How to 10X Your Results, One Tiny Tweak at a Time (#144)

Tim Ferriss 10x Productivity

If you’ve enjoyed my previous in-between episodes, then this might be your favorite episode ever. It’s one of the most actionable, information-packed interviews I’ve ever done.

This time, it’s Joel Stein (@TheJoelStein) asking the questions. Joel is one of the funniest writers I have ever read, and he’s great at leading an interview.

Here’s how it all happened: I have many different conversations with journalists. It can be painful when I have a 1-2 hour conversation, and then it’s cut to a single sentence as a quote in a piece. And it’s often a misquote. So how do you fix that? Well, you record it yourself, which is how this episode was created. (With the interviewer’s approval, of course.) This way, you don’t “lose” the content, and you cover your ass with media and journalists.

Joel wanted me to help him figure out 5 areas he could upgrade in his own life for a series on self-improvement. In this episode, we discuss a wide variety of topics, including:

  • How I choose what to improve from infinite options
  • How you can subtract your way to success
  • The genius of Ben Franklin
  • Why self-improvement doesn’t mean self-centered
  • How I say no to time-consuming lunches, coffees, and other meetings
  • How I tackle cold introductions
  • How I surmounted Lyme Disease
  • My 100% complete break from start-ups (read this for more)
  • My podcast process
  • Tools and tactics for reversing email overwhelm

If you want help reducing anxiety and don’t have time for the entire episode, listen to this short segment.


#144: How to 10X Your Results, One Tiny Tweak at a Time

Want to hear another podcast packed full of actionable tips that I use in my own life? — Listen to this short episode on the magic of mindfulness. In this episode, I discuss how to complain less, appreciate more, and live a better life (stream below or right-click here to download):

#122: The Magic of Mindfulness: Complain Less, Appreciate More, and Live a Better Life

This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

This podcast is also brought to you by Thrive Market. If you’re anything like me, you care a lot about the food you put in your body. In fact, I think it’s much more important than exercise. The problem is that good food can be extremely expensive…but it doesn’t have to be.

Thrive Market is like Costco for everything healthy – an online shopping club offering the best brands and groceries at 25-50% off retail prices, shipped nationally for free. There are a lot of Slow-Carb Diet friendly items that I recommend in The 4-Hour Body. You can easily filter everything by your preferences: paleo, gluten-free, vegan, raw, non-GMO, etc. Best of all: each paid membership also sponsors a free membership for a low-income family.

Until March 15th only, you have an opportunity to win $10,000 in top-tier healthy food and other prizes from Thrive Market. Go to this link, and when you enter to win the prizes, you’ll automatically be sent a link to download the Slow-Carb Diet® Cookbook.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Based on my idea of subtraction, what could you remove from your life that would make you happier and/or more productive? Please share in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Asana | Basecamp | Trello

  • Slack for eliminating email
  • Screenflow to record videos to describe my process for doing important things. I upload these videos to a Dropbox folder. When I need someone to execute that process for me, I send them the Dropbox link. That saves me the time of training a new person on each task.
  • Try out If This Then That automation software
  • Connect with Joel Stein:

Joel Stein | Twitter

Show Notes

  • How do you get started in self-improvement? [8:18]
  • Strategies for saying ‘no’ to time-intensive meetings and/or coffee dates [9:59]
  • The crux of self-improvement: What gets measured gets managed [12:39]
  • A technical example of measuring self-improvement [13:45]
  • A fascinating example of measuring social self-improvement in categories like father, husband, provider, and lover [15:57]
  • Can self-improvement be selfish? [18:25]
  • What modern people tend to most focus on improving [21:09]
  • Money and sex: ideas for measuring and improving [22:06]
  • Ideas for cutting down on email [22:46]
  • A framework for decreasing anxiety and tackling psychological issues [25:41]
  • On doing away with email forever [28:36]
  • Getting specific on various implementation methods of the 80/20 analysis [31:44]
  • What I’m working on at the time of this recording: podcast production [33:26]
  • On the counter-productive nature of amassed tools and real progress [35:40]
  • On developing assertiveness [36:36]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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101 Replies to “How to 10X Your Results, One Tiny Tweak at a Time (#144)”

  1. Thank you Tim!

    Great advice!

    Loved listening to your take on simple effective life and self-betterment, effective and efficient problem solving.

  2. QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Based on my idea of subtraction, what could you remove from your life that would make you happier and/or more productive?

