I recently heard Tim Ferris (author of the 4-Hour Work Week) interviewed. He was asked the question that I would have asked if I got to talk to him. Something along the lines of “Given your output you clearly don’t just work four hours a week. What’s that all about?”
His answer has been bouncing around my head ever since. He said that a 4-hour work week is a metaphor (who knew?) for being 10 times more productive. A way of asking the question of how can I produce what normally takes 40 hours in 4?
I think this is such a great question. Not how can you be 20% more productive, or 50% more productive, but ten times more productive.
Elon Musk (the person who gives me the most hope for the future of humanity) runs three fairly significant businesses – Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity. He’s also the co-chair of OpenAI (everyone needs a hobby). Any one of these businesses could clearly take up all his time.
He’s the CEO of the first two. I reckon that’s a great productivity hack – do three full time jobs. I’m guessing he doesn’t do too much that he doesn’t have to.
It’s a way of enforcing the Pareto Principle. Pareto coined the 80:20 rule, which among other things says that you produce 80% of your output in 20% of your time.
I have a thought experiment on this – “only on a Tuesday.” What if you could only work one day week – only on a Tuesday. What stuff would you still do, and what would you let go?
That’s part of the beauty of having a handful of clusters in a thought leader’s practice. If you are working 5 days a week, and have 5 clusters on the go, on average you’re spending a day a week on each. And generally each deserves more time … but hopefully you're getting the 80% from the one day your putting in.
So one counterintuitive way to get more done is restrict the time you have available. (By the way, I highly recommend having kids as a strategy to achieve this.)