4 hour workweek

In an age when startups have been popularized by digital’s low barrier to entry, many of us know someone who has worked on a startup, is working on a startup, or wants to work on a startup.  Many startups begin as ‘side hustles’ for people who are already working full time.  For these people, efficient time management is critical. Books on how to maximize spare time have arguably become a pulp genre, including the popular “The Four Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris.

So is there such a thing as a 4 hour work week?

From our perspective?  A resounding…no.  At least not for the vast majority of us. The people who can afford to work only 4hours a week either worked MANY hours a week (or lucky inheritance?) that led to enough wealth independence to afford a lower income, and therefore much less work.  

While Tim Ferris’ book provides a lot of tips to save time and maximize your efficiency, there’s really no substitute for hard work. We will assume that Tim worked hard to write and promote this book, and now he is practicing what he preaches by only working 4 hours a week…with a sizable nest egg grown from his successful book.

Assuming the average work week is 40 hours, here are some surprising factoids on time spent per activity per week: 

Total hours in one week: 24×7 = 168 hours

  • 2 ⅓ days are “wasted” while sleeping – 8 hrs/day x 7 days = 56 hrs
  • ~1 day spent eating – 1 hour making & eating food x 3 meals/day x 7 days/week = 21 hours eating)
  • Nearly 1 full workday on personal maintenance (showering, brushing teeth, getting dressed) –  30 mins in morning, 30 mins at night x 7 days a week = 7 hours 
  • 3 ½ days is spent on these basics —  That’s half the week! 56+21+7=84 hours, or 3 ½ days.

If you add the 40 hour work week to the 84 hours for the basic, the average person spends over 5 days a week spent before hobbies, spending quality time with family, or leisure.  Hopefully you find work fun and interesting, but most people want to do things that don’t require checking email, making your boss happy, etc. 

These calculations may also explain why Tim sold so many books on the hope of a 4 hour work week.  Perhaps Tim entertained the alternative title “36 hours freed from your week.”  

Because we see our jobs at Ourglass as enabling independent professionals (and because if we had 36 more free hours per week we’d use it to build Ourglass anyway) we encourage you to adopt advice and tips that help you optimize your efficiency.  At Ourglass, our business is helping you conduct your business in less time for more earnings.  We use the latest and greatest tools to automate and accelerate our business, such as  Asana (task management), Hubspot (customer management), and  Hootsuite (social media management).  The product of these tools and a little creativity is  Ourglass (video calls combined with payments) with the lofty goal of helping you get to the right hours per week for you.

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