As an employee, do you struggle to retain energy after 9-5 job? Do you feel inefficient even after studying all day long? Does your list of house chores seem endless no matter how much hours you invest?
I’m sure we all have been there. The hours that we put into work have never really shown proportionate results. To avoid this, Tim Ferris has listed out two golden rules in his book, “the four work week” which will give you an escape from your never ending schedule and give you space to enjoy other things apart from your work.
Lessons from a forgotten Italian economist cum sociologist.
I read about Vilfredo Pareto in my sociology curriculum when I was reading his theory on elites in society. The new confrontation brings me closer to his genius when I read his 80/20 rule. In his seminal work, Cours d’economie politique, it was an income distribution law that still draws it’s relevance. “Pareto’s law” demonstrates an uneven but predictable distribution of wealth in society- 80% of the wealth produced in consumed by 20%. The numbers have become even more divergent now. 99% of wealth generate is owned by 1% of population.
We aren’t interested in economics, right. So let’s understand the relevance in time management and ensuring productivity.
“80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes.
80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time.
80% of company profits come from 20% of products and customers”
So why don’t you take a moment and take a look in your life. Aren’t 80% of things done by 20% of efforts. Even working for 8 long hours, 80% of work is done within 20% time. Isn’t it relevant?
Ferriss says that realisation of this simple fact changed his life. And he suggests two steps to apply pareto to your own life. Answer only two questions
1. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
2. Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcome and happiness?
When you get the answers, try to optimising that 80% of results and that 20% effort instead of 80% effort giving 20% results.
A while ago, I was struggling in managing my time for studies. After reading this I realised I was productive only in the morning and for the entire afternoon I used to waste time only to speed up in the night when it was time to sleep. See the pattern? I got 80% studies doen in 20% time. I’m sure you will be able to figure out your 80/20.
Now the question comes, how to fix this?
Don’t worry, Ferriss has another unique method for you.
The 9-5 illusion and Parkinson’s law
I often see the twenty four coffee shops and I often wonder, who has so much time? Nobody. Seriously nobody. We all have 24 hours in which we have to sleep, work, eat, enjoy time with family and friends.
So why then we make our work like that 24 hours cafe?
Actually we don’t work for most hours when we are working. We are simply trying to keep ourselves busy. Checking email a number of times a day, laughing at memes, counting our followers criticising someone’s uploads, gossipping or anything of that sort.
“Being busy is a form of laziness- lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
Actually, lack of time is actually lack of priorities. To resolve this, we will see the second golden rule, Parkinson’s law.
Since we have 8 long hours to work, we try to fill those 8 hours with no work. Now imagine, suppose you had some emergency and had to complete that work in 3 hours. Unless very complicated, you’d be able to do that work in 3 hours too. We have 8 hours to fill, if we had more, we would have filled that too.
Parkinson’s law dictates that a task will swell in importance and complexity in relation to the time allowed for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline.
“If I give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution and you have no choice but to do only the barr essentials. If I give you a week to complete the same task, it’s six days of making a mountain out of a molehill. If I give you two months, God forbid, it becomes a mental monster. The end product of the shorter deadline us almost inevitably of equal of higher quality due to greater focus”
To emulate this in your life and be productive, set deadlines. Starting a new project in office, set your own deadline and remain free for other times. Starting a school project? Do the same.
Deadlines make us work in pressure and get the best out of us which nothing else would be able to do.
Limit tasks to the important to shorten the work, following the Pareto’s 80/20 rule and then perform the best in that 20% effort by setting deadlines.
I’m still reading this gem called four hour work week by Tim Ferris and it surprises and motivates me more after every page.
I will keep on posting more updates and lessons from the book.
Were these rules helpful? Let us know in the comment section.
Adios. Have a nice day!