24 Hours with Tim Ferriss, a Sample Schedule

120 Comments

pinar.png
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 noonworkout 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

10pmice 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.

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120 comments on “24 Hours with Tim Ferriss, a Sample Schedule

  1. Who can disagree. The hardest part is to learn to relax into the other 20 hours after you have your 4 hours of productive work.

    A while ago I took an afternoon off from work to go to my son’s birthday party. One of his friends arrived with a babysitter and announced that “My parents couldn’t bring me because they are very busy.”

    My good Calvinist indoctrination of an upbringing whirred into action and I felt useless and disempowered. Why wasn’t I busy? Was I just slacking? Why am I not that that much in demand? Blah, Blah….

    Then in a moment of grace my Muse made me say: “Being busy is horrible. It makes you grumpy.” All the little ones burst out laughing because they knew it was true.

    Later I remembered how many times had I seen this same little guy’s father all irritated when he was dropping his son off at school in the morning. Hardly something to strive for.

    Like

  2. It’s how you use time….

    So very true. There is a mass of difference between ‘want to do’ and ‘have to do’. Nice distinction. Kinda refocused the point of the blog & book if you ask me, which is a good ting.

    People who say ‘what do you do all day?’ of people like yourself or lottery winners or the retired often, I find, have no imagination and don’t stray too far from the things they have to do.

    Mark’s Two Cents

    Like

  3. I’ve always found it interesting to see how some of the people I respect spend their days (especially if they’re likely to be busy). Especially in your case Tim, since you’re living the 4 hour workweek. I’m still personally wrestling with being able to follow an unstructured schedule. It definitely means you can get a lot more done if you want but the ability to goof off for the day is also there which makes it that much more challenging.

    Like

  4. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for showing us your sked. Very interesting. I think breaking one’s habits …whether checking email dozens of times a day or feeling the need to stick to a 9-5 sked is sometimes hard to do. And “Filling the void” is also key!

    In 2000, I excitedly outsourced most of our operations (warehousing, shipping, customer service, basic accounting etc) thinking I would then be able to get more things done. But things didn’t work out as planned. Why?

    All of a sudden I had all this time on my hands. Instead of focusing on the “big picture” and re-designing our life, I felt guilty about having all this free time. For whatever reason, I felt I had to be busy. Very busy ALL DAY. If I wasn’t terribly busy I felt guilty. So, I desperately tried to come up with a bunch of other un-important things to add to my to-do list so that I would be busy…just like everyone else. Yes, sounds a bit daft now, doesn’t it?

    So, from my own personal experience, I think freeing up time is great but it is also important to try to answer the question “why.” If you are able to free up time by using Tim’s techniques, what will you do with the time? Being idle isn’t the answer.

    EJ

    Like

  5. Nice refocusing, very to the point. Out of curiosity, have you ever heard of a book called the Young and Successful? My brother had it a couple of years ago and I started reading it recently (after reading 4HWW) and it seems to have some of the same points, just geared towards a younger crowd (so far anyway, haven’t finished the whole book yet).

    – Morgan

    Like

  6. Hey Tim! I’ve been enjoying your stuff for a while now, I appreciate it!

    Quick heads up on something I think you might enjoy – Frolicon. It’s in Atlanta March 20-23rd and it’s one hell of a party. I saw the picture of you at whatever Con you’re at and a light came on.

    Like

  7. A while back, I inadvertently walked away from a lifestyle that let me have the kind of schedule you’re talking about here. Long story. But let’s just say I let the idea that I had to make lots of money sway me.

    I think I’ll change that.

    Like

  8. Tim,

    Brazilian jiu-jitsu! Are you getting ready for the UFC? I have my son training in MMA at the American School of Matial Arts – it is Royce Gracie certified. Cool stuff. I was invited to be on the SXSW chitika beer bus with you this weekend but I couldn’t make it. I look forward to meeting you some other time.

    Like

  9. I think that girl in the background is the one that bought my OLPC and then complained it had a bad pixel and ruined my perfect score on eBay. Arrrrrrrrgh!!!

    ###

    Wow, really? Small world. If so, shame on her. That’s lame.

    Tim

    Like

  10. I read your diet and noticed that it’s okay to have white carbs after resistance training. I thought resistance training was weight training but on here it says Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. What exactly IS resistance training? Endurance training?

    Also, what restaurant can you get your organic fed beef lunch with guacamole and pinto beans?

    ###

    There is a place called “Aqui” in Campbell, CA where they serve this, and I just substitute grilled vegetables for rice. Whole Foods should have something like this as well.

    Tim

    Like

  11. Tim,

    I find it interesting that you don’t schedule your training or martial arts sessions in your calendar (no asterisk).

    Have they become enough of a habit to where you just “wing it” week by week?

    Do a lot of your activities seem to follow the same pattern?

    I ask because I’ve found that a certain level of familiarity, expertise and trial and error take an activity from “must schedule” to “I know what to do and will get it in when I can.”

    I like this instinctive style.

    Nate

    Like

  12. I remember reading that you train approximately twice per week in the gym, aside from BJJ (please correct me if I’m mistaken). Do you find it more difficult to keep up the schedule either during a mini-retirement, or when you’re on the road in general? Do you have any exercises that you would recommend when there isn’t a gym around?

