More than a 4 hour work week

By David Crandall
Failure is not an option if you want to win

Eliminate failure from your vocabulary...and run! (source: thelastminute)

It’s more than just 4 hours!

Tim Ferriss’s book “The Four Hour Work Week” opened my eyes to the concept of location independence and the idea that the template life is not the only option. The point is that you can eliminate and spend only minimal time on the stuff you don’t like.

However, despite its name, the author never says that you can be rich and travel the world working only four hours a week. Too many people read the title and think, “I can work less than 1/10 of my current schedule and have my dream life!” THEY ARE WRONG! That’s laziness and it doesn’t get you much of anything except poorer.

His book is great but you’re still going to have to work your ass off if you want something worth having. (I know, not a popular message.)

Which is what I’m doing.

My work week

I have a full time job, I’m married with two kids (and another one on the way), and I have way more stuff than can fit in a backpack.

To say the least, I’m not the poster child for lifestyle design (or minimalism for that fact).

But I also don’t think it is limited to people who ARE single/childless minimalists. I currently have a full time job which requires my presence at a desk Monday through Friday. Not as glamorous as Bali, Thailand, or the blogger mecca (Portland, Oregon) but I’m paid well for the work I do at that desk. That means everything I do online has to fit in somewhere amongst the family, work, sleep, commute, etc lifestyle that I have. Some things have been significantly reduced or eliminated (sleep, TV, video games, extensive social life) in order to make room for my endeavors. (PS – That’s another way of saying I’m making sacrifices.)

That means that between my two jobs (my full time job and my own personal work), I’m working on average between 80 and 100 hours a week! That’s way more than four hours.

In fact, that means that each of my weeks is more than half a year of four hour work weeks!

Some days I feel like my brain is going to explode…but I’m not giving up. My goal is to be location independent, to have more time with my family, and be financially free. That is not a cheap dream though.

What is this word “failure” you use?

More difficult than the hours I’m putting in is the mindset I’m having to develop. In fact, I’d say much of the work I’m doing is transforming old (and bad) thought patterns. The words “failure“, “can’t”, “impossible“, and many others are slowly melting away from my daily vocabulary.

There is no room left for poor thinking in my life plan.

I’ve also focused a lot of time and energy on surrounding myself with successful people and people fighting to chase their dreams; others who also refuse to use the word “failure”. You can’t do this alone.

I’ve discovered that too many people are content with getting a lifestyle design hard-on but doing nothing about it. They’re content with information gluttony as they consume content about how to live a better life while not exercising anything they’ve learned. Hoping for the right opportunity, idea, or luck they wait for someday to come along before pursuing their dreams.

Basically, they think they can steer a parked car.

Which brings me to YOU!

Either this is your first time here or you’ve hung out for a while. Either way I want to know the answers to these questions:

  • Are you just a passive consumer of information?
  • Are you chasing after your dream life even if it means sacrificing things you won’t care about a year from now?
  • Are you willing to put in the hours to make it happen?
  • Are you eliminating all of the failure words from your daily vocabulary?
  • Are you surrounding yourself with successful people?

Don’t just think about what you want your life to be, do something about it today!

What are YOUR answers to these questions?

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  • Wait wait wait…This 80 hours you speak of is WAY more than 4. If that’s true why didn’t he name it the 80 hour work week? Did he think that that wouldn’t sell as well? 🙂

    Anything worth having is worth working for. End of story. If you don’t want to work for it, maybe you don’t want it as bad as you think you did.

    • I think the conclusive research showed way more sales with 4 in the title than 80 in it. I could be wrong though. 🙂

      You are right that anything worth having is worth working for! Love that!!

  • Damn, I thought I could finally just sit around and do nothing. Hehe. It’s funny you bring this up. I wonder these days if I’m actually working more than I ever have in the past despite my insane productivity strategies and 4 hour surf sessions. My day starts at 6am when I hop out of bed and I’m always coming up with strategies and generating ideas from the moment I wake up til the moment I go to sleep. Even though my day job is 3 days a week, I’m always still doing research, understanding how to get better at what I do, and more. What I think people need to realize is that all you are really doing when you go down this path is frontloading effort and time so you can enjoy it on the back end. The people who have made it, did exactly that. For me the line between work and hobby has started to blend quite a bit. It never really feels like work most days, but that’s because I get do something I love.