    Unnecessary self-talk that often interrupts the process of doing things adding zero value.

    Got better at dealing with it but still an area of improvement.

  3. Great podcast Tim! I’ve started to remove the clutter from my life. That includes many things, such as clothes I don’t need or wear, email messages that stack the inbox, and anything else devoid of value.

  4. How about something the average person can implement. Like, how Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans is ruining your life. I don’t use email for work.

    1. Well, actually Candy Crush Saga helps some people to lose weight and overcome depression 🙂 “SuperBetter” by Jane McGonigal

  5. QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Based on my idea of subtraction, what could you remove from your life that would make you happier and/or more productive?

    >>> The TV! It can be a big distraction but I could do without it (and I do, most of the time).

    Thank you for your great work, Tim! It is always a great source of inspiration.

    1. for me TV is the most-to-blame invention for indirectly ruining peoples lives and the “default” tool for those who fall into the category which TF says “Busy is a form of laziness”… TV for most families is the tool witch which the time between working and falling asleep for the next workday can pass quicker 🙂 couldn’t agree with you more 😀

  6. Just wanted you to know that I appreciate the blog posts and think they’re really useful. When I share your podcasts, I always link to the blog (as opposed to direct streaming links) because it contains useful information and people are attracted to the faces when they pop up on social media. I also tell people to subscribe to the email list for the podcast updates.

    1. I would politely disagree here. These are mostly different questions in different contexts than those I’ve answered before.

      1. @tim — agreed. I really liked hearing your suggestion for journaling to get to the bottom of how you can improve. I thought your journaling was just ideas / freethinking…after (how long now?) I finally get it. Thanks for finding another way to reach the rest of us….

      2. Hey DNA2907! Perhaps you have graduated from Tim’s information? Not necessarily a bad thing! Tim, thank you for all you do! You’ve inspired me more than you will ever know. Recently, I attended a training from our company–our presenter asked us to define success…after a few people tried, he gave us his definition, “Success is doing your best for the benefit of others” Tim, you have succeeded, your gifts are appreciated by many, many people. Hope you have a great week!

      3. I would like to add that quality content is well worth repeated viewing. Repetition cements things in the psyche, thereby lowering the threshold for implementation.

      4. Plus, the ads here are the kinds of ads that most listeners would take advantage of. Vimeo, for example. I discovered Vimeo long before many people did and I am glad it was advertised here. Vimeo is such a great site and it should be supported because it is supporting some valuable artists who will never make it to Hollywood or HBO. The ads here are definitely reaching out to the right kind of audience. People complain just because they can. No other reason. Even if you are the most selfless person in the world, they will always find something to give crap about. Like another commentator said below, pearls before swine.

      5. “content he’s covered A HUNDRED…:” ???? lol 🙂 tim… i’ve listened all your podcasts before… now I’ve downloaded ALL of em again, and begining from scratch, from the first episode and moving my way up, taking notes for the things and advice that are applicable to both my business and personal life (juggling father of two + entrepreneurship)…. keep up the good work…

    2. Absolute tosh excellent podcast and plenty of new material . It’s cost you nowt and you still complain. Pearls before swine

  7. Nothing mentioned about 10x. I was thinking you will talk about something like compounding effect. Word 10x not even mentioned in the podcast. Seems like an irrelevant title for a decent podcast

  8. QUESTION OF THE DAY – use the internet (web – email – etc) at defined times.

    Thank you for your great work!

  9. Tim ferris you are a curse in December I decided to listen to your podcasts on my 20 minute commute to work. That morning journey took 1 hour due to traffic my evening return journey took 3 hours . Dan you ferris you have some voodoo hex on my life. In all seriousness it made a pleasant and insightful start and end to my day stress free. Absolutely love all all the casts and this one was top notch as usual. By the way I live in the north of England and no matter what people say travel is easier in the south.

    Keep up the great work tim you’re very much appreciated on the other side of the Atlantic.

  10. I could have earned 5 Masters degrees, written the great American novel and built a full scale replica of the Eifel tower in the hours I’ve spent sitting on my ass in rush hour traffic.

    1. That’s why you got to change your life so you don’t have to spend time in traffic :), and there is always a way if you are committed.

      Another thought why DON’t you get another masters degree in traffic?