    ###

    Hi Peter,

    I’ll do a post on this soon. It’s a useful topic.

    Tim

    Like

  13. I think it’s awesome how you’ve managed to separate your “idea generation/note taking” period from your actual “writing” period.

    I’m curious though: how do you manage to organize, review, and harvest good ideas from the massive amount of notes you take?

    Also, how does your schedule get changed when you’re travelling?

    I’d love to read about your note-organization-and-review ideas, and how you keep in shape/keep productive while traveling.

    Alex

    Like

  14. Hey Tim / others –

    Did you ever read “The Virtual Corporation” by Davidow (easy find on Amazon). I found it super-influential when setting up my company, and it maps well onto your book and GTD / 43folders, etc. An interesting read – written just before the internet made many of the ideas in it practical.

    – Karl

    Like

  15. Albert wrote, “Then in a moment of grace my Muse made me say: “Being busy is horrible. It makes you grumpy.” All the little ones burst out laughing because they knew it was true.”

    Truer words have rarely been spoken. Brilliant. Kids seem to understand this intuitively. Where did us grown-ups go wrong?

    Like

  16. Tim:

    Love the site. Love the book. The blog is great. Trying to unload minutia.

    QUESTION: UNRELATED TO THIS POST BUT, WHAT KIND OF PACK ARE YOU SPORTING IN THE PICTURE ABOVE?

    Chris

    Like

  17. Tim, I’m guessing from your schedule that you sold Brainquicken (not sure if you brought it up in other posts)? How do you keep up with all the questions on the comments?!

    Like

  18. Thanks for posting your schedule. It’s helpful to see what you undertake in a day.

    I have noticed that on a regular basis that I only get about 4 hours of productive work done in any one day. The rest of the time is spent socializing or other minor tasks that don’t necessarily add up to productive work.

    Lately, I’ve been undertaking a lot in each day, a full day of work and then working on my house, then working on a second job when I have the energy. Also, I have been getting sick a lot lately, I usually don’t get sick and I have had several ailments here recently…

    Our society and culture have placed the expectation on each one of us to be “at work” for 8 hours or more a day… when we take off early or don’t get “8 hours” in we feel guilty. Not that we should feel guilty, but we do anyway… None of us want to feel like an outsider so we conform to the norm.

    Thanks for posting this Tim, it is helpful.

    Like

  19. Excellent point about laziness…and was one of the best things that I got out of reading your book. It is something that believed in so much that a couple days ago my Branch manager and I had a heated discussion about what we saw laziness as. He saw my reading of your book as laziness judging by the title of the…in his own words he said “…working less than 4 hours a week, what are you 23-24?…you’re so f***ing lazy”. After hearing that I calmly closed the book and lectured him on what I perceived as laziness, to the awe of my co-workers I not only held my own against my boss, but I eventually made him see that laziness was not in enriching or trying to enrich one’s life, but in the mindless, indiscriminate action which we perform everyday in our branch.

    P.S. I am planning to very soon fire my job. More info on this later on, or check my site for details. Oh man I can’t wait.

    Like

  20. Tim, sorry to add to the onslaught of questions, but curious as to how much you read (magazines, books) and what topics? Thanks.

    ###

    Hi Evan,

    Running to lunch, but take a quick reread of the “low-information diet” chapter where I talk about this. Gotta run for now…

    Tim

    Like

  21. Yo Tim,

    Completely unrelated but can you make the links posted in your blog content open in a separate window or tab? Sometimes I click on a link while reading your blog and I get so involved in the “new content” that I forget press the “back-button” to go back and finish your post. I use Firefox so the left-most tabs gives me a visual reminder of what I was reading first. Nice redesign btw.

    ###

    Hi Dave,

    I had some wordpress issues after an upgrade and will be trying to do this for future links. Good call :)

    Thanks,

    Tim

    Like

  22. Hi Tim,

    Nice article !

    I’m a uni-student and I truly believe that 4 hours intensive work / day is the maximum. However, I have days where I have 7 hours classes. How would you handle that? What about a little article : “The 4 hour studyweek”. Maximal output with minimal output :p

    Any insights on that?

    You rock, love your book.

    Rens

    Like

  23. Hey Tim,

    Great post. If you happen to be in Tokyo March 15th-19th, shoot me an email. It’s my senior year of college and I’ve been wanting to go for years now, but I’ve made excuses up until now. I’ll be staying near Shinjuku Station and it would be cool to hang out and have a drink or two if for some odd chance you ended up being in Tokyo around that time.

    Keep up the great work,
    Jon

    Like

  24. Hi Tim,

    I’m chiming in on a couple of the above posts.

    Would be great to know more about how stay organized & focused when working towards a major goal, whether it’s writing a book or planning a major trip. Big goals & lots of steps.

    How do you stay on top of everything and moving in the right direction?

    EJ

    Like

  25. Interesting post. Inspired me to think about my own average day. But, I took a slightly different approach and examined the artifacts left by my software usage to create a more statistically significant ‘average day’. Would be interested to see a similar analysis from you…

    Like

  26. Tim,

    Two quick questions. 1.) Do you brush your teeth after drinking red wine in the evenings? I detest brushing my teeth after drinking alcohol, and thus i had to give up red wine in the late evening, because it started to stain my teeth.