    • Technically, you CAN just sit around and do nothing…just with very different results. LOL

      I know that you bust ass and I love the inspiration from it. You make time to do what you love, but your brain is always on and always thinking. You make such an excellent point that the lines between work and hobby begin to blur. Yes, you work hard…but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable.

      Funny how that works, eh?

  • You do not have to be childless, single, or a minimalist to embark on a location independent lifestyle.
    You do not have to be childless, single, or a minimalist to do what you want.
    You do not have to be childless, single, or a minimalist to engage in lifestyle design.

    You can do everything and be have children, a husband or wife, and so much stuff that it would make a minimalist cry. (I think having too much stuff is stressful though, but it makes a valid point).

    Where there is a will there is a way. Things can be easier or harder under certain circumstances, but there is always a way. Awesome to see you charging ahead though try to get some more sleep David!

    • Haha! I make minimalists cry.

      You are right that it is likely harder to do these things with a wife and kids (even if I did sell everything), but that is my life. I believe 100% that this is possible or I wouldn’t have started it. I love finding people on this journey with your excitement and energy who come alongside and encourage. Almost like you help ignite other people’s lifestyle. 😉

  • Excellent post, David! It’s really timely too, as far as I’m concerned. I also am a married father of four and don’t necesarily have any grand aspirations to be a nomad, hopping from one location to the next. I would like to spend more time with my family though, and everything you wrote about expressed my sentiments to a “t”. That’s a big reason why I find myself hanging out more online because I find alot of my associates in the “real world” can’t relate to wanting something other than the template life. It feels good not to be alone…

    • I would say to not tell my offline friends I agree with you…but I know they’re never going to see this. LOL!

      It is very difficult to try and doing something so monumental and life changing and not have people in your life that understand what you’re doing. I’m so thankful for my online relationships and I’ve even been blessed to meet a number of people face to face now, but I often really wish I had people I regularly encountered in my offline life that understood too.

      Keep at it! As married fathers, we have so much to gain by pursuing this route. And if we eliminate “failure” from our vocabulary, it is not so much “if” as it is “when”. 🙂

  • Hi David,
    I like this post. Definitively.
    I started blogging in last july… Because I want to become location independent. And you know what ? I have a full time job, 3 children at home (17, 14 and 11), an husband and a house to clean (sometime).
    Failure is not anymore in my vocabulary. It might take some time, but I will make it ! I’ll become a LIP ! And I am closer to the 100 hours week than the 4 hours too ! But you know, regularly I open my eyes at 5 in morning, and I start thinking to what I want, I start thinking to this new adventure. And in few second, I want to go out my bed quickly, do my stuff, for my dream to happen.
    Never I felt the same impatience for getting out of bed, working for my full time job 🙂

    • I love that I’m connecting with other parents. I felt like this whole niche was childless when I first got into it. Ha!

      Your statement about getting up reminds me of something I heard Lady Gaga say. She was saying that there are some mornings where she just doesn’t want to get out of bed. Then she stops and says to herself, “Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga! Get up and walk the walk today!” I think about that some mornings, laugh, and then get up. 😉

      But yes, most days, this dream is what actually gets me out of bed. HAHAHA!

  • Cracking post David,

    I may have to quote you in one of my upcoming posts with the,
    “too many people are content with getting a lifestyle design hard-on but doing nothing about it.” – classic

    You just keep cracking on the way your going and everything will fall into place for you.
    Desitiny is a direction not destination, and dude you are certainly heading in the right direction.

    • I look forward to seeing that quote in an upcoming post. 😀

      I agree that destiny is not a specific place or point in time but rather a journey. Thank you for reminding me though as sometimes I still feel like I am far from it. If I’m on the journey, then I *am* living out my destiny. Thank you for the encouragement!!!!!

