For the next several weeks I am working from my good friends’ beautiful weekend home in the Catskill Mountains. What a gift. Since being here I have seen wild turkeys, coyotes (playing on haystacks), deer, rabbits, and all kinds of birds. I go to sleep to a chorus of pond frogs.
My favorite part is that it has forced me to unplug. At the house there is no internet or cell phone coverage. My internet access is at the local (very cute) library that is open 4 days a week with some evenings.
What I am finding is that I don’t need to be online as much as I thought. And the time offline is vital for accessing my own guidance, tapping into my best creativity, and focusing on a few key projects.
The other day I got so much done in 30 minutes of concentrated library wifi time, that I couldn’t stop thinking about “The 4-hour Work Week.”
Most people who read Timothy Ferriss’s book end up downgrading to a tamer variation of the “4-hour work week” ie. “Well I’ll go for the 4 hour work day.” Or “the 4-day work week.”
This is progress. And if you are doing what you love, who cares how much time you spend. Right? Perhaps . . .
But what if you only had 4 hours per week to get what you needed to get done. How would you act differently? What would you stop doing?
Here are some of tips for getting you on the road to find out:
- Without changing your habits, spends 3 days tracking how you spend your time.
- Once you have the list – categorize what you are doing into groups (i.e. phone calls, writing, responding to email, coaching calls, running errands, networking, exercise, research . . .)
- Start batching similar work tasks together in your calendar. (You will cut way back on your work time by doing this one thing!)
- Notice where you are spinning your wheels or at the mercy of big time suckers and create ways to eliminate those habits or activities. [One of my favorites is to use a timer to keep myself focused on important tasks. For example if you have a sales letter you need to write, set the timer for 50 minutes and bang out a draft.]
- Begin delegating the things you are: not good at, don’t love, and not a good use of your time (i.e. don’t pay you well.)
Here are 3 great resources to support you in delegating your low level tasks:
- E-lance (This is where Tim Ferriss goes for quick hiring needs. I’ve used it and loved it.)
- ODesk (Another great resource that I’ve just begun to use.)
- Hire My Mom (This website will put you in touch with cool, smart mom’s who are ready and willing to work for you.)
And…now that you’ve freed up your time, what should you “DO” with all the extra hours?
- Do more of you high pay off activities
- Spend more time doing NOTHING (I am a big advocate – your soul needs S P A A A C E to hear that still small voice inside that KNOWS the answers for your best life.)
- Do more of the items on your dream list.
- Play! This will feed your spirit and help you quickly re-fuel for your best ideas and energy. (Plus it’s almost summer time . . . my favorite season for playing. )
- Be spontaneous. Follow inspiration. (When you have space in your schedule, magic happens.)
And finally, remember to let go of the GUILT. When you work “smarter not harder,” you are part of an elite group thinking outside the box. It may take time for others to catch up, but in the meantime lay off any guilt trips and enjoy the freedom.