    2.) I understand you are a fan of the Drs. Eades Protein Power lifestlye, yet your diet is quite low in fat. What are your thoughts on a diet high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbs?

    Peter

    ###

    Hi Peter,

    I do brush my teeth afterwards, and I find that protein is the key component, not necessarily fat. That’s been my experience. I don’t avoid good fats (I consume tons of olive oil and avocado/guacamole, for example), but I don’t chase fat either. If the protein level is high enough, I find that even moderate carb intake is allowable, though not always ideal.

    Hope that helps,

    Tim

    Like

  27. Tim,
    Thanks for the insightful post on your schedule. I’ve always had a disdain for my 40-hour workweek, but after watching people in ‘retirement’ be bored off their asses, I thought that would be equally painful. I like how your ideas bring work/life into a nice balance, and it’s interesting to see an example of that.

    One of the many things I liked about the book was the exercises on rediscovering my dreams. When you talk of a 4-hour workweek, I think everyone has a knee jerk reaction of “what would I do all day?”. However, the more you marinate in it, the more you come up with answers.

    Pen tricks, anyone? :)

    Like

  28. Tim,
    I fully agree that we should keep ourselves busy in our spare time, all the while doing things we enjoy as much as possible (which is where your concept of the 4-hr work week comes in). However, I’ve been asked an interesting question from someone who made a cursory glance through the book:

    What if someone wanted to employ your ideas of a 4-hour work week, but only to feed their vices and/or be lazy? Would the 4-hour work week concept fail at some point in their life? What if someone wanted to outsource everything, but instead of travelling and finding new interests, they wanted to stay home to sleep, watch tv, and live the rest of their life with indifference? I’d think the person would get bored over time and then seek a full-time job to fulfill their time, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on this and how such a lifestyle would impact one who has setup a muse to financial stabilize their life.

    Another way to word this is: Is it necessary to find fulfilling and/or productive things to do in your freed up time in order for the 4-hour work week concept to remain possible in one’s life? Is the 4-hour work week unsustaining if we don’t continually find new opportunities to further develop ourselves?

    Many thanks if you touch upon this subject. It’s been bothering me for some time.

    Regards,
    Alex

    Like

  29. and idea generation for writing

    That got me curious. Is this referring to the Economist piece, some other article(s), the next edition of the book, or possibly some new larger project?

    Like

  30. Tim,
    Thanks for sharing your schedule. The bit I’m most interested in is the BJJ training. I train BJJ, as well (purple belt), and I was wondering if you could give some insight as to your training methodology.

    -Do you take notes?
    -When you roll, do you have a plan for which techniques you will work on?
    -How do you decide which techniques to make part of your game?

    I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts on “Hacking BJJ”.

    ###

    Cool recommendation. If I’m training for competition, yes, I take notes. I’ll also video sparring from certain positions and tend to focus on one position (like half guard) for a week or two until I can execute a few staple moves on larger and well-trained partners. Frequent but short practices are better than marathon sessions a few times a week.

    I might write more about this in a dedicated post…

    Tim

    Like

  31. Hi Tim – It all seems like really pleasant stuff aside from the bed/sleep hours and the ice bath. Oh well, I suppose you’re young – the early to bed thing will hit you in another decade.

    Now, I’m going to try the ice bath thing and I promise to try not to flame you if it is really brutal.

    Like

  32. Do they even post comments in real time? Or does someone approve them one by one?

    ###

    Moderated one by one to keep the community troll-free :) Oftentimes with assistants, sometimes through me. I like my readers and prefer to keep an ear to the ground….

    T

    Like

  33. When do you blog? I like the consistency of your posts. Not too much, that would be overwhelming, just enough to keep us tantalized.

    I am having trouble getting into a routine on my blog.

    ###

    Hi Jen,

    I’ll be covering this at length soon. More to come :)

    Tim

    Like

  34. So, wait – when do you sleep? In the 2am – 10-am window?

    ###

    Exactly. Sometimes I’ll wake up later, but that’s the basics. If I’m training hard, I make a 10am practice so go to bed earlier.

    Tim

    Like

  35. Tim,

    This is a great post! I like the friendly reminder that we should continue to focus on doing the things we LIKE to do, not have to do throughout our days.

    I am glad you continue to talk about the necessity to take care of the body through an exercise that you like to do, and by eating the right way. Thanks for those updates.

    For those out there who haven’t tried the ice bath, I highly recommend it. Most elite football, basketball, and soccer players do this on a daily basis, or at least after games. The ideal time in the ice bath I have found is 12-15 minutes. Anything shorter than 10 mins is not going to give you the full affect. It will seem unbearable at first when you get in 45-55 degree water, but after the numbing takes place within 5 mins, it won’t be that bad for the remainder.

    Tim, maybe you can give an entire post on the ice bath and its affects on the body, how it acts like a battery recharge for your muscles. A picture of you in the ice tub with a smile might make your readers more inclined to take the plunge.

    Thanks

    Lewis

    Like

  36. It’s a good thing that you don’t have to do things like cleaning and laundry, like most people do.

    ###

    Sarah, no need to get snarky. I pay a wash and fold laundromat less than $1 per pound to do my laundry. I did this even when I was making $8/hour as a student. I pay a great Serbian woman $90 once per month to clean my house, and I also did this my first year out of school. It’s not much money, but it saves a huge amount of time and attention.

