So if you can work fewer hours you can get more of your life back. When I talk about this topic it pisses people off.
Don’t let it.
Obviously what I’m about to share doesn’t apply to all jobs. It certainly does apply to knowledge worker jobs though (hat-tilt to Tim Stodart).
The older I get, the more I see earning a salary as a scam
The problem starts with the concept of a salary.
Typically, work is paid as a fixed salary with a number of hours attached to it. For example I worked in a bank. Each day I’d go to the office and my boss would expect me to show up around 9 am and leave between 5–6pm.
If I didn’t, I’d most likely be given harsh feedback and even fired.
This model rewards hours worked over output. Often I’d finish my work in 4 hours then mess around for the rest of the day or try to look busy. My employer lost productivity and I worked longer than I needed to.
The salary trapped me. It meant I couldn’t do much else or potentially work for a second person.
And my earnings were capped too. I knew my salary number in advance, so I got so used to and entitled to it, I took it for granted. This robbed me of the motivation to be productive.
Even if I worked harder or performed better I couldn’t really earn more money. So I just gave up. I succumbed to the cards I had dealt for myself.
After the 2008 recession inflation became a bigger problem for me.
It was the first time in history when governments and central banks bailed out big financial institutions and created money out of thin air to do it.
As a result my fixed salary bought me fewer and fewer goods and services every year.
My quality of life slowly deteriorated.
To make things worse, I learned about taxes. With my salary the tax got taken out before I got paid. So I had no say in the matter.
I learned that people who got paid in other ways got the luxury of choosing when and how to pay taxes. It’s not that they didn’t pay tax, it’s that they could be 10x more tax efficient than me with my bank salary.
For these reasons I now see salaries as a scam.
I will never work for one again.
The surprising way to finish the work day in 4 hours
Not only will I never earn a salary again, I will slowly transition away from ever working 8-hour blocks Monday-Friday again.
1. Unlock this powerful state
Part of the problem with my 8-hour workday was I always felt stressed. To work twice as fast you need to relax so creative ideas can flow.
Now when I’m not working I focus on relaxation more than ever before. This then leads me to the most powerful feeling in the world: flow states.
All flow means is you:
- drink coffee
- wake your body up with exercise
- relax with a warm shower
- turn off all notifications
- place your phone in another room
- then start work you genuinely give a crap about
4 hours of deep work in a flow state feels like 8 hours. And the productive output is typically 3–4 times.
This is the secret the corporate world doesn’t understand.
One hour in the flow state is probably equal to 100 or even 1000 hours of normal state both in terms of output & in terms of joy — Sandeep Kocher
2. Get out of a constant state of chaos
I often think back to my job.
I worked in an open-plan office full of loud noises. I had endless back-to-back meetings. Everyone constantly tried to throw their work priorities at me. The way we worked constantly changed. No one had a clear idea what work had to be done.
Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said “Without focus, consciousness is in a state of chaos.”
Modern work isn’t made for focus. It’s made for chaos, and that’s why we waste so much of our life working miserable jobs and pissing our time up against the wall like drunks.
Either find an employer who understands the limits of traditional work and rebels against it. Or work for yourself, become an entrepreneur, join the creator economy, or become a freelancer.
Just get out of chaos hell.
A focused fool can accomplish more than a distracted genius — Alex Hormozi
3. Embrace outsourcing
Youtuber Mr Beast is a productivity god driven by obsession.
He often helps other creators become as successful as him. In an interview, he says the key thing he does is help them build a small team.
If you’re doing five jobs, you can only put 20% of your time into each.
If you outsource certain tasks then the people who take them on can put 100% of their time into them and do better work even if they have less skill than you, thanks to focus.
If I worked a 9-5 job again, I’d outsource the BS tasks I hate to a virtual assistant or Ukrainian project manager.
I wouldn’t even tell my boss.
I’d just do it because it would give me more focus by freeing up time to work on side hustles or even get a second employer.
Use the tool of outsourcing.
4. Speed matters for this bizarre reason
To start work you need activation energy.
According to productivity expert James Sommers, the picture you have of the work in your head plays a big part. If the task feels big then you’ll need more activation energy to get started.
If you don’t have sufficient energy you won’t start or you’ll procrastinate.
If a task feels slow it has a high energy cost. Anytime we want to do the task, the bill is too high so we run in the other direction. This is how hours of the day are unnecessarily wasted.
When a task is fast to complete it feels easier so we’re more likely to do it.
Get good at working faster. Use flow states to work at hyperspeed.
5. 3–5 core tasks are all our tiny brains can handle
Modern to-do lists are packed with tasks. That’s why they suck.
Sahil Bloom points out that any more than 3–5 tasks will set you up for failure. You have to ruthlessly prioritize what you say yes to.
If you already have 3–5 core priorities then you should make your default answer to new requests a no.
Want to increase your focus by 169%?
Music helps focus the mind to work more efficiently. The thing is not all music is equal when it comes to doing deep work in a flow state.
My homeslice Dakota recommends these:
• Cyberpunk 2077
• Blade Runner 2049
• The Dark Knight Trilogy
6. Order tasks from hard to easy, then do this…
Hard tasks are the ones we delay the most.
What I do is wake up in the morning and do my hardest tasks first. That way by 11 am I feel like I’ve already won & the rest of the day feels piss-easy.
Score tasks based on difficulty. Do hard ones first.
Working long hours isn’t necessary if you zoom out and take the time to understand how the new digital economy is working less.
Working 4 hours a day isn’t a clickbait idea. It can be achieved with mindset, planning, flow states, and energy management.
Try these ideas out to quit full-time hours and get your life back.