Some thoughts on the podcast of the "4-hour Workweek" at SXSW
A former colleague of mine sent me a link and some comments on the podcast of the "4-hour Workweek" session by Tim Ferriss at SXSW. Here are my thoughts:
I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting some trivial fluff. It turned out that the book title over-trivialises his message (in my opinion), and that there's something for everybody.
I certainly noticed that checking e-mail two or three times a day does increase productivity a lot. But I hadn't thought about using an auto-responder to, er, "educate" people who expect instantaneous/quick responses (especially to counter the infamous "have you read my e-mail" phone calls).
I think he hit the nail on the head with busyness vs. productivity. I found that in trying to engineer software that it's very easy to try to cover everything, which results in a long to-do list of loose ends (and hence crap tasks).
Deciding the importance of tasks is hard. His suggestion of using metrics is good, but I'm not sure how you apply that to small tasks. Maybe none of the small tasks are worth doing. He did also say that his answer was the quick one, so I'd be interested to know if he goes into more detail in the book.
I was hoping he'd say more about his comment about retirement: "What do you do when retirement not an option?". I'd come to the conclusion that I would work right up until the end in some capacity, probably not full time.
I'm not sure his strategy of employing lots of Indians would work in Software Engineering. I mean, if you outsourced 90% of your work to Sierra Atlantic, say, how would you convince your employer to continue employing you rather than SA directly? I wonder if the technique could be more usefully applied to personal life, e.g.: "please manage my stock portfolio", or "find me the best private medical health insurer".