    Hope that helps,

    Tim

    Like

    • Even without outsourcing cleaning and laundry (I actually *like* to do my own – it’s a zen thing), I don’t spend more than two 15-minute sessions a day on this and we have one of the cleanest habitats around. We are a family of four too! I approached redesigning my house-keeping like I would in business. For example, I applied kaizen principles to the laundry so that one or two loads can get done (also folded and put away) everyday with minimal effort in one of the 15 minute sessions. The other 15 minutes, I set a timer and play “beat the clock” to get my scheduled task done. Done at this high an intensity, housework can be a great cardio activity! A fully de-cluttered house is a must for this to work though…

      Like

    • On the subject of laundry, etc. – I am applying the “touch once” method (learned this about snail mail yrs ago) to more & more areas of my life. This saves a lot of time – recommended. I do larger loads of laundry, put things away immediately, etc. to streamline processes…

      Like

  37. Tim,

    I’m curious also about the 4 hour max per day, especially in terms of study and academic work. Where’d you get it? How/when would you use it for studying? I’ve heard of very similar opinions – right now I’m thinking Dirac and Hardy/Littlewood.

    Like

  38. Also, (unrelated to my last comment, sorry to double post), what were you doing at a networking conference? My dad does network research at some business schools out east, so that’s why I’m curious.

    Doug

    ###

    Hi Doug,

    ETech (I assume you’re referring to) is about much more than just networking, but that could be one technology represented. I was invited to speak and wanted to attend a number of the presentations. Hope that helps!

    Tim

    Like

  39. Hi Tim – first thanks much for a great book. A month ago I “fired my boss” and now I’m out here living the life. Haha. Or working on it.

    I just re-read the 4HWW while in Hawaii and realized that even though I was now working for myself I had quickly fallen back into the W4W phenomenon.

    On that note – I’m going to take my canoe out now because my productivity this afteroon just sucks!

    Like

  40. Dream Date: 2 islands – 1 country

    Assume we’re in Chora, Mykonos.

    Spend morning gathering food for the day/evening–wine, tarmasalata, pita bread, baklava, etc. plus a few other items we’ll need for spending an evening under the stars on a sacred island.

    Take ferry to Delos, mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis; now a sacred island. Spend day exploring the what remains of a once-powerful city.

    Find a good place to hide from the on-site island “guardians” so we can stay on this sacred island for the evening.

    Spend evening in candlelight, under the stars sharing spiritual insights, adventurous life stories and other romantic experiences as a couple might conjure up in such a situation.

    Take ferry back to Chora the next day (ok, so the tix were for yesterday…whatever!)

    2nd stop: Santorini, Fira Town

    Take ferry from Mykonos to Santorini–3 wonderful hours on the Mediterranean Sea!

    Check into Theoxenia Hotel (http://www.theoxenia-hotel.com/). Enjoy wonderful shower!

    Rent motorcycle and explore Santorini, including remains of beautiful city on cliff peninsula, relaxing on volcanic sand beach and diving into mystical caldera.

    Return to hotel and get ready for a delicious dinner at a wonderful restaurant on the edge of the caldera. Marvel at the beauty and mystery we are gazing at together on this intoxicating island while sharing Greek delicacies and wine.

    Stroll back to hotel…walk into our most romantic room…and close the door!

    2 Ferry tix to Delos, food, etc: $60
    2 Ferry tix Mykonos to Santorini (RT): $100
    Hotel: $150 (includes VAT & breakfast)
    Motorcycle rental/food in Santorini: $70
    Dinner: $100
    Total: $480

    Dream date with dream man: Priceless, of course! (where is dream man, by the way?)

    Like

  41. Sorry, gang. Dream date post was meant for another chain. Can you please ignore? I posted it on correct chain after I saw my mistake. (I’m working on letting go of “multi-tasking” for this exact reason!) Thank you!

    Like

  42. Hi Tim

    Interesting post and ideas. I wonder though whether you might agree with me that sometimes there is a false dichotomy between “work” and “play”

    After “retiring” from teaching and moving from the UK to southern Spain, I am in some ways “busier” than ever. And I love it! I have a business making natural cosmetics and running workshops and I have recently (at 60!) started singing professionally at weddings and concerts. These are my passions, and I combine them with studying for an advanced psychology degree, developing my design skills, spending time with my grandchildren, reading, sunbathing, having lunch with girlfriends and imbibing rather a lot of good Spanish wine!

    I am not stressed as I deliberately keep my business small and don’t accept more than a couple of singing engagements a month. I know that I am lucky in that my husband and I have reasonable pensions and own our house … but I still have to earn money!

    The problem with “leisure” time seems to me not how to fill it, but how to choose between all the myriad fascinating things to learn, make, experience and enjoy while we still have time!

    Ged

    Like

  43. Hi Tim,

    I bought your book recently. I had thought about it before, but I wasn’t sure if you were for real ;)

    One of the things that convinced me was that you travel often to Argentina! Although I live in New Zealand, I am from Argentina.

    Go back in line with your topic….

    I misunderstood part of your book. I was worried that I was “working” too much. But, I am actually doing what I like: writing posts for my blog, and stuff related with the IT world. I’m also working on creating a “product” in similar following some of your techniques. It is all fun! Hard work though.