      Apply, download study materials and use the time productively 🙂

      You can make any experience useful 🙂 get creative

  11. Tim, can you please deconstruct Joel Salatin’s success in the ongoing food revolution?

    On the surface it might seem outside your bailiwick, but I think with minimal reflection you’ll discover an incredibly successful and brilliant man at the forefront of a controversial, under-appreciated, yet incredibly important topic.

    Food is life.

  12. Addendum to the Show Notes: Lyme Disease at 13:50.

    Tim, thank you for your work, it has helped me cope with years of neuroimmune illness. By implementing many of your practices I have managed to make slow, but sustained progress. I frequently recommend your blog to other people I meet with Lyme, fibromyalgia, MECFS etc.

    Part of what is difficult for people with these conditions is the lack of definitive biomarkers (Lyme is a bit of an exception), particularly ones that can be tested regularly. Many physicians are not familiar with the tests and will not order them. Ordering them privately is expensive, and often impossible due to layers of bureaucratic interference. Thanks to you I became cognizant of WellnessFx and am thus able to monitor my thyroid hormone levels. However, those hormones are downstream of a pleiotropic cytokine that is of greater interest. Fortunately, I have found a rheumatologist who will regularly order that test for me. Most neuroimmune sufferers are not so lucky. I wish I could direct them to WellnessFx or a similar service.

    Your thoughts? I know you are a busy man, but perhaps this piques your interest?



  13. I like how focused this interview is, a lot of the previous interviews shifted from one theme to another and this one stays in the same theme while addressing it from different angles.

    The self help theme and the fact that you’re tackling it from different angles makes it easy to understand that I just need to cut away the things I’m doing throughout the day which are redundant and are not adding value in my life.

  14. Thanks Tim with this very insightful podcast. Can you share one lesson which you learned while recuperating from Lyme disease?

    1. Here’s an excerpt from one of his recent 5-Bullet Fridays:

      “I plan to always have MD-prescribed doxycycline on hand. After my last severe experience with Lyme, I’m opting to to take a “morning-after” doxy pill if an embedded tick is found, versus waiting for symptoms to appear. Of course, speak to your doctor about all medical matters. For what it’s worth, I still believe most self-diagnosed “Lyme disease” is nothing of the sort, as the symptoms often overlap with many other conditions (e.g., chronic fatigue, depression).”

  15. Really, really, amazing podcast. I loved the 80/20 rule for removing pain in your life. Top notch content and specific examples. The why is they key driver to removing limiting patterns. Great work tim!

    1. Hi Cyndie. If you are happy to do this, can you expand on getting rid of the 2nd job and how you became your own boss. I have a similar decision to make and would love to hear more.

      1. Well, I finally got to where my budget was stable, the part-time job money was waning, and I got an offer to manage the social media for a local restaurant for a decent weekly wage. That was my jumping point. The how-to includes establishing a relationship with someone you want to work for while setting yourself up financially for the switch, then letting them know when you are ready to start. Then do good work and maintain personal discipline! Good luck!

  16. Great podcast Tim. I’ve listened twice and had an epiphany regarding clutter. Love”keep asking why.” This works for Questioners (thank you Gretchen Rubin!) and probably many others. I really like your voice as well as your podcasts. Would love to hear more about your Lyme disease battle and how it’s going. Thanks again for Jamie Foxx, Derek Sievers et al.

  17. Thank you for this solid podcast, Tim Ferris. I am familiar with Joel Stein’s articles. He is a smart journalist, and he asked great questions here.

    Your room in the picture looks like ultimate thinking and writing place with all the soothing earth tones. That is a nice photograph.

    As for subtraction, what a good coincidence that I am starting something I call ‘focus camp’. It is my own thing. I do it every other year depending on how slack I had been in my physical and mental nutrition. 2015 was full of new events like cross-country moving, traveling across the ocean and other life affecting things. Now next 3 months, I am going to cut my connections from many distracting things and focus on exercising, healthy eating, reading, and studying new subjects like a maniac. It is to make up for the time I couldn’t do any of that. I make a program for myself for 3 months and I strictly stick to it. I did it many times before and I always felt so great at the end. Not to be misunderstood here, making up for past times doesn’t mean I regret for what I did. For example, I stayed in a lake house for a while and I drank a bottle of wine everyday by the fireplace. How can you not? I didn’t care about that 10lbs. I would put on. When I am having fun, I just enjoy the moment. You need to respect yourself enough to make the best of your time. Anyways, that is how I take care of slacking, I follow my own focus program.