  • I think there really are 2 ways to look at the 4 hour workweek. On the 1 hand, you have the whole idea “It’s not work if you enjoy it,” which means that you might be putting in more than 4 hours, but you consider it “fun” or “life” or whatever else. On the other, there’s the idea that I think is more directly explained in the book. Smartly plan something that will finance your lifestyle & then make sure it runs itself with only 4 hours of your attention each week. In the case of the book, he had a business that he did not intend to grow. Rather, it made enough money to pay for his lifestyle. As a result, I think he was literally talking about working 4 hours each week. If you take up any work beyond that, it becomes a whole new project and is really separate from his idea that 4 hours of work each week can finance your lifestyle.

    Regardless, the point you make can’t be over-looked. If you enjoy something, you should be putting everything you can into it. And, if you don’t love what you’re doing, you should probably take some of that excess time or cognitive surplus and put it toward finding what you would love to do.

    • You do make a good point. I agree that both ways of reading the 4HWW are valid. I do think there is a lot of front loaded work to get that point of just 4 hours though (I think he touched on that in the book). I fully intend to get to a point of outsourcing a lot of the menial tasks that drive my day right now so that I can get to the creative part that defines it.

      I also love your point that if you don’t love what you’re doing, take some of that excess time and put it toward finding what you would love to do. (I think Srini actually wrote a post on that today over here: Are You Willing to Make a Short Term Sacrifice For A Long Term Gain)

    • Thanks, man. You’re right. I might have been channeling Srini when I commented and I didn’t even realize it 😉

    • Based on a number of different posts I’ve seen this week, it looks like a bunch of us started thinking this around the same time. Apparently there is something to the thought that you actually have to work to get something. LOL

    • Pish posh. I demand to not have to work in order to get something! 😉

      Sidenote: I guess your threaded comments only go 3 replies deep, so I had to reply to myself.

    • I have adjusted how deep they go now. Added a few bonus levels…like a video game! And it’s free content, not one of those paid downloads!!!


  • “They’re content with information gluttony as they consume content about how to live a better life while not exercising anything they’ve learned.”

    18 months ago I vowed to stop investing in more seminars & books etc. that were trying to sell me the 1-way-to-nirvana system and only invest in things I really wanted to know (like how to set up my wordpress account for instance).

    That meant I unsubscribed from any and all ezines that made me feel badly about myself (i.e. the ones that do their best to push your hot buttons ‘are you worried that you’ll have a fat ass and no money by the time you’re 50?’)

    The result -> 18 months later I’ve launched 3 specific, step-by-step programs for amazing healers and creatives. I’ve launched a mastermind. I’ve traveled to Denver and NJ to either teach and/or read hands. I’ve been booked for several private and corporate events well in advance for the holiday season this year.

    In short, I stopped looking for answers that I already had inside and started taking action. If that’s going to be my mantra for my clients I surely MUST walk my talk, eh?

    I think the above results are all successes. Am I completely debt-free? nope. Didn’t expect that I would be in 18 months – but I practice a mind set that brings me back to NOW when I’m feeling kerflugled and then I assess and take action in the best interest of my purpose, my business and my clients.

    Thanks for reminding us to take charge and take action.

    (Oh, and I work more than 4 hours a week too – but being chronically unemployable – I am grateful to work fewer than 100 hours each week)

    • Peggie! That is so awesome!! I love that you stopped consuming and started creating! I hope that you’ve shared that success story on your blog (if not, it might be a nice encouragement for your readers). I also love that (as Milt said in the comments above), this is a direction not a destination. Your success is evident in your momentum.

      I’m so happy you shared this and love seeing things like this. It appears that you have taken charge and marched head first into action. WOOOOHOOO!!!

  • ahhhh, glad someone said it man. Just had a friend laugh at me when I told him to go buy it. He said:

    Dude you can’t just work 4 hours a week and make a living…LOL

    tried to make sense in my friend, but he’s to close minded.

    Like what Mark said, some people look for excuses to do things.

    going back to your questions:

    1) i was a passive consumer of info, until I realized I wasn’t taking action.
    2) yea I am
    3) trying to
    4) I’ve been doing this for a while, but I still catch myself using words I don’t like
    5) Well–you’re one of them.