    If you are a geek like me, you spend most of the time in front of a screen for pleasure. To keep my mind in a healthy state I completely disconnect on the weekends.

    Like

  44. I think you need my imput re nutrition.

    1) We need enzymes. Where is the raw food to balance the cooked and create a good acid-alkaline ratio in your diet? Where is your vitamin C?

    2) Microwaves are toxic as hell. Tons of studies done on this – they are
    not natural and disturb the normal cellular structure of the food – hence
    the food you cook in them can disturb your cellular structure. Nuke the microwave. And please don’t tell people to use them!

    What is good for your immediate goal of losing fat, and strong muscle is not
    necessarily good for a proper nutritional balance in the long run. Also, different blood types respond differently to different foods. We all have different dietary needs and desires at different times in our life and get on
    certain modes of thought re diet that we change later on. Be flexible.

    Just came upon your site and it is wonderful! Will read your book. Thanks for all the tips. Happy travels and adventures. Maybe if I read your book I can get out from under my decade long paper pile and meet you on the road!

    Like

  45. Here are some quotes about Ways to Put More Time into Your Life

    If you don’t have enough time to accomplish something, consider the
    work finished once it’s begun.
    — John Gage

    Remember that nothing matters very much, and few things matter at
    all.
    — Arthur Balfour

    One of the best ways of avoiding necessary and even urgent tasks is
    to seem busily employed on things that are already done.
    — John Kennett Galbraith

    If you’re already in a hole, it’s no use to continue digging.
    — Roy W. Walters

    Never do today what you can do as well tomorrow; because something
    may occur to make you regret your premature action.
    — Aaron Burr

    The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.
    — Sydney J. Harris

    Don’t’ overdo things that shouldn’t be done in the first place.
    —Unknown Wise Person

    Doing a thing well is often a waste of time.
    — Robert Byrne

    from Ernie Zelinski
    Author of The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 225,000 copies Sold and Published in 17 Languages)
    and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 90,000 copies Sold and Published in 7 Foreign Languages)

    Like

  46. Hi Tim…..Congratulations on your fabulous book (am reading a second time to squeeze out every last drop of inspiration !)

    Understood that you discourage service based NR pursuits, however I can see that adapting your NR principles will yield similar benefits for my fabulous service-based business opportunity which is in the ‘conception phase’.

    Any comments Tim ?

    PS You don’t seem to have a head like a melon as suggested in your book !

    Cheers,

    Craig

    Like

  47. @Craig,

    Please search “Michael Gerber” on this blog. I interviewed him, and he’s the master of service-based systems. Michael Port’s latest book is good as well.

    All the best,

    Tim

    Like

  48. I wanted to comment on the Portfolio.com article about Nassim Nicholas Taleb and I didn’t know where to do it, so I’m just throwing it here. He mentioned only writing for one hour a day to prevent diluting himself–to this point he references TFHWW.

    This concept is infinately interesting to me and is the reason I am a huge fan of Tim F. I used to work at a job where I sat in an office 14 hours a day waiting for my boss to move, complain, cry, have a heart attack, etc. What an unbelievable waste of time. He did not work hard. He did not take advantage of opportunities. As a result, we both wasted countless hours of both of our days. The job I work now requires almost no overtime, but now I’m faced with the opposite problem, and that is taking advantage of every second I’m in the office. I have a hard time focusing because I’ve developed the habit of sitting around and waiting. Waiting until things become unneccessarily urgent. TFHWW to me is defined by managing your time properly and making the most of it, quite literally. It’s made me focus on results, output. I’d like to tie this in to something I saw on garyvaynerchuck.com–the idea that ANYTHING is better than zero. Any output is better than zero. Create. Do something, anything, and build on that for the future. I get so bogged down in details sometimes. The key is to act, get SOMETHING done. Then build on that. At work, that means doing something. Produce and get some sort of result. If that is my starting point, as soon as I get into the office, I find that the result is much greater. Instead of seeing my day in terms of 8 hours of work, then dinner, then free time, I now see my day in terms of output. What is the result of the time I put into the office? What have I eaten today? What workout did I do today? This is a much more valuable framework for me. It beats the hell out of the way I was doing things before, putting in time, going through the motions. Screw going through the motions, and produce results.

    End rant.

    -M

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  49. @Michael R.,

    Thanks so much for the comment. I agree with a lot of Nassim’s practices and came away very impressed with him after this article.

    I agree with your current output model, but just be sure not to apply that indiscriminately. In other words, make sure that you’re measuring what matters first and foremost, not just measuring everything.

    For example, I would consider time spent eating with family and friends a core metric. If this cuts into e-mail or workout output a bit, it’s a positive trade. Just one example.

    Best of luck!

    Tim

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  50. Hey Tim,
    I think filling the void is as important as any of the principals you’ve taught me so far. So, I’ve actually created a company (my muse) around just that. My life has never been better. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that gentle redirection.
    Rob

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  51. I have a book I need to finish writing and I am going to get your book so I can make the time to do just that. Hope to see you at the best sellers circle.

    Ben

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  52. @Michael: I know exactly what you mean by having “developed the habit of sitting around and waiting”

    Sometimes life goes on so fast that we do not realise how undisciplined we are. We think that we have been successful, but in reality ‘success’ has been just a by-product of the things we have done because of the conditions we were in.

