The goal is NOT inactivity. (Photo: the super smart and sexy Pinar Ozger)
Perhaps the most common question I’m asked is “what do you do all day?”
I was recently interviewed by J.D. Roth on his popular personal finance blog, and one of his readers wrote in with the following:
“I would like to know as best he can give, what Tim’s average NON-mini-retirement day entails.”
Here was my answer:
My days almost never look the same. I ask my assistants to avoid phone calls on Mondays and Fridays, in case I want to take a long weekend on either end, and I almost always allocate Mondays for general preparation and prioritizing for the week, then any administrative tasks that I need to handle (paperwork for accountants, lawyers, etc.).
I put very few things in my calendar, as I do not believe most people can do more than four hours of productive work per day at maximum, and I loathe multi-tasking. For example, my day tomorrow [Tim: this was about 14 days ago] looks like this, with items in my calendar preceded by an asterisk (*):
10am — get up and eat high-protein breakfast of 300-400 calories (I’m typing this at 2:22am, as I do my best writing from 1-4am)
10:30-12* — radio interviews and idea generation for writing (note taking)
12 noon — workout involving mostly posterior chain (back, neck extension, hamstrings, etc.) and abdominals.
12:30 — lunch in a restaurant of organic beef, vegetables, pinto beans, and guacamole (I have this almost everyday. Here is my diet.)
1-5pm* — write piece for The Economist (I’m not writing this whole time, but I block out this period)
5pm* — review my designer’s latest updates on planned blog redesign
5:30pm — first dinner – small
6:30-8:30pm — Brazilian jiu-jitsu training
9pm — second dinner – large
10pm — ice bath and shower
11-2am — chill out and do whatever, probably reading for enjoyment or drinking wine with friends
Before you ask “but what happened to the 4-hour workweek?!”, realize that the goal was never to be idle.
I hate laziness and make this clear in the book, the “Filling the Void” chapter being just one example. The goal is to spend as much time possible doing what we want by maximizing output in minimal time.
I don’t have to do anything in this schedule. I choose to do them because I like them. None of them are financially-driven or unpleasant obligations. If the chance to do something more fun comes up last-minute, I can cancel all of them.
Remember: having time isn’t hard nor necessarily desirable in and of itself–just quit your job and go on unemployment. It’s how you use time and trade it for experience that counts.
Posted on: March 10, 2008.
The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on iTunes, and it was selected for iTunes' "Best of 2015." Each episode deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. If you want to 10x your productivity, click here.