Giving up your day job

I'll have what he's having

You know a guy like Timothy Ferriss. He is the work colleague who seems to glide by without doing that much yet always meets his targets and keeps the boss happy. He is the super-fit neighbour who spends his weekends skydiving and orienteering and diving with sharks and learning to play the bassoon. He is the guy who will retire 15 years before you do. You probably don't like him that much.

Ferriss' New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Work Week promises to teach you that guy's secrets and more, everything you need to know to work less and get more out of life. It is a self-help book for the worried professional and it spins an alluring web. Even non-professional worriers like me can find something useful here, although most will blanch at the thought of quitting their jobs altogether, the final step when you follow the programme through to its glorious, sunset-on-a-tropical-beach conclusion.

My top takeaway was Ferriss's admonishment regarding email, the greatest time-suck of the working day. I now check mine once or twice a day instead of 30-odd times a day and it doesn't seem to have done me any harm thus far. The other gem for me was the 80/20 principle whereby 80 per cent of your results supposedly flow from 20 per cent of your effort. Seductive idea. But how does one figure out which is the critical 20 percent?

Setting up an "automatic" income stream and outsourcing my chores to call centre workers in India, while appealing in a "Tonight, Matthew, I'm Peggy Lee" kinda way, are not ever going to be goers for most of us. But, glad it's working out for you, Timothy.