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  53. Tim,
    Just wanted to take a minute to say how great I think your book is. I have referd it to several people. I apply a great deal of what is in your book to my lifestyle.
    Thanks,
    Dennis
    P.S. Anything coming up in North carolina? Would love to hear you speak or meet you. Not sure if you still do that.

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  54. I agree in theory that we should find creative ways to live our lives well and I appreciate your work. That said, I find that many of your suggestions don’t totally work on a practical level. And I say this from personal experience. Examples:

    – In your budget calculator you factor in credit card minimum payments. This is not a sustainable way of budgeting;

    – $1200 in Buenos Aires actually doesn’t go that far (I just spent 4 months there); and even if you take a $400 trip to Mendoza, the airfare to get to Argentina from the States is likely to cost at least $1000 . . .

    – You suggest to quit your job and live off unemployment? One only qualifies for unemployment after being let go – not after quitting. Also, unemployment checks run out eventually and often come along with strings attached;

    I unknowingly have been living somewhat according to your plan since I lost my job in August. I’ve had a great time and learned a lot about myself – but I recognize that this is a unique and finite period in my life. As I mentioned already, my current lifestyle is unsustainable – my checks will run out, I’ll need health insurance, I’ll have to start paying off debt. Additionally, coping with the instability of it all can be a challenge.

    I’m glad that it has worked out for you and I appreciate your efforts to expose us to a more creative way of approaching life. But I believe it’s a bit more complicated than the way that you present it.

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  55. Nikki,

    I’m not sure if you’ve read Tim’s book yet, but the key factor that seems to be missing from your experience is the “muse” (i.e., the business that provides you with enough cash flow to support yourself). Getting that sort of business up and running is easier said than done, but without an income stream, it’s understandable that you’d feel your situation was unstable.

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  56. Any suggestions on how to recover fast from major economic crash ,that has led to major bad credit.. so I can develop my new business of ‘ travel with purpose’

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  57. Tim,

    Have you ever thoufgt that 9-11 was an inside job? And that we need to redo the Commission on 9-11.

    Thermite was used (bombs inside the buildings) and not just the airplane crashes making them fall at the speed of gravity. Pretty impossible for the “Pancake Effect.”

    Love your book too.

    -Alex Jones
    Austin Texas

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  58. Dear Tim,
    I just discovered your book. I am wondering how your systems have been affected by the financial implosion. While I realize that downsizing and lay-offs can be opportunities to change, I am asking more about the product-based businesses you describe. It would seem to me that people will be very much less inclined to buy the $50-$250 products.

    With appreciation for any thoughts you might have.

    Mary

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  59. Mary –
    Just read the book yesterday, and had the same thought.
    The book came out right about the time of the peak economy.
    Most consumers have a lot less money to spend now, are spending on vitals, and have much reduced credit.
    Plus — many people are losing their jobs, so goodbye to manipulating an income by working from home & outsourcing to India.
    Although the middle class are hurting (and possibly disappearing), there are still lots of people with lots of money in this country, so one option might be marketing to the rich. Still remembering that even the rich are buying what’s “essential.” Their list of essentials just happens to be a bit longer than the average Joe’s.
    Another possiblity would be marketing something vital to the poor and the new poor (NP).
    (My next read is a book called Out of Poverty — about the impoverished being both potential entrepreneurs and potential customers.)
    There are certain areas that are booming in this bad economy: liquor, seed companies, cheap food (wal-mart), Netflix. If the price of oil continues to rise, as I believe it will, you can nix wal-mart and the other big box stores — the masses won’t be able to afford to drive there. (The big stores, Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. may be the next victims of the current run up in oil prices. I mean, have you been in them lately? They’re vacant!! At least it’s easy to get help from idle sales clerks. The upside of down.)
    Mass transit is going to be critical. Also, cheap housing for the newly foreclosed upon. Inexpensive-yet-healthy-yet-environmentally sustsainable pet food would be a welcome innovation. The shelters are already seeing an increase in pets abandoned because people just can’t afford to feed them anymore.
    As always, the important factor here is living by your wits. That would have been required to develop a successful company even before the housing bubble burst.
    It’s just not that easy to come up with a great idea that people are going to want and then outsource it so that you don’t have to work much.
    Tim Ferriss has a kind of genius for that, clearly, and he’s shared as much of that as he can in his book, but not everyone is going to be able to succeed.
    However, I think his techniques are energizing. But no one can do the work for you. The most he can offer is principles, and then you just have to brainstorm.
    My impression is that most of us are going to have to work a lot harder for the same amount of money, and we’re all going to have to get real creative about non-traditional sources of income.
    Well, I’ve wasted about as much time as I can afford looking at his site and blog. His advice was not to squander time! Best of luck (to all of us) sorting it all out!
    Peace,
    K.Z.

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  60. Tim;
    Changes are difficult to understand and swallow, the new challenge is here, CRISIS = OPPORTUNITIES. Some will take it some others wont even see it even if is in front of their faces.
    I’m in the real estate field….What? are you crazy? I heard all the time… but you know what? I’m more busy than ever!!! Actually we just open a new office and we are making a killing!!!! forgot to mention we are in Florida the second worst market in the US!! You just have to see what others don’t.!
    Great tips, and sugestions I’m starting to apply to my real estate business.

