You may or may not be familiar with Tim Ferriss’ work. He is not a rodeo star or the next hot, up and coming equine clinician. No, Tim Ferriss is an entrepreneur who lives in San Francisco and writes bestselling books like the 4 Hour Work Week and 4 Hour Body. I’m not sure whether or not he has ever ridden a horse. If you are not a business-person, entrepreneur or online marketer, you may have never heard of him.
Let me put it this way, he’s kind of like the Clinton Anderson of the entrepreneurial world. He has a huge, raving fan base that gobbles up everything he puts out and some people hate him.
Before he launched his first groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, the 4 Hour Work Week, nobody even knew who he was. But that book got a lot of people thinking differently about what was possible in their own lives. It opened up a whole new world for many readers.
The premise behind the book turns the popular notion that we are all slaves to our work and must delay what we REALLY want until we can retire at the ripe old age of 65 on its head. Tim talks about how he was able to restructure his work and life in such a way that allowed him to travel around the world for months at a time, and without millions in the bank, either.
Now, if you are like me, globe-trotting might not be your first priority, but having more time and more freedom to do the things you love, like ride your horses, likely is (I know because you’ve told me this).
I too struggle with making time for my horses. Between working a full-time job, keeping this blog and podcast running and all the new things I have in the works, I am often lucky to see them a few minutes of the day as I am putting a new bale of hay in their slow-feeder hay net (thanks Hay Chix).
By the way, I feel ashamed to admit that. Like, really ashamed.
I don’t have horses for yard ornaments or decoration. I have them to ride and enjoy. And I ride them and enjoy them far less than I would like.
So where does the 4 Hour Work Week fit in?
Well, I know I won’t be working this crazy schedule forever. Eventually I will quit the full-time job and devote 100% of my work efforts to Earn Your Spurs and my other business ventures. And that is going to allow some flexibility in my schedule to fit more riding time in. When I imagine my ideal day, it is never complete without the including my horses.
So, how can you implement Tim Ferriss’ strategies to incorporate more riding time into your schedule?
Why Do You Ride?
Before you start incorporating any of the following ideas into your life, you must ask yourself this question. Why is it important to you? Why do you do it even when sometimes it is a huge financial, emotional and even physical burden for you?
Because if you don’t know the answer, you aren’t going to be motivated to take a the action necessary to make it a bigger part of your life.
For me, I love horses. I feel like they are a part of me and without them, I am not me. They are my lifelong companions and teachers. When I am in the saddle, the world around me melts away.
And beyond that, without horses, I don’t get to be a card-carrying member of this western-lifestyle club in the way I personally want to be. The way that is congruent with the image I have for my life. Without horses, I can’t enter a horse show or a rodeo and I can’t help my neighbor check cows or drag calves to the branding fire.
Horses are a key part of who I am. And I will always push myself beyond the edge of my comfort zone to have them.
Now take a second and consider what role your horses play in your own life and why they are so important to you.
Open Your Mind to New Possibilities
The “way it has always been” is not the way it always has to be. Often our own limiting beliefs are what hold us apart from the things we truly enjoy and wish to spend more time doing. The truth is, we all have the same amount of time in the day. It is up to us to decide how we allocate it.
It is so easy to fall into a routine and concede that there is no way out of it. In reality, patterns can always be changed.
Could you get up an hour earlier and get a ride in before work? Or skip television in the evenings? Could you start a carpool with other parents in your neighborhood, so you don’t have to pick the kids up from school or take them to practice every single day?
Start looking at the areas in your life where you could make some changes. Even if change seems impossible, once you start examining various parts of your routine from a different perspective, you realize that the only thing truly keeping you stuck is you.
Outsource Your Life
Tim Ferriss is big on outsourcing, especially from a business perspective. If you run a business, there are reasonably priced VA’s (virtual assistants that you work with online) that can do simple tasks for you, like managing your email inbox and your social media updates, and at a very reasonable hourly rate.
If you are not a business owner, there are still parts of your life you can outsource to free up some time. Hire a house cleaner or pay for a fluff and fold service rather than spending your whole weekend doing laundry and cleaning the house. There may very well be a teenager nearby who would love a job cleaning stalls, too.
You might think that you can’t afford to outsource, and in certain instances, you might not be able to. But once you really start researching the possibilities, you may find some time-savers are less expensive than you think.
Also, you may be able to free up some funds that are currently being used on non-necessity items to trade for some free time instead. Would you be willing to forego weekly manicures to pay for a twice-weekly meal prep service that would free up a couple extra hours to spend with your horse?