    In general, I think internet is today’s biggest time consumer. There is so much noise. Lots of new so-called news outlets trying to pull people into their own agenda. Left and right, both sides are doing the same thing. We all need to limit our scrolling on social media and get productive with other things, like learning a new language, for example. Even just staring outside of the window with a cup of coffee is better than poisoning your head with noise.

    All the best xx

  18. Hi, Tim! Did you mention in this episode that you record with Skype, and use eCamm as a backup? I’ve been using Ecamm as a primary recorder for Skype episodes of my podcast, and fretting a bit about backups. Could you (or anyone) share a few specifics of how you achieve redundancy for Skype interviews?

  19. Tim, wow! You weren’t kidding! It’s taken a few listens really start to unpack this generous gift of efficient actionable tools. I am blown away at their usefulness. Generic but specific to being able realign any part of your life toward smiley-ville.

    It is a joy & delight listening to someone whose brain is able to function at these levels.

    I am looking forward to my time set aside this afternoon to wield these tools & learn how to use them well!

    (I don’t mean to sound gushing – my secondary/socially acceptable language of appreciation is verbal praise, so please take it in, from a vein of deep appreciation.)

    (There is a strong reason I am so appreciative. In my former life, I had access to cutting edge & genius all the day long. A right-for-me life change took me out of those environments. And while I no longer have the financial means to travel in genius circles, my heart craves it deeply.

    So when I come upon a generous soul such as yourself, who allows me to be a fly on the podcast wall of brilliance sharing with brilliance, I find myself deeply great and full from the experience.)

    That was alot of words, my point is “Thank You.”

    mahalo from my highest self to yours,

    – Michelle

  20. I just got done reading “The Four Hour Work Week”. Loved it! How can a person who is required to be present to perform their job (massage therapist in a hospital) apply some of these strategies? I love my job but it’s a serious burnout track at the pace they have you doing it at the hospital. It would help the longevity of my career to have “mini retirements”. I like my paid vacations and if I were self employed not working equals no money. Same if I worked at a spa (which I have no desire to do). Any suggestions?

    1. Teach courses, write books, publish blogs, videos and podcasts.

      That paid vacation is not worth the burnout. You have invested so much in your expertise already. As a successful entrepreneur, you can afford mini-retirements and vacations. SPA hours may be flexible enough to use as a second job while building your private practice. With good tips, SPA take-home may even match the hospital hourly pay. Research the opportunities with your HR. Some hospitals offer free education where you can transition into a management position, or a physician assistant program.

  21. It sounded so simple, so easy … just follow the process, he said …

    I took out the big paper & thick metallic pens. I spewed out pain points for a bit. Then started to organize them, looking for trends to 80/20 them. So far so good? Sort of …

    I ended up with 2 pain points – constraints, inconsistent variables.

    Then why’d myself into a philosophical diatribe about an ongoing beef I have with the nature of the functioning of the 3rd dimension.


    some people’s brains, I tell ya …

    I can’t wait to see what I come up with when I figure out how to test my assumptions about the nature of the universe!

    ummm … yeh ….

    wish me more concrete luck in my second attempt at this process 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I can only assume this works far better for “other” people …


  22. Hey Tim Ferriss,

    I would love to see you interview Simon Sinek and/or David Blaine. Simon’s philosophy is right up your alley and I believe it would be an interesting interview. Simon’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” has not only inspired me, but has probably inspired the 25+ Million others who’ve watched it and is still currently one of the most watched TED Talks ever. David prides himself on not just being a magician but also a human guinea pig as well. I believe you two would have a lot to talk about. I guess naturally, I though you would have had at least one of these people on by now. Would love to know your thoughts. Love your show. Love your books. Keep inspiring and educating the world!

    All the best,

    A long-time listener.

    1. I’m reading this 4 years later and can’t believe he still hasn’t interviewed Sinek! And it’s not 25 + million views anymore, it’s 50+ now!
      I don’t agree that their philosophies are similar, but it still would be an interesting interview.
      Btw, I found an old twitter post, Tim asking people what their favorite TED talk was, and so many people answered Simon’s. Which, I guess, means that a lot of Tim’s fans are also Simon’s fans.
      Maybe…. We’ll live long enough to see that interview.

  23. This may be a wordy question but I’d appreciate it if you’d bear with me. You had briefly talked about your friend who had his wife access his performance in four categories. I have quite a few areas that need adjusting in my own life. A lot my progress seems to have plateaued recently. How do I find the right people to assess and suggest changes in my life? Another way of asking that is how do I ensure I do not look to the wrong people for input and assessment?

