Tim Ferriss is an accomplished individual in fields as varied as tango dancing and entrepreneurship. One of his greatest achievements is employing unparalleled efficiency to change the common system of the 40-hour, 9-5 work week to an ultra-effective four hour work week. His book on the subject, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich, is an International best seller. Tim Ferriss is the type of person who can conquer any task at hand – but he is not an inherently, exceptionally talented person. Ferriss has followed these three simple rules to achieve greatness in any task.

Deconstructing Tasks

If you asked Tim Ferriss how he was able to learn multiple languages, become a world-class tango dancer, overcome his fear of swimming, or earn his fortune – one of the first things he would tell you is that he deconstructed tasks. Right out of college, with an esteemed degree from Princeton, Ferriss worked in sales at a data company. He was fed up with the company and thought there were too many inefficiencies. He didn’t think his salary was comparable to the amount of work that he did. So, while still employed at his other job, Ferriss began working on his own company.

Ferriss developed BrainQUICKEN, an online supplements company, and found that he was putting in 14-hour work days at it. In order to escape his workaholic lifestyle, Ferriss deconstructed the work week. He examined the most important pieces of the work week and broke those down. The method of deconstructing tasks is the same method Ferriss used to conquer his fear of swimming. It is the same method he used to become a world class ballroom dancer. He looks at issues as a whole, and then examines each piece. By examining the small pieces of an issue it becomes less daunting, more graspable, and more attainable.

Understanding Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s law really contributed to Ferriss and his ideas of efficiency. The law states that the more time you allot a particular issue, the more complex you think it is. This idea challenged the way he saw everything. Maybe a 40-hour work week only seemed like 40 hours of work because that is the amount of time he gave it. He worked with this idea to develop the four hour work week. Using Parkinson’s law you can change your perception of tasks and their complexity. You will be able to accomplish more in a shorter period of time, if you just change your perception of the task.

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Knowing that Fear Is Your Friend

As a child Ferriss feared swimming. He endured a bad experience as a kid in summer camp, and did not get over his fear of swimming for decades. In his early 30s, he used his technique of deconstructing tasks to re-examine swimming. He looked at the mechanics of swimming and went from swimming one lap in complete fear, to swimming a kilometer in open ocean water. Those things that you fear most, may be the things, which you should overcome. Know that fear can be your  friend. It can push you to overcome adversity, to reach potential you never knew you had.

Tim Ferriss sees life in a different light than most people. His techniques to success are no secret. If you follow these laws for success, you too can become more efficient, effective, and successful.

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