    • WILSON!!! Man, I’m so glad to see you in the comments. I always like seeing what you have to say on stuff since I know you are busting ass trying to break free too. 🙂

      From everything I’ve seen, I totally think you are on the right track and am excited to see where you are going. You’re doing things well and showing such determination. Keep it up, friend!!

  • Joe M

    loved your post! I especially liked what you said about it all boiling down to hard work and sacrifice. I’m still really young and unattached but learning that lesson a lot. If I really want something, I have to do those two things in order to get it. This year is the first that I’ve set some goals in my life (unrelated to work) and it’s been cool to see that in the end, those two things (hard work and sacrifice) are worth their weight in gold. Thanks again, -joe

    • Young or old, the fact that you are setting intentional goals for your life is a step that (sadly) separates you from a large percentage of the population. I’m all about working smart, but it is the combination of working HARD and smart that brings those dreams and goals we have within reach.

      I’d love to see what types of goals you have and what your journey looks like to get there.

    • Joe M

      Thanks for the encouragement! As to my goals- I’m studying to be in the ministry (I’m involved in an internship at a church as well as pursuing my Masters degree, so for me, all of my goals are about communicating better with people or studying so I understand and learn more. My goals are threefold. 1) read 50 books this year (I have read 23 in the first 18 weeks), 2) create a blog to develop writing skills and learn how to build my own site (I’m currently writing startup and backlog content and designing my webpage- planning to launch Jan 1), and 3)create 5 speaking presentations and do them at least twice each (I have taught 12 times in the last 18 weeks, but only 1 of them is scripted well). Thanks again for your input. Out of curiosity, do you have established goals for the year? and if so, what are they? thanks again, -joe m

    • Dude! Seriously awesome and I love the goals you have set for yourself. We should talk soon. Feel free to email me. 😀

  • Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes. I’m embarking on a sabbatical this next year with family in tow BUT it’s not a sabbatical from work. I’ll be working what little ass I have off putting together the business I’ve always wanted. Sure, I’ll be in a tropical paradise but just ignore that for now. I’ll be working and working hard. The big difference is that I will be working hard at something I enjoy doing.

    • Matt, I totally dig what you are doing with your family. I know that you are going to be busting your ass to make this dream come true and I can’t wait to see what you do. I know you are going to rock it and I’m confident people will notice!!! So awesome!

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  • I’m willing to put in the hours to make it happen. Fortunately for me, I really, *really* love what I do. That’s what makes it easy to put in the work. Sure I find ways to minimize the work-load. But again, enjoying what I do makes it easy to put in the hours day in and day out. The difference between me and a lot of people I think is that they’re just going through the motions (and don’t really enjoy what they do).

  • As usual, I’m late to the party — but that makes for a more dramatic entrance, don’t you think?

    I’m late in another way too: as you know, I’m an old lady, lol. I’ve been realizing the past few days, thanks to several verbal spankings [including yours] that it’s time to let go of the failure mindset.

    I honestly didn’t realize that I’ve been stuck in this way of thinking for years; I just thought I was being realistic and honest. But now, having experimented with #customerlove and discovered how wrong I was, it’s time to reassess. Everything.

    Holy shit.

    • I love the grand entrances!!! 😀

      I think you are a rockstar and I love you!! I’m glad you are letting go of the failure mindset and can’t wait to see you shine even more than you do now. I know you can do it.

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  • Tom

    A 4 hour work week is morally wrong let alone practically possible. That book should be called “how to make others your slaves, so you only have to boss them around for 4 hours a week”

    • I find it interesting that you consider it morally wrong. Trying to think of which religious or moral culture views it as sinful to work only 4 hours a week and coming up blank. Oh well.

      Thank you for your input.

  • I think his point is to outsource to the max ~ pay others to do what you dont like to do and only do what you love to do. This is when you never work a day in your Life ~ this, my friends is very real. Funny, how a Book can have so many different messages. Its kinda like the Bible.. 😉

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