The Four Hour Work Week With AI
What is 4-hour-workweek?
The average length of the workday has declined steadily since 1880. A Newsweek survey reports that 3 out of 4 “Gen Z” employees believe we should be working less than 6 hours per day in a 4 day work-week, in comparison to the current standard of 8 hours per day in a 5-day work week. Tim Ferriss took it a step further with his 2007 book “The 4-Hour Workweek”, which spent 4 weeks on various bestseller lists and sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
I read this book this past summer, and it had a profound impact on my outlook on life and work. Ferriss covers how he used company automation and intentional lifestyle design to win his life back, going from 14-hour high-stress days to 4 hours of work per week, all with increased outcomes for his companies. As much as I loved his book, the life he described and some of his action items felt unattainable to someone like me who lives a very structured “big corporation” life. Thankfully it’s now 2023, and AI can make this dream life accessible to everyone.
How AI can be used to adopt Tim Ferriss’s principles
Delegation and automation
Ferriss emphasizes the acronym DEAL – delegate, automate, eliminate, liberate. He hired assistants to cover all his email writing, saving him >6 hours per week. He outsourced by hiring cheaper assistants in India. AI provides the same function as an assistant without needing to go through the process of hiring or paying someone else. AI tools can be used to craft emails, schedule meetings, and any other admin task that eats up your day. Ferriss makes a great point about the cost of context switching. These tasks are expensive mostly because they distract from more productive efforts that would require human interaction (i.e., designing a product). We’ve all burnt the midnight oil debugging that tricky failed test case, and AI tools like GitHub CoPilot can allow you to have a good’s night rest.
Low information diet
Ferris explains “most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals”. Ferris believes you should be intentional with what information you consume, and not waste time taking in irrelevant information. AI tools can summarize articles, or even be used to output relevant information based on an input of what you’d like to focus on.
Lastly, a big sticking point for me in this book was that we currently live a “delayed lifestyle.” We wait 40 years to live our life in retirement. AI tools can help you draft a proposal to request remote work or a sabbatical from your employer. It can help you plan your dream vacation. AI tools can help you define your values and concrete, actionable yearly goals. This will allow you to live an intentional life that makes you truly happy, freeing yourself from taking actions that are outside of your goals and interests.
We all hear that AI will change the world, but it’s not always apparent how. Lowtech AI provides the perfect opportunity to generate tools like the one mentioned in this article, allowing us all to win our life back like Ferris has.