  24. Tim, I so wish you posted transcripts of your talks. Not everyone has time to listen to podcasts. I rather read. 🙁

    1. Hay Niko79. I was just about to ask, where can I get a transcript? This is a truly great condensed course from the School of TF. I have listened to it 3 times and made notes but could really do with the text to study. Ive been following TF for a while and yes some of the suggestions can be found elsewhere. But this episode is the sum of many parts. Less is more. It’s concentrated TF.

      Now just need to get my hands on the transcript. HELP anyone ?

  25. Hi Tim,

    I’m a 17 year old teen who is on the cusp of adulthood. I have just graduated Highschool 1.5ish years early. I basically have six months free till I go to college. In those six months what can I learn that will help with my business endeavors ?

    Thank you for your time,

    Harsimran Singh

    QUESTION OF THE DAY: To finish school a year and a half early I have already stripped down my life a lot. I think if I had to take away something it would be meal prep time.

  26. Hi Tim,

    When you were trying to articulate the ‘cascading effects’ the term ‘root-cause analysis’ came to mind to describe what you are doing here.


  27. Tim, I recently started listening to your podcasts and they are so addictive in a great way. On one of your podcasts you recommended to one of your gest that they should listen to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast. You specifically mentioned the Wrath of Khans podcast as your favorite.

    I will try and keep this brief but I would like to provide some context for this story. Last week I had to travel from Louisville, KY to Dallas because I could not get a flight that would get me their quick enough. My older brother (only 59) was in his final days from a battle with non-small cell lung cancer which is a non-smoker lung cancer. This is a guy who is very health conscious and a stud who ran many marathons along with doing the marathon up Pikes Peak. Needless to say it was a very heavy time with an 11-hour drive in front of me. I needed an escape so I would not be blubbering for 11-hours.

    I remembered your recommendation from your interview and I turned on Dan Carlin’s Khan episodes on Khan. They were awesome and an incredible escape along with a companion during this long drive and very challenging time. Between phone calls with my family and Dan it passed the time quickly and kept me moving. After he passed you and Dan kept me awake and engaged for the drive back home after only 6 hours of sleep in 72 hours.

    Tim what I want to express is my sincere appreciation for the recommendation and the over the top quality of the product you produce. I know this might seem a little weird to share this information but it is my story and I just wanted to THANK YOU. Please keep up the great work! I will continue listening, learning and improving.

    All the best!


  28. Very interesting article as usually =)

    But my question is concerning your book the four hour work-week.

    How to contact CEO’s or people that inspire me?

    If anyone could answer I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks for your attention,

    Sebastian Guedes

  29. Please send me the 5 on Friday or whatever the email is called that you send each week–I think on Friday.

  30. Tim, One of the best things I’ve read from you is how you cut down / cut out email. What email client do you use that, for example, lets you set autoresponders on a once weekly basis?

    I’m using Gmail and I’d have thought this would be obvious functionality – but I can’t find it?!

    Please help. Thanks and keep up the inspirational work. You’re saving lives!

  31. is there a transcript for this podcast or all your podcasts..dont have time to listen all the time..

    being able to read helps and can reference back and forth..would be very helpful..

    thnx Das

  32. Hi Tim,

    I like the new addition of index of topics that will be discussed in an interview.

    Is there a technology to mark the start of audio recording topic segments, in such a way that they can be linked to the index of topics? (Without breaking up the continuous recording into recorded segments.)

    I find myself skipping through long interviews. With links within the index, I could listen only topics (segments) of interest to me.

    Thank you!

  33. In trying to 10x my results, I bought 4-hour body on Kindle and am partially through reading it. Obviously, as recommended, it’s not easy to breeze right through, though there are some sections I would much prefer to listen to via an audible version. However, to my chagrin I was not able to buy the audio add-on for this book! Seems like a detail you would totally cover to allow me to switch back and forth between mediums. Since you have the audio book version on audible, what would it take to offer an add-on through the kindle feature?

  34. Loving these in between episodes Tim! Great to get a glimpse into your current thinking along with the tools and processes you find useful.

    Discovering 80/20 many years ago was a game changer for me. It influences most things I do.

    Shameless plug but for those suffering email overwhelm I wrote a book on just that problem that can be found here:

    Keep on doing what you do!

  35. Hi Tim

    Re: Opportunity to collaborate in empowering the world in transformation

    How are you? Love your bullets.


    By being my mentor – via 1 email of priority scheduling per month

    With What?

    [Moderator: link removed]

    Take a look at the story and product (so far our best seller)…what’s your cheese (what’s the Mandarin translation?)

    Just got back from two weeks in Thailand and second time of reading your four hour work week. Totally inspired to make it happen.

    Jack Canfield is also someone I look up to (I live the secret) and was excited to see how he played a role in your publishing the book. Am also visualising my number (R1M) and taking bold actions….hence this email.

    Looking forward to your favourable response.

    Kind Regards


  36. Hi from England, Tim.

    I actually have a question for you about 99 Designs.

    I listen to loads of your podcasts and you mention them a lot as a supporter, but I feel a bit troubled by the ethics of the thing, in that it sounds like the way it works is to ask a bunch of creatives to make something, on spec, for free, and then you pay for the one you like but no one pays the others for the time they’ve put into it.

    I’m a freelance writer and I make my living from that, but it’s considered bad form for clients to ask for work for free. I know lots of established people may choose to do some pro bono stuff, but, for example, no one asks a solicitor to write their will for free just to see if they’ll use them, or a dentist to do a check up for free to see if they like their manner, or a cab driver to drive them for free to see if you are comfortable in their car. Did anyone ever ask you to write a book or maybe do a presentation for free to see if they liked it first?

    Why do creatives get treated differently? Is it because we work with ‘ideas’ which are often intangible to clients at the start of the process? (By the way, I’m not trying to say you are not creative, because I think you certainly are).

    Too many people in the creative industries – especially those just starting out – are expected to work for free, and it’s simply not viable for so many of them. Certainly in the UK, many firms have been moving away from taking on paid apprentices and, instead, taking on unpaid ‘interns’ to do junior roles. In the media, for example, this often means that only young people from more well-off families can take these positions because they then need their parents to still support them financially while they do so. This means we are getting a bit of a ‘silo’ of an unrepresentative demographic going into the media, for example, and losing out on a whole other set of young voices joining the ranks.

    Despite how this might come across, it is absolutely not my intention to criticise you. I genuinely am interested in what you think about this quandary.

    1. I actually have the same issue/viewpoint – when I listen to Tim’s podcasts and he proudly touts 99designs, it makes me cringe. Talk about “work for work”. It might be great for Tim and the owners of 99design, but it’s simply another way to get work for free (spec work) and is unethical. Only one of the hundreds of designers who do the work for any given project get paid (the “winning” designer) in the 99design process. Often the price paid for work is pitifully low so that even the “winning” designer is making less than minimum wage. For designers who choose to work that way, I’d advise against it, though I understand that young designers feel like they can get experience for their portfolio that way. It’s seems that the creative professions (writing, design, illustration) most often get abused this way (“design our poster and the winner gets it printed! We get free design and you, well, your the winner!”) – you don’t see lawyers or engineers doing spec work. I guess Tim feels that its okay to promote a “work for work” structure on others as long as it benefits him? I’m not sure…but would love to know.

      1. As a Creative and Graphic Designer myself, all I can say is that it is free will. These designers understand what they are getting into. If they so choose to spend their time this way, who are we to not utilize it? They are choosing to waste hours of their day for little to no reward. Like many do watching news, television, having conversations with irrelevant people, etc. To each his own.

  37. Nice article. Love to hear other people talking about boosting their productivity. By the way love your tips list.

  38. This episode, the mindfulness one, Q+A with Derek Sivers and perhaps the podcast with Jamie Foxx for me are the top four informative podcasts in the repertoire.

    – Carl Kruse

  39. People, jobs, bosses, actions or news that are primarily politically motivated rather than focused on a tangible goal. It causes insane anxiety and is a huge waste of time for something that is essentially a human power grab

  40. Hi Tim, re checking email twice a day. My experience is that email is replacing the phone call, in business at least. What do you suggest when your salesman is in front of the client and the salesman needs to contact you/me to get the final concession for the order on the business. If I only check twice a day we will both lose out on the order.

    Great show, love it, how about interviewing Micheal Lewis (Liars Poker etc) on what he learned from all his subjects.

  41. Things I have streamlined (that get me strange looks from colleagues): grading.

    I am an adjunct instructor of public speaking. In other words, I get paid only for the time in the class and not time spent writing and grading exams, papers, etc. outside of class in my time. Due, in large part, to reading 4 Hour Workweek and Sowell’s Basic Economics, I have automated as much of this non-student contact work as possible. I have students take exams online, which are then immediately graded by the software. Their written assignments are submitted online and go through a plagiarism-checking device. I have frequently used comments saved on the software to use as needed on the outlines. I get assignments back to students promptly which helps them in their learning and application of concepts to the next assignment.

    My biggest issue is how other faculty respond to hearing that I automate and limit my out-of-class time spent on class work. So many faculty seem to relish, even brag, about the amount of personal time they spend on classwork “for the students.” It’s a badge of honor to be martyrs for the cause of education. When I mention my process I get a lot of push back and weird looks, even comments about how I don’t care about my job. Anyone have suggestions about a better spin on my process?

    1. Without knowing the details you may not be going far enough!? If not already, you should go the full monty on the flipped classroom concept: Have the students receive their instruction online, prepare and record their speeches and post them online for peer review, feedback, and assessment leaving face time for coaching etc. If my assumptions re. the details are incorrect then apologies and all the best in your quest for success. Either way “If you find yourself on the side of the majority . . .”

      1. I have put a lot of instruction online and try to spend class-time practicing concepts and techniques. I like the idea of having them post practice speeches online for peer review before they present in-class for the grade. Great idea, thanks!

  42. Really like most of your content, one thing that keeps coming back for me is what is the best moment/way to listen to a podcast and get the most out of it?

    I usually listen to podcast in my car but taking notes is not really an option 😉

    Any thoughts or recommendations?

  43. Adding Aikido to my life has prompted me to declutter. My current approach to buying and stuff: Never “buy”, only “invest”. That is, always consider return (happiness, time, money, etc.). Invest in experiences in the exploratory manner of an Angel investor. Invest in things in the more conservative manner of a Series A investor [1].

    [1] See “7. Fundraising gets harder” in

  44. After building upon a state of inertia for years, I’m excited for the impetus to start some motion. The feeling being, that once this ball gets rolling it will have some crazy momentum.

    Answers are where you look for them, and I’m taking a good hard look at Tim. Thanks for making yourself so visible, Mr Ferriss.

  45. Hi Tim, I love what you’re doing and your great interviews. Once I saw that it was possible to subscribe and get TRANSCRIPTS of your Interviews, right? How can I get this Transcriptions? Thanks, Jaroslav

  46. I have a sense this will be right up your alley. This “music” / concentration service is a collaboration between a psychiatrist and musician(s). Their science page alone is worth the visit even if you don’t take advantage of the free trial without credit card.

  47. So, once again my darling Tim, you led me down the rabbit hole. Won’t post the URL, but the blog starts something like THIS: Ok, first off, ya’ll are a bunch of pervs! My SEX post stats and views blew all other posts out of the water. I’m sure there’s a lesson there, just not sure what it is.

    Tim Ferriss (all around bad ass…remember?) often quotes Peter Drucker‘s management principle, “That which gets measured, gets managed.” This concept is typically applied to a business profitability model, but what if we applied it to biohacking? Not gonna hurt, might even help.

    So, what do we want to measure, and subsequently manage?

    Health. WOW…tall order. We all have different opinions and definitions of health and wellness. But, my blog, my definitions, my measurable metrics. You want to measure something else, feel free. YOU DO YOU. I’m gonna do me.

    For the next six weeks, I’m going TOTALLY BULLETPROOF.

    I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the post, but I have determined a bunch-o-stuff that is getting measured and hopefully managed over the next six weeks. From mood to weight to fat to sleep.

    Light and LOVE!


  48. To improve my life (and secure those around me) I want to stop taking everything so personally, and mine as well quit all vices, I believe they stimulate my defense mechanism, which comes as offences to the temporal mapping. Nevertheless, I have experienced freedom from temporal affairs twice in the past 5 years. Once for 2 months and again for 2 weeks. Low and behold, there was no way of knowing at those times that the ol’ vices would reconcile into my new sound mind and send me plummeting back down to death valley. I tell you real quick how I succeeded “Death Valley” both times initially. Goes somethin like this: Being an avid Bible reader and researcher, at some point after 3 solid days of being alone in my room, researching, reading, and listening to Bible Scripture, I recall my mind alerting me to take a carbon monoxide break (cigarette), I answered myself as if I wasn’t alone out loud I said, “Not NOW!”. Then is when it occurred to me that I had no more craving. A little while later I was called out of my room to help my blind room mate with spicing up dinner. Naturally I didn’t do something right (as usual) and I was scolded. Now I would usually reply with fighting words, but not that time, no. That time I was actually reserved. I apologized and stunned us both. Did an about face and went back to my room. I realized that I no longer contained psychological matter. No mental matter- no mental mishaps, no cravings, no yearnings, no needs and I was good with everything. My roommates daughter told my room mate that I was beautiful… Strange for even me because my skin was not doin to good from the use of several carbon stimulates. I was free! No thoughts, nothing. I was free indeed. These days I find it impossible to get back to that place, but I know its there. This is my short story building, and im ready to jump of off it.


    Lisa Marie

  49. Cleaning my space, listening to this. Decluttering!

    Thanks for all you do Tim. If i could have any 5 people in the world in one room. You would be one of the few that made the cut.

    if you or one of your delegates read this. what 5 people would you choose, and what would be your objective?

  50. Thank you for the podcast. Awesome content and tips. I’d love for you to interview one of my favorite author tom Asacker. His new book called I am Keats is a pure miracle. I strongly believe more people should hear him talk. This is self-help taken to a all new level.



  51. Hey Tim! I’m a big fan, love the podcast and Tools of Titans. Have you ever thought of doing a podcast with Kelly Slater? As an 11 time world champ in professional surfing (where he is typically twice the age of his competitors), CEO, and health nut, I think he’d have some great wisdom to share with everyone. Keep up the great work. Cheers!

  52. I’m reading 2 of your books currently. I’m feeling excited to implement the stategies you have outlined for success. I’m very bored in my life and I hate that MBA that you wa yes to pursue . Has not paid off for me yet except a bunch of school debt .

    Thanks for all you do. I’ll get there! Yes.

  53. While in bed in the morning I say to myself I have another hour to start my day. When I could use that time to prep and fuel my day no stress just a plan and thoughts.

  54. Idiocracy – great reference, we’ve been marching in that direction for years….my son, who I extremely proud of some 9 years ago lasted about 30 minutes at a monster truck rally….told me, “Dad, this is stupid let’s leave.” #helpYOUgetGAINS

  55. Tim I don’t why is that but I have a really hard time listening to a podcast…

    I want it to be faster, like when I read I usually scan fast (I believe most do it),

    I want to get into the podcast platform but how can I do it if I myself cannot really listen…?


    Tom Shavit

  56. Summary

    ○ Definition -> Elimination -> Automation -> Delegation

    ○ Identify your pain points (sources of stress) and analyze your current state of matters

    ○ Do an 80/20 analysis on your day, your life, and what gets you results

    ○ Only “what gets measured gets managed” — determine the metrics to measure your success

    ○ Create a “not to-do-list”

  57. I enjoy the podcasts.

    You might be able to save some bandwidth (and $$) without sacrificing much in audio quality if you run your mp3s through the LAME encoder with the following custom options before posting them:

    -m m –resample 24 –abr 36 –lowpass 18 –lowpass-width 12

    result: 1/3 the megabytes, but enough audio quality that no one listening on earbuds will be bothered.

    If you’re really fussy you could change resample to 32, but there is not much point in the slightly higher fidelity so long as your podcasts are mostly talk with little music. I recompress almost all my podcast playlist so I can get more on my mp3 player when travelling, and I’m happy with the resulting sound on my BOSE noise-cancelling earbuds.

    Think of it as the 80/20 solution to podcast fidelity, if that helps.

  58. I love how you’ve started recording interviews as a form of backup, I’m surprised you don’t have them give you an outline of the questions and focus on covering keypoints quickly for efficiency, especially since they only take small amounts from the interview.

  59. Hey Tim and others. What’s your advice for students who live in country like India? What business can a student in India start?

  60. Tim, thanks for the Tao of Seneca free downloads. looking forward to diving in to that. FYI: your link for the precision Xtra on amazon is down. I bought a Precision Xtra, but I live in China and I’m finding it difficult to find the Ketone strips at a reasonable price. Any recommendations for places I can look online that will ship international?

  61. Hi Tim – my visit with the President went great. Hope you had fun in Japan.

    I was just diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis and figured you probably have some experience on the topic through your many adventures. Any input on specialists or procedures would be appreciated.