Life is far too short to work all week and then spend the whole weekend doing tasks that you hate while your horse stands out in the pasture and gets older.
You likely schedule many of the tasks in your life. You know you are working 8 to 5, then there’s doctors appointments, ballet practice, meetings… They are all taking up valuable space in your Google calendar. But do you have your riding time in there too?
It’s the things we most want to do that often get put on the back burner in favor of the things we feel we have to do.
But if you’re like most people, if you put it into your schedule, you are far more likely to actually do it because you have allotted time for it.
Parkinson’s law says: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Don’t let your other tasks cut into your riding time because you haven’t made time available for it.
Create Flexibility in Your Job
This one may take a discussion or two with your boss, but if you read the 4 Hour Work Week, you will realize that for many people, this makes a lot of sense.
The truth is, the level of technology available to us today, makes it possible to work from home in many cases. And often, once we get out of the office environment, we are far more productive for having done so. No more annoying co-workers dropping by to chat or endless wasted time on meetings.
Even if you can’t work from home, maybe your boss would agree to adjusting your schedule in a way that allows more time with your horse. For instance, coming in an hour earlier in the morning so you can leave an hour earlier in the afternoon.
The key to having a successful discussion with your boss is to be well-prepared before approaching him. Be able to explain why this is actually a benefit to the company. Tim explains exactly how to prepare for having this discussion with your boss in the book in order to have the best chance of a positive outcome.
He might still say no, but if you never ask, he will never have the opportunity to say yes.
Learn to Say No
Does anyone else have this problem? Do you jump at overtime every time it’s offered because you, of course, need the money to pay for your horses that you never have time to enjoy? Are you that person who always gets asked to chaperone the field trip, bake cookies for the bake sale, or haul a horse across the state for a friend because you never say “NO?”
Stop. Stop it right now. I don’t mean that you can never do anything helpful again. We western folks like to help each other out and it is a good quality to have. Just let someone else have a turn once in awhile.
Here’s what I do. I get very clear about my goals in all aspects of my life – business, recreation, family, etc. Then when I am asked or have an opportunity to do something, I ask myself if this is contributing to my goals. To take it even further, I normally have one goal that overshadows the others at any given time. Right now it is anchored in business, so that is where I spend the majority of my resources. But once I achieve a couple of the items I am currently working on, that primary goal will shift to my horses, and that will be where I place my focus.
We all have so many distractions and opportunities that come along and for some of us, it can be hard to stay focused. I heard recently from a successful entrepreneur the way he decides what to say “yes” to. If it’s not a “hell yes” it’s a “no.” If he doesn’t know instantly that whatever is being offered is going to contribute to his goals in a big way, he passes.
Ditch the Time Sucks
Speaking of distractions…in the age of technology, there are many. Each of us are faced with thousands in a day. And often, we don’t realize that we can free up a substantial amount of time by minimizing them.
Obviously social media is a HUGE time suck. It’s Facebook for me. So many interesting headlines to click on. I simply MUST watch the video of cats who enjoy baths.
Are cat baths really contributing to my productivity and helping me to accomplish my goals?
I think we all know the answer to that one.
But I do use Facebook and other social media to connect with my amazing audience, so I have to be on there to a certain extent.
So, I went ahead and killed my News Feed. I can still view it on my phone, but when I am on my computer, I don’t have access to it. I installed a Google Chrome extension called News Feed Eradicator, and I no longer get pulled down rabbit holes following useless headlines and watching cat videos. I can’t begin to tell you how this has changed my life.
Another big one for people is television. I got rid of cable/satellite/anything offering 100 channels or more 5 years ago. And I only miss it 10 days out of the year when I want to watch the NFR on TV. If they would stream it online, that would solve my problem, but that’s another topic to discuss on another day.
We have Netflix, where we can watch a movie or unwind with a TV show a night or two a week, but television is not a central part of my life anymore like it was when I was a kid. I have no idea what shows are on what nights. People ask me if I have seen certain commercials and of course, the answer is no.
I know if I had it, I would turn it on just because it was there and get sucked into a show on cake decorating or watching a Beverly Hills 90210 (the original, thank you) marathon.
My time is too valuable for that. And so is yours.
We only get to live this life one time. So, if horses are an important part of it for you, it may be time to do a self evaluation and determine what you can do to make them a bigger priority.
I recommend picking up a copy of the 4 Hour Work Week (there is an audio version too so you can listen while you are driving or riding) if for no other reason than to open your mind to some new possibilities in your life. It seems like a book about work, but it’s really a book about freedom and living the life you really want. I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from more of that.
Do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment below.