24 Hours, 24 Opportunities

In his breakthrough book The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss offers hundreds of tips and suggestions for stretching and saving time—all under the premise of “escaping 9-5, living anywhere, and joining the New Rich.” The New Rich, as he calls them, are exactly who they sound like: those who have made their own fortunes in both money and TIME: the one commodity of which there will never be any more.

I want you to read Ferriss’s book because it’s amazing, so here are a few starter points to whet your appetite. They also happen to be the suggestions I’ve found most helpful in my own life.

1. Batch your tasks.

Laundry, bill-pay, email, phone calls. Whatever tasks you do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, lump them together to save time instead of making everything that falls across your desk an immediate priority. Always tackling new tasks as they arise might feel efficient, but it’s really just “busy,” and “busy” is not the same as “productive.”

When I ordered a new calendar for 2016, I got it from this lady, as her layout promised “large daily blocks for planning and recording events.” I then set about scheduling out all my daily business tasks, making sure not to assign more than one task to every other day. Doing so made all of the “things” that hung over me on a daily basis in 2015 suddenly extraordinarily manageable.

Pick up this helpful tool from lettercdesign.

Pick up this helpful tool from lettercdesign.

2. Forget about planning for retirement.

Somewhere along the way in this country, society decided that only hard work (to the point of absolute exhaustion) was worth rewarding—and that reward is called retirement. However, by the time most people are able to retire, they’re old, or sick, and they’ll probably keep working anyway, because no retirement plan these days can keep up with inflation and the added years of life by which Americans keep extending their own mortality. 

If you’ve been telling yourself that retirement is when you’ll start living, stop that nonsense right now. TODAY is when you start living. Sprinkle mini-vacations in throughout the year. Bond with your family over breakfast. Remember that there are hella more important things than work.

3. Outsource whenever you can.

It’s true: I used to be the type to insist on doing everything by myself, my way. I thought that only I could do things well enough to meet my own standards. Then Ferriss taught me about the beauty of outsourcing those busy-work tasks that I don’t actually need to be doing—that in fact, someone else could be doing much better than me. That’s why I brought in a professional photographer, cover designer, and language translator to Cider Spoon Stories. What can you outsource?

Everyone has the same 24 hours. Use them well.