to read this semester — and I finished it before classes started. Simply put, it’s a very dangerous book with some loaded information to wield while you’re in the position that I am, that of a graduating senior trying to figure out what to do next year. One of the basic premises revolves around a simple question: “Why should you waste the most energetic, most productive years of your life ‘paying your dues’ or ‘putting your time in,’ while you wait to enjoy retirement when your years and energy are both slipping away?”

As you can see, that has huge ramifications for someone trying to enter the workplace. Even the title of the book seems dangerous. But it also has encouraged me to pursue alternative careers for post-graduation (see the wine industry, microinsurance, etc.), which is healthy.

On his blog Zen Habits, Leo Babauta spends about 25 fantastic minutes with Tim. You can find his original post here, or you can download the mp3 version below.

Leo’s Interview with Tim Ferriss (turn your volume up):

I would encourage you to listen to the whole interview, as it gives a lot of insights into Tim’s lifestyle, why he began it and what it’s doing for him now. But the best nugget comes with only about 3 minutes left in the interview:

“The overwhelm will not be solved by overwork; it has to be solved by another approach.”

Tim’s talking about the over-emphasized concept of time management, which he instead calls attention management. And I think that’s a great distinction to make. How many times have you tried to master managing your time and just felt like a cartoon character spinning your wheels? Numerous times, at least for myself.

Go do something else. Change it up. Release the frustration in some other, more constructive way. Tim suggests working out, and that’s what I tend to do in those situations. Or play guitar. Anything to break up the pattern. It’s a very useful way to think, and I believe it’ll change everything about how you approach work and life.

By the way, Tim plans on releasing a new book sometime in 2010, so be on the lookout.

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