The 400-Hour Workweek
A lifestyle reality check.
This column began as a bitter retort to author Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Workweek. Bitter not because he claims to live the lifestyle of the new rich while working only four hours per week. Bitter (add resentful) because he, in all probability, actually does somehow live the way he claims to live and I don't have the brains to catch a ride on his wavelength.
Jealous I am. And I'm not above calling such young, attractive, successful and self-assured people sarcastic names. I'd do exactly that if it weren't for the fact that I'm much closer to the age, size and general physical condition of one Andy Rooney than to the beaucoup-buffed, black-belted Tim Ferriss.
So I've channeled all that hostility into pondering why I work so many doggone hours and get so little accomplished. I believe I speak for the waitress at The Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), the attendant at Exxon Mobil (XOM), the cashier at Wal-Mart (WMT) and the analyst at Goldman Sachs (GS) who all feel like they put in 400 hours per week and actually accomplish about four hours of worthwhile productivity.
If you're a big city commuter like me, you probably spend 16 or more hours per week riding the rails between home and office. (Depending on who you are, that's either two freakin' workdays of lost productivity or two freakin' workdays of lost REM sleep.) Add that to an average of ten or more hours spent in the office daily -- including lunch at your desk -- and you're burned out by Monday afternoon.
In that regard, Ferriss is right. My workweek is over by 1:00 p.m. every Monday, meaning I'm only good for four hours of productivity. I would gladly join him at the beach for the duration - except for that whole money part. Others who are better at pacing themselves are probably good for one productive hour per day, Monday through Thursday, which still puts them into overtime territory by Friday according to the Ferriss formula.
I've decided to put this rant into turnaround because, in my 12-step group for recovering idiots, I'm learning to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Although there are physically only 120 available hours in a five-day work week, it can still feel as if you're working 400 - and that can be a good thing.
Consider it leveraging. If Tim Ferriss can accomplish everything he accomplishes in four hours, how much more can you and I accomplish in the 40 hours we average? If Ferriss can divide his 40 by ten, why can't we multiply our 40 by ten? Anyway, it's not like were out bungee jumping.
So thank you, Tim. I no longer hate you for shaming me. In fact, I'm inspired. My goal is to accomplish the equivalent of 400 hours of work every week. My multiplier will be the same as your divider. I'll convince others to do my work, but instead of clocking out and hanging with celebrities I'll keep my nose to the grindstone.
One last favor, Tim: Assuming I can find enough schlubs to actually up my productivity to 400 hours, please write a book explaining how I can convince someone to pay me for the equivalent.
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