The four-hour workweek is a pipe dream.
The notion that we can all work fewer hours and be just as productive is a seductive one. And it’s one that’s been peddled by some very successful people.
Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, has built a career out of helping people to work less and achieve more. He’s even been dubbed the “new prophet of productivity”.
But is the four-hour workweek really achievable? Or is it just a pipe dream?
There’s no doubt that technology has made it possible for us to work more efficiently than ever before. We can now do in hours what used to take days or even weeks.
And there are plenty of people who have managed to dramatically reduce their working hours without sacrificing their productivity or their income.
But there’s a big difference between working fewer hours and working four hours a week. The latter is simply not possible for most people.
1. We Don’t Work That Many Hours to Begin With
The average person in the developed world works around 1,700 hours a year. That’s just over 32 hours a week.
And that’s before taking into account things like vacation days, sick days, and weekends.
If we take those into account, the average person only works around 25 hours a week.
So, the idea that we could all work four hours a week is simply unrealistic.
2. We Can’t All Be Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is not a typical person. He’s an entrepreneur and author who has built a career around helping people to be more productive.
As such, he has a lot of control over his time and his work. He can work whenever and wherever he wants.
Most of us don’t have that luxury. We have to work around things like family, friends, and our other commitments.
3. We’re Not All Self-Employed
Another reason why the four-hour workweek is a pipe dream is that not everyone is self-employed.
In fact, most people are not.
The vast majority of people are employed by someone else. And that means we have to work the hours that our employer dictates.
4. We’re Not All Digital Nomads
Tim Ferriss is a digital nomad. He can work from anywhere in the world, as long as he has an internet connection.
But again, not everyone has that luxury.
Many of us have to be in a certain place to do our work. We can’t just pack up our laptops and work from the beach.
5. We Have to Sleep
Sleep is essential for our health and well-being. It’s also essential for our productivity.
Most of us need around eight hours of sleep a night. That means we can’t really work more than 16 hours a day.
And that’s before we take into account things like eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom.
6. We Have Lives Outside of Work
Tim Ferriss might be able to work four hours a week, but he doesn’t have a family or a social life.
Most of us do. And that means we have to factor in time for things like childcare, commuting, and socialising.
7. We’re Not Machines
Tim Ferriss is often described as a machine. But most of us are not.
We need time to rest and relax. We need time to unwind and de-stress.
And that means we can’t work 24/7.
The bottom line is that the four-hour workweek is a pipe dream. It’s simply not possible for most people.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We don’t all need to be productivity machines.
We need time to live our lives. And that means we need to work fewer hours, not more.