Okay. So I wanted to call this post, Three GREAT business tips I got, gleaned, sifted, extracted from Tim Ferriss. Not him, literally. From his book.
In the world of online business, just about everyone I know has read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris.
It’s a big book.
A bit of a haystack, really.
But, if you sift through the chaff you can find some super sharp needles.
I don’t mean to be rude.
But sheesh. Some books need a good edit, you know?
Especially a book that’s about SAVING TIME. Wouldn’t you think it would be succinct?
But, # 1 New York Times Bestseller, so wtf do I know?
Back to it.
The sharp tips!
These tips have changed the way I do biz, run my biz, think about biz.
If you’ve got an online business or you’re thinking of starting one, these tips might help you, too.
They apply to life in general, as well.
Let me show you how!
1/ What gets measured gets managed
This is actually a quote from thought leader, Peter Drucker.
In business terms, it’s about tracking metrics. You know, operational costs, conversion rates, advertising efficiency etc
I bloody love stats, graphs and metrics!
In other words, though, this is about paying attention.
All. The. Time.
To The Right Things
Put your attention on what you want to understand.
And on what you want to grow.
Want more money? Focus on money.
Want a bigger reach? Focus on people. And on building your list.
Want to be more productive, efficient AND chilled out? Focus on Pareto’s Law.
2/ Pareto’s Law
Vilfredo Pareto. Sounds like a character from a Philip Pullman novel.
Pareto was, in fact, an economist who lived from 1848 – 1923.
Pareto’s Law is popularly known as the 80/20 Principle.
Basically, it’s this:
In just about all areas of life, 80% of results come from 20% of effort and time.
80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes
80% of company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.
Pareto applied his mathematical formula to all areas of his life not just to economics.
For instance, 80% of his garden peas were produced by 20% of the pea pods he planted…
Think about it.
How much of your day is spent chasing your tail?
How much of your time is spent following up, back tracking, overthinking stuff, second guessing yourself or running futile errands that could either be batched or, um, scratched if you just got a bit more wily?
Ask yourself, am I being productive or am I just being busy?
Says Ferriss, ‘Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.’
With Pareto’s Law front of mind, I pretend I only work in the morning.
I tell myself this every day.
It forces me mono-focus and I get a heap of IMPORTANT stuff done, lickety split.
Anything I do after lunch is a bonus.
Because I only work in the morning…
When you’re self employed it’s easy to stay STUCK in the 9-5 mindset and kinda forget you have a choice.
Remember, 9-5 is an illusion.
Some random factory owners along with some other big, smelly, cigar smokin’ dudes came up with it last century.
As Ferris points out, it’s a ‘collective social agreement’ and has nothing to do with true efficiency.
You can do and achieve amazing things AND have time to pursue other passions, just by changing your mindset and being smart (genuinely smart) with how you use your time.
(NB This is not about time management! Dive deep into the 80/20 rule and you’ll see it goes way beyond making lists. It’s really about slashing the list, stripping it back to the bare bones.)
Which leads me to…
3/ Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allocated for its completion.
Yeah. I’ve worked in the Public Service. I know all about Parkinson’s Law.
Also, if you’re old enough, you’ll remember when banks closed at 3pm Monday to Friday (and there were no ATMS). The shops (all of ’em) shut at midday on Saturday. Petrol stations had weekend rosters.
Weirdly, we all ticked along rather nicely, thank you very much.
We got our banking done.
We had food on the table and petrol in our cars.
We had plenty of Blackberry Nip to cover Saturday night…
We planned ahead.
We had tighter boundaries around our time, so the mundane didn’t swell to the point of swamping us.
Because every damn thing was SHUT, we had real leisure time forced upon us.
We literally could not fritter away our weekends by running errands or walking slack-jawed around shopping centres.
We had time to be bored.
What a frigging luxury!
Is modern life really bigger, faster, more complex?
Are we actually WAY MORE IMPORTANT than all those lovely (yet daggy) peeps in the 70s?
Or are we just inventing busywork in order to pump up our egos?
Parkinson’s Law makes me reflect on this.
For years, (way before I had a name for it), I’ve been aggressively applying Parkinson’s Law in the lead up to Christmas.
I refuse to drive at Christmas.
I bet given half the chance, even Santa would leave his sleigh in the shed.
I mean, seriously?
Who in their right mind would get out there on those hideous roads if they had a choice???
And so often we do have a choice.
Lots of choice.
More choice, more options, than we can dream of.
But somehow in the madness, the frenzy, the scramble for ‘perfectionism’, we forget who’s actually in charge.
If I can’t get what I want by walking to the local shops or making ONE (super fun, super silly) train trip into the city or by ordering online, we simply go without.
Can’t get prawns, hazelnuts, fishnet stockings, Lego, a pirate memory game or crystallised ginger without getting in the car and driving across town?
Well then, fuck it.
We go without.
(And seriously, do we ever go without? Like, really?)
If we don’t question it constantly, consumerism, the 24/7 mentality, along with ludicrous, society-imposed, mindless must-haves, will gobble up our lives like evil little Pac Men.
Thumbs up from me.
So there you have it.
Three Great Tips I gleaned from Tim Ferris.
And then embellished…
There’s HEAPS more cool/interesting/controversial/muddled stuff in his book.
But I’m a busy woman.
And so are you.
Monofocus on the important tasks, darling. The tasks that are truly going to move your business, your life and your dreams forward.
Let the rest go.
That’s my advice.
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8 Replies to “Three GREAT business/life tips I got from Tim Ferriss”
Hi Jen, l see you live in Maldon. I am at Myers Flat. Nice to know you are nearby. Cheryl A Cadzow.
Oh! That’s great! Hello neighbour!
Absolutely perfect post, Jen. I think I’m going to print this quote out: Monofocus on the important tasks, darling. The tasks that are truly going to move your business, your life and your dreams forward.
I haven’t read Tim Ferriss’s book but a month ago I read The Five Choices to Extraordinary Productivity. Look, I’m not %100 great at applying it but I’m definitely giving it a good try because there’s some great ideas in there. Maybe have a look at that one too. And, I’d class it as an easy read.
Thanks for breaking the book down.
PS. Have you read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’. Terribly written. Also a NYT best seller. *sigh* Such is life.
LOL to your PS! I think most of them are written by committees. Or outsourced! Thanks for the tips, though, will follow up!
Love this post! I’m never going to read this book because *life* so thanks for doing the hard work Jen. Must say, here’s my heavily researched indisputable tips for getting in the NYT best seller list: be a man, have a name that is easy to spell, put the word rich, or millionaire in your title. Bang. (Could truly tan have a brother, who finds gold?) bahaha
Great article. #1 – I just got the 4 hour work week for Christmas and really look forward to reading it. I appreciate your condensed takeaway… #2 – I notice you’re very intentional about breaking up your sentences with emboldened text and pictures, makes it much easier to read and focus so props to you (as good as Buzzfeed). I’ve also done something to address the short attention span of the modern reader.. “five sentence blurbs.” Would love for you to check one out!