    Robinson Arias
    Real Estate Investor / Realtor
    HHRE
    Florida

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  61. Hi Tim,

    We are currently working on our lifestyle design for almost 4 months now, we are getting there from making our house slightly bigger to be able to get the mortgage paid while we are gone to slimming down on our possessions. I just keep thinking how wonderful it will be to be looking at the pyramids in Egypt to keep me going.

    And of course, not to have to take only 2 weeks to see these but rather live anywhere and make money living life.

    You are a revolutionist.

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  62. Man, I want to be like you!…But I believe I am naturally a lazy woman…so, that’s my challenge. Although I am happy, I have nice diplomas, a career and I work…to start doing whatever I want to scares me due to the financial risk it carries…
    You are awesome!

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  63. Ummm… he’s writing for 4 hours and spending 1.5 hours on an interview/
    4 + 1.5 = 5.5 hours of work in one day.
    I’m just doing the math, folks.

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  64. He did point out, Marhta, that the things up there are things he wants to do. He could drop them all and live quite well from the four hours he DOES have to do each week.
    If you’re counting the writing and the interview as work, then either so is the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, or you could walk out of your job without any consequence whatsoever.

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  65. OK, blazed thru the book Monday (thanks for the speed-reading tips up front). Although it’s a great read, and I admire what Tim’s done, isn’t it the lifestyle anyone who was generating 40K a month can have?

    With that much money, you’d have to be a jackass/mental patient (or both) to stay in a cube. And having no kids means you can pack up and take off anywhere.

    Without that kind of money flowing in (and with the expenses kids come with) your dreamlines will unfortunately remain dreams, unless you can generate that much income.

    Sigh.

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  66. Hey… flick me your address and i’ll send you some of our New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil… you won’t want to ever try any other oil after it… just found your blog… my life is changing.

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  67. Tim,

    The book was an amazing read and I am planning on implementing the tactics in my daily life. Thank you for showing a college student that life after college does not have to consist on constant work and unhappiness until retirement.

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  68. @StephenRex you said: “… I admire what Tim’s done, isn’t it the lifestyle anyone who was generating 40K a month can have?”, and while I totally agree with both this statement and your follow-up paragraph about being a moron if you don’t get out of cubical land with that kind of cash, think about how he got there.

    He literally surfed the web waiting to get fired from a 40k PER YEAR job because his boss was a total d-bag, and in the process was actually working on designing a job he could like much better and make money at much faster – selling “drugs.” So yes, it does take 40k/mth MAYBE to feel comfortable quitting cubical land, but Tim quite literally didn’t have that kind of cash when he crashed and burned out of his crap job. And kids doesn’t have to be a roadblock. My wife and I have friends where the wife got laid off from her job as a music teacher, and is now teaching piano in her home for plenty of extra income that is helping support the family while still giving her even more time with her 3yr old and 9 month old.

    BTW, Tim, love the new expanded book already, and it has already reminded me how my lawyer wife might just be able to actually find a job for herself online starting with some Google Adsense/Adwords/Analytics market research! ;) Thanks for your work on this second edition of the book!

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  69. So, I am in the process of reading the expanded/revised edition of the book and thought to myself, “Tim has got to be a pretty intense person”. I mean blocking out and allocating small times for admin/email stuff, have VAs do most of the work, being short on the phone to get to the point, etc… I was curious about your schedule, too.

    And then I thought to myself, “if I free up all this time for myself what the HELL am I going to do?”. I busy myself answering nonessential emails, get consumed up into twitter, tweek my blog alot, do laundry, clean something… just ‘useless’ stuff that doesn’t really need my attention, but stuff to busy my time to pass. I keep running in my head, ‘the otherside of happiness is boredom’. Ding! Lightbulb moment. True. True. I actually fear trying to find things I WANT TO DO. LOL. gonna take some getting used to, but I think it is time I rightfully do it. I am looking forward to spending more time with my kids. Thank you Tim, for shaking me up by giving me a different perspective on how to live my life.

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  70. Hi Tim
    You are doing what you want when you want, i believe you never get pored, simply because you can switch to whatever you want.

    My real question, do you feel happy in your overall life, dose your way bring the happiness that God created for.

    I am not sure but i hope so

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  71. I’m sorry, but I’ve always needed at least 8 hours sleep, minimum, every night. And now that I’m over 40, that’s not really negotiable. As far as I can see, you’ve only got 5 hours blocked out for sleep, and you haven’t included time for showering and dressing in the morning. You’ve got your only relaxation time between 11 pm and 2 am, and even then you’re just as likely to be writing a blog post. Some of what you do sounds great, but the day as a whole sounds exhausting to me.

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  72. I hate to differ.. but this doesn’t sound like the most organized or effecient work week. It seems like a whole lot of stuff crammed in.

    When do you spend time with family? when do you connect with nature and sensuality? when do you allow the mind to rest – and therefore become more creative and inspired? when do you give back? when do you connect with your spirit?

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  73. I read your book. It’s inspiring to say the least, and for me… a 24 year old, with a 5 year navy stint in my recent background, and growing up in a work truck…. im tired. I’ve lived up to all the expectations and all the hype of what it means socially to be “successfull” and I threw it all away and decided i would rather spend my days with hardcore narcotics. I soon found, that that was not the answere. I’ve been sober ever since. That was a little over a year ago.

