How Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss Spends His Time

5 months ago   •   4 min read

By Zero Machina

Tim Ferriss is an American author, entrepreneur, and public speaker.

His list of accomplishments is long.

He's written five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. He's the host of The Tim Ferriss Show, which is the first business/interview podcast to ever exceed 100 million downloads. And he's also an early-stage technology investor and advisor (Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ others).

On top of all this, Ferriss has frequently given speeches about entrepreneurship and lifestyle design at prestigious organizations. His total net worth is estimated to be $100 million, and he has been listed as one of Fast Company's "Most Innovative Business People" and one of Fortune's "40 under 40."

How does Ferriss manage to get everything done? This article will take a look at how he spends his time.

Morning Routine

Ferriss has mentioned that his days "almost never look the same."  This makes sense, considering his ambition and accomplishments.

However, Ferriss does have a consistent morning routine that helps him to start his day off on the right foot.

  • Make your bed. He's a believer that making your bed every morning provides you with a sense of accomplishment. And, he claims, it encourages you to continue being productive throughout the day.
  • Meditate for 20 minutes. In Ferriss' words, "So meditation, or mindfulness practice, it's really about, to me, decreasing emotional reactivity so you can proactively create your day and create your life; versus, just being a walking reflex that sometimes screws up."
  • Drink strong tea.  He uses loose-leaf tea in a glass teapot with pu-erh aged black tea, green tea, and turmeric and ginger shavings.
  • Journal for 5 to 10 minutes. He also begins his day with what he calls a "brain dump." This is where he takes a few minutes to write down anything that's on his mind so he can clear his head and start the day with a clean slate.
  • Eat a small breakfast. Ferriss likes to have a small breakfast that is high in fiber and protein.
  • Exercise for 20-90 minutes. Ferriss also makes time for exercise every morning. He sees it as an important way to start the day and gets his blood flowing. He occasionally goes for a run, but will also do other activities like yoga or lifting weights.

After his morning routine, Ferriss is ready to start his day.

Workday Philosophy

Again, there's rarely a day where Ferriss' day is the exact same.

But he has a rule that has served him well:

"What you do is more important than how you do everything else, and doing something well does not make it important."

In other words, he focuses on effectiveness over efficiency, and uