The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

A review of The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

A Review of The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss


Let me start by saying that I don't have my heart set on a Ferrari and moving to Guatemala isn't something I've always dreamed of. All the same, I did find golden nuggets in this book that seemed worth sharing. If you're like me - overwhelmed with paperwork and an overflowing email inbox - you might also like to give this book a try.

Tim Ferriss wrote the book almost like a series of blog posts. I mention this because other reviewers have found his writing style sort of annoying. I actually found it a quite handy way of parsing out specific insights. I absorbed different sections each day and experimented with those I thought would be helpful.

My greatest takeaway from The Four Hour Workweek will probably be Tim Ferriss' advice to "batch check" email. He recommends checking email just twice a day - 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. - and NEVER checking email in the morning.

Because I'm on Mountain Time, I adjusted the hours a little bit to reflect my clients' time zones, turned off all my phone notifications and then...held my breath. Also on Tim's advice, I set my phone to "Do Not Disturb" between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Ferriss was right. I noticed an instant uptick in my productivity, especially between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. - the hours I decided I would log in for messages. I suddenly had four hours available to complete client projects without interruption, and on top of that? I finished each day in a great mood.

Another thing I'd like to try is routing phone calls to a different number. Ferriss recommends using a service like Google Voice to route unwanted sales and other calls directly to voicemail. When I got rid of my land line a few years ago, it never occurred to me that the end result would be a dramatic uptick in the number of unwanted calls to my cell phone. I guess I'm just not that smart. Last week while I was out exercising, I received five phone calls in a half hour period. Though I didn't answer them, each call interrupted my focus for the task at hand and made me feel guilty for being away from my desk.

Another helpful suggestion was to itemize the tasks you do each day or each week that drain you but could be given to another person. There are so many, right? I chose two - housekeeping and grocery shopping - as things I could outsource as Tim Ferriss suggests. Working from home means you're available to change the laundry; run to the store; take the animals to the vet; accept packages - take care of everything, really.

While you can never totally get away from keeping a clean house, I acknowledged that having a housekeeper in twice a month to deep clean the bathrooms, kitchen, floors and dust surfaces would actually take alot of stress off my plate. Having groceries delivered from Safeway for $13 per order? Well, that $13 is a fraction of my billable time. Again, it's probably not something you'd do EVERY time you need supplies, it's certainly very helpful for the days you're working on deadline and you're almost out of cat food.

There were other sections that inspired as well. There was a proposal on my desk that I wasn't sure about, but when I realized it would pay for that Japan trip I've been wanting to schedule, I decided to put my name in. Instead of thinking about saving money by purchasing boxes in bulk online and taking a few personal packages to the USPS, I just dumped them at the UPS Store and let them wrap and send the boxes (at a premium price.) It's not something I can do all the time, but given how long they've been sitting in the living room - it just made sense. Get it out the door. Git r' done. And I'm going to try keeping UJ Ramdas' Five-Minute Journal.

Other sections I just skimmed through. I'm not going to move abroad to hedge my currency. I'm unlikely to lease a Ferrari, even if I could eventually afford it. So not everything was helpful, but a few tips made a surprising difference in my week, and I will continue to use them.

What helps you control your productive time? What books do you read to motivate and inspire you for the work week? Do you have any favorites you think I should check out?

And P.S. - Consider purchasing an Anti-Bad-Mood Spray! Thanks!


Why I don't "Crowdfund" or use Kickstarter

Heidi Rettig's Faux leopard coat and vintage bag.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with mood sprays or crowd funding. I just wanted to show you my vintage faux leopard coat and the red bag I bought in Paris fifteen years ago.

Now, on to the point:

Every once in awhile a friend will ask me why I don't put the Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays on Kickstarter. I have vision for my products beyond what you see here (mostly marketing and sample sizes) but it's tough to leverage the cash to make some of those dreams come true.The crowdfunding concept is attractive and Kickstarter's success stories would make any entrepreneur want to try for the gold.

But here's what I've learned after working in philanthropy: there's no such thing as "free money." Here's another thing I've learned from a decade of helping nonprofits raise money: You can ask for money but you can only ask one time. No - really.

Think of it this way and your successful grant applications will noticeably increase: If you have just one opportunity to connect with a funding source - are you ready? Can you present a carefully thought out idea (you would be surprised how many people believe that a casual social relationship with a funder will be more important than have an actual idea to discuss.) Does your work fit the donor's funding interests? Is it a quality product? Will you pursue the goal with or without funders' support? Do you have the skills to pull any of it off? Because if you're not ready even though you swore you would be then you can't ask again. If you do get the money then you have a set of responsibilities to the donor. Are you prepared for that?

So much energy goes into the creative presentation of ideas - that's a truly beautiful thing and crowd funders do that really well. Where it often falls apart is on delivery. Because happens when you accept support but your end product is just, kind of..."meh"...? What happens when the idea never comes to fruition? That's powerful information you're sending to your community of supporters about your products and your abilities to pull it off. Botch it and you'll never be able to ask again.

If you've given support to more than one Kickstarter project the chances are you've received something pretty average in return. Okay, it's a gamble and not every gamble pays off. But would you give money to that entrepreneur again? Or just look for someone else the next time around?

Also, my experience has been that people get tired of the "ask." How many times have you received an email from a cause promising that they'll never ask you for money again? Never is as long as it takes for the next email to arrive, just a couple of months later. Like a guy on the street corner with a cup out - passerby eventually become indifferent to his plight. In the case of nonprofit arts, I don't think that your email list makes any distinction between the tickets you're selling as an "ask" and the quarterly plea for donations. An "ask" is an "ask." They will become indifferent to repeated requests. So what do you want the most from them? Ask for that. One time.

I don't crowd fund because I'd rather just sell you my truly beautiful thing - my Mood Sprays - because I am pretty confident you will enjoy the scent, the luxury packaging, and the humor on the labels. If you enjoy them you will return to the website for more. Mood Sprays are a real idea, in the marketplace, for real-time feedback. And the feedback and support from customers is incredibly satisfying. (Best "starter" mood spray for the novice user: Apathy - smells like fresh-peeled grapefruit!)

I so appreciate my relationships with the folks who have taken a chance on my products - it has been wonderful to get to know all of you and your candor over the past two years has helped me refine the project in so many important ways. Good reviews give me energy for the next steps. Thank you!

I feel good about every box I ship - I've hand-blended every bottle and I know that if it smells good enough for me it smells good enough for you. So, I guess from that point of view, I could feel confident about putting my work up on a crowd funding site. But honestly - it feels so much better when you buy Mood Sprays just because you enjoy them! Thanks for listening.

[steps off soapbox]



Special for Denver, Colorado RIGHT HERE.

Inspired by the people I met on a recent trip to Denver, I'm running a new ad in Colorado's Westword publication.



This week's special: Purchase a full-sized bottle of Apathy and you will receive a set of four mini-misters as a bonus gift!


The Best $5 I've ever spent.

What's the best $5 you've ever spent? Leave a comment on the Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays' Facebook page! If you post a response you may win a free set of mini-sprays!


How to Use Anti Bad Mood Aromatherapy Room Sprays.


The Importance of Building Strong Relationships - Robert Steven Kaplan

Unsatisfying relationships are a source of stress for many people. In order to have a strong relationship, you have to share something fundamental about yourself with the other person. Tell them who you are. Robert Steven Kaplan from Harvard University discusses the importance of building strong relationships.


I manage too many websites.


Last month, the domain registration for my consulting website expired. The details are definitely not that interesting, but the short summary is that the email organizing app I use to prioritize messages classified the renewal request as SPAM. After ten-odd years of being Heidi Rettig dot com, I found myself without a homepage.

I'm not a very active blogger on my consulting site - my clients have always come to me by word of mouth -  but I do think it is important to keep a shingle up online, in case anyone has lost my number. I maintain this web-based business and several other blogs and three stores - without a doubt this is too many websites.

But I need my consulting website - it is my consulting that pays the bills! So, I jumped through various hoops. An early Internet-adapter, I had purchased the domain a dozen years ago, originally through my email provider who used GoDaddy as the registrar. The only problem was/is, that the email provider no longer exists and GoDaddy doesn't really consider my account a GoDaddy account. Though the domain registration was in limbo, GoDaddy support was very helpful and said that if I followed certain steps I would be able to renew the registration and all would be just fine.

Except that it wasn't. I did what they said, but within a matter of days, some guy had purchased the domain and started posting fitness-related articles on my site. There was lots of back and forth and frustration as I plowed through old emails looking for login information for WordPress,,, and my old email provider. My web consultant reassured me that all the files were still available - but understandably wasn't that interested in helping me unravel the administrative details.

And neither am I. I realized I cared about my domain but not enough to buy it back from the new guy. He can have it. I'm just going to let my original domain go and purchase another one. Which I will likely neglect just as much as I neglect this one. But this time? With this new domain? I'm definitely going to write down all the passwords and tape them to the bottom of my desktop.

Pinky swears.


Anti-bad-mood sprays™ Are a Return Hit for Holiday Gifts and Office Secret Santa

 Dwight Schrute prepares for the holidays. 

It’s that time again. Ugh. Your mother will, once again, yell across the Thanksgiving dinner table, "When are you two going to stop using birth control, already?!"

If you don't come up with exactly the right gift for Raul in accounting he'll see that you never get your expense checks back in time to pay the credit card bills.

A big hit last season, anti-bad-mood sprays™ are the perfect fit for this year's holiday gifts.

Aromatherapy mood sprays are an inexpensive, creative gift for office, family, friends

The Antidote for Ego™, Apathy™, Passive™ and Aggressive™ are custom blended sprays that battle common bad moods. Priced under $20 each, with eco-luxe packaging, they are perfect for everyone – the hostess, the office gift exchange, your family, your mailman.

“There really isn’t anyone who doesn’t need at least one anti-bad-mood spray™,” says Heidi Rettig, CEO of HR Products. “Everyone can use a bottle in a shared restroom to tamp down, um … smells. Stock up before the dysfunctional family members arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no shame in buying in bulk.”

The products are certified vegan and their essential oils are organically sourced, whenever possible. Apathy™ is the most popular product on the website. The scent of fresh peeled grapefruit, with a hint of green, naturally freshens the air and enhances memory and concentration.

“I ship more bottles of anti-Passive™ to New York City than anywhere else in our great nation,” Rettig says. “Something I wouldn’t have predicted based on my experience of the way New Yorkers behave in the taxi line outside Grand Central Station.”

Taxi Line at Grand Central Station, New York City.


Simply Charming in Winchester, VA now stocking aromatherapy mood sprays!



Anti bad mood aromatherapy sprays are now for sale at Simply Charming in Winchester, VA!


Anti Bad Mood Aromatherapy Sprays' - Funny Search Terms from Google.

I never really get tired of seeing the Google search terms that lead people to the anti bad mood sprays' site. 


What's an anti-vacuum bottle for lambs?! Oh.  I wonder if they found this site because I mention 'nipples' and 'Clarice'?

Dysfunctional mother. Check. Spray The Antidote for Ego - liberally before each family event. Leave a bottle in the bathroom. 

Plus one for 'narcissist bad mood.'

'Antidote for an aggressive customer' - depends what you mean by "aggressive." Your best spray (In that situation) may be pepper spray. But we make our own, too. Anti-aggressive aromatherapy anti-bad-mood spray.

'Obstructionist+resistance+define" - huh. Somewhat strange to see we are in the top 5 on Google in answer to that question.

'air freshner [sic] for body odor' - duh. Apathy contains pink grapefruit essential oil and the citrus cleans the air naturally. 


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