How I Work: The 4-Hour Workweek



Be sure to check out this month’s issue (May 2007) of Fortune Small Business, where I am profiled in the “How I Work” section. It covers how I limit information intake, fire customers, control voicemail, and otherwise dodge bullets to do one of the things I enjoy most: MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) with professional UFC fighters.

Blame it on my mother, who put me in “kid wrestling” at age 8 to drain the hyperactivity out of me and avoid Tasmanian Devil action at home. It worked like a charm but forever gave me the neck thickness of a small cow.

Getting punched and thrown isn’t everyone’s idea of fun (for those fans out there, my favorite fighter of all-time is Kasushi Sakuraba), but fun is what you make of it. The one ingredient you cannot do without? Time. Learn how to create more of it and do what you want — take a glance at the digital version of this article for free (beginning on page 47).

Adriaaaaaan! ;)

Posted on: April 27, 2007.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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63 comments on “How I Work: The 4-Hour Workweek

  1. M, where do I know you from? Correct you are! I was born prematurely and my left lung collapsed due to insufficient surfactant (, which means I effectively have one lung for exercise.

    So, how do I have the stamina for an extended bout? I need to train intelligently to increase capillary density, but more important, I need to avoid overheating. Just like dogs, humans actually dissapate a good deal of heat through respiration. Since my cooling system is cut in half, I can suffer from heat stroke at the snap of the fingers. Lots of ice water and no wasted movement.

    Craig, 4 hours is way too much! That’s why I’m hiring my Indian MBAs to write my sequel, The 2-Hour Workweek ;)


  2. Hi Tim,

    I bought your book today….very inspirational!

    I use to love putting the figure four leg lock on my german shepard….

    Talkin’ of dogs is it relatively easy to be a world vagabond with your pet schnauzer?


  3. Congrats on getting all this magazine coverage!
    Is the end of the article cut off or am I just not seeing it?

    Also, what is your opinion of professional wrestling? It’s staged but it requires great physical conditioning and performing ability.


  4. Awesome, Tim. Congratulations.

    I just ordered FHWW and am really eager to read and review. I’m interested in its applications for people like me in time-intensive helping professions. As a pastor, I have a lot of flexibility as to when I do things, but the relational part of my work is a bit like parenting: you can only expedite or outsource so much. I do think, however, wisely applied, many of your ideas will be transferable.

    I’ve learned a great deal from you already, and have half a dozen things I’m eager to try. Thanks for an inspiring example.


  5. Thanks for the link to the digital version of the article. That is greatly appreciated! BTW, where have you been when I needed this info 15 years ago at age 20!?! :0) Waiting (somewhat patiently) for your book from Amazon, but am chomping at the bit to get it. From your recorded talk (downloaded from your site) and what I’ve read in your blog and that article, everything I’m hearing is resonating within me on a deep, deep level… like this is the info I’ve been waiting to hear. (And, unfortunately, had to miss your call with Yanik last night. If you or he recorded it, would love to hear that.) Already implementing ideas from the notes I took from your speech… already on your low-carb diet (from your blog… and I’m shocked at how fast I’m losing BF!)… and, well, I can’t say enough about the new info I’m gaining from you. I’ll stop gushing now and go wait by my mailbox to get your book! Have a great one!


  6. That is an interesting article. I’ve been doing a similar system with email (except the outsourcing part) and it works very well. Still fighting the email addiction, though!


  7. Saku is one of the greats. He brought an unusual style to MMA back when it needed it. I missed your talk at SXSW, but I did catch the podcast when I got back. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the book.


  8. Thanks for the comments! Here’s a quick run-down, as I’m in NYC for radio and running around:

    Peter: vagabonding with pets can certainly be done (mini-retirement relocations are easier), but it’s much easier in pet-friendly countries (Germany vs. China).

    Chris: Pro wrestling requires serious athletic skill, especially the acrobatics. I know Daniel Puder, who won “Tough Enough” and he is amazing.

    Virginia: Thanks for the correction. I need more caffeine ;)

    Mark, thank you for writing. I am familiar with your situation, as I’m a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, so I see a lot of “compassion fatigue” and related issues. I hope to address this in future posts, but here’s the upshot: you are fortunate to be doing what you love, so the question isn’t how to do it as little as possible, but how to avoid doing it excessively to burnout. This is true with editors in publishing, as well, for example. The principles on this site and in the book should help you get closer to that goal.

    Michael, great suggestion on the RSS comment feed. I’ll check into it!

    And to all: thanks again for participating in the dialogue! It’s all I want people to do: to talk about the challenges and realize that, in fact, they are not alone.

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  9. You can download Tim’s audiobook immediately after purchasing… no waiting for Amazon to deliver. I bought both so that I could have instant gratification with the audiobook and the hard copy for perusing later…. ahhhh… the joy of having choices!


  10. Hi Tim,

    I just heard you yesterday on Yanik’s call, great stuff, I think a lot of people will agree that the email tips are top notch.

    I started the fastest growing online community for real estate investors, We have thousands of members across the country and I would love to set up a conference call with you and our members as well as have an opportunity to speak with you as I’m an avid adventurer as well.

    In the meantime, check out our site and we’ll be touch. Congrats on beating Potter, he’s kind of a punk anyways. :)



  11. Pingback: Chris Schooley
  12. Tim,

    You’re exactly right. Burnout avoidance is the thing. And I am very lucky to get paid for doing what I love. I have big plans to share your book and ideas in my network.

    I look forward to more from you. Keep up the good work!