    So now, here I sit… In south florida, looking to get back to what I love, traveling the world and enjoying every minute of it. Im young enough to reclaim my life before it claims me. I agree with many statements… and I dont want the deferred life plan. I want to live how I want to live… I came here with two garbage bags filled with dirty clothes and worked my way back to some respectability after my “rock bottom”.

    Although young, im well traveled and well versed in just about everything necessary to make “the transition”. – And yes Dubai is expensive… and their indoor black diamond ski slope is a joke… As for the Go board from the 1800’s… I always thought it was spelled G’oh… or maybe thats just in korea… Japan is Go, if im not mistaken. Either way its a true game of intellect, much deeper than chess.

    – JT
    – Vagrant Minded

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  74. I’m just in the process of selling a service company I have developed over 8 years, more on an ethical basis than a money making one, but one followed the other. I started to write my exit strategy after 4 yrs, next time I would do it from day one. For the last year I have been down to about 4hrs a week working on it remotely, after outsourcing and employing people for all the things that didn’t need to be me. This allowed me to move to Canada to be with the love of my life. I’m 40 now, he’s 45, we have 3 kids between us. I bought him the book as a shorthand way to try to explain to him how I see work and the world. I am delighted to say he absolutely got it! Once the business sells ( it’s about to need a lot more time spending on it, the new owner can do that) Other half is quitting his job and we are having some time off, partly so he can recover from all those yrs on the treadmill and mostly to develop our muse and other income streams and decide what to do next. Thanks Tim, the book has really helped accelerate the process of getting us both on the same page and taught me somethings I hadn’t thought of on my own.

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  75. Hi Tim

    I thought I was so smart….gathering degrees and titles and status and ever higher-paying roles. I also thought I had created the best job in the world in which I was super important and indispensable. The fact I got email all through the night as well as the day seemed something to be proud of!

    Then I realised my 2 year old daughter was speaking 10 x as much Japanese as english (my wife’s japanese) because Daddy’s always here or there. Time to re-prioritise, but how?

    A friend of mine took up life coaching and handed me your book first.

    Having been in business, worked as a doctor and a scientist and more recently working directly alongside a billionaire entrepreneur, I’ve come across some very intelligent and highly influential people, but at this point in time, your book is the most influential thing I have ever read.

    I’m writing this from my wife’s family home in japan – having secured a 3-week ‘trial’ of distance working. With my twice per day email and other operational changes, I am absolutely flying and the boss is loving it! But he has no idea what’s coming!!!!

    Thanks so muck Tim – you’re a legend.

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  76. Tim,

    I hate my current lifestyle. I’m miserable and I can’t seem to make time for friends and family with working fulltime and going to school and I’m not even getting anywhere. I’ve had the same type of job (HR in a nursing home) and same salary (around $40k) for the past 5 years.

    You have a dream schedule! I wish I had time to eat right and exercise-my health, posture, and looks are declining. I’m only 30 and I’m exhausted! I can’t imagine staying on this path another 30 years until retirement.

    I long to learn new things, and make more time for the things I love instead of feeling like life is passing me by while I’m on the timeclock. When I do have a rare day off I’m being texted or e-mailed by my bipolar boss. I really want to change my current situation, but don’t think it’s possible with the type of job (HR) and education level (Associates) I have.

    Tell me I can do this. I’m going to take a leap of faith, get the book, and try to follow it, because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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  77. Re: making something work in today’s imploded economy:
    Anyone here read the book “A good hard kick in the Ass”? It’s mostly high-tech aimed, but their premise of “Identify the client’s pain” is very sound. Find the itch and offer to scratch it, and make sure you start out in small, affordable increments.
    So people aren’t buying gold-plated back scratchers these days! They are desperate to keep their jobs, make their down-sized lives more manageable, Look at the snuggie (perfect for people turning down their thermostats to save on fuel). Anything that will help people do their daily chores faster, cheaper or less stressfully will strike a chord in today’s market.
    A good companion reader for Out of Poverty would be Cory Doctorow’s “Makers” – it like the Grapes of Wrath for The Great Recession and is a manifesto for decentralized entrepreneurship.

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  78. Hey Tim,

    Quick question: “I do not believe most people can do more than four hours of productive work per day at maximum”. Is there scientific evidence to this?

    Just curious.

    I read your book (and probably the fastest read, yet) and loved it.

    Thanks,
    Nick

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  79. Hey Tim,

    In the middle of 4hr e-book and in the middle of restructuring my life! I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life and in the last couple years have been overwhelmed with work not realizing the problem was that I was the hub of everything. I’m changing my business structure and starting ventures that I’ve been rolling around for years.

    I’ve already got a few people I know reading 4 hr that can benefit too.

    Within the next 6+ months I may owe you for a more full life, thanks!

    Chris

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  80. Just a note about content in the original book – free conference site charges for the 800 number. So people have to pay long distance fees, not entirely “free”.

    Does anyone have info on really free conference calling?

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  81. hey tim… curious why dont you use disqus instead… it would be easier for your followers to find one another through twitter ect… unless you have a reason why you dont use it which I am curious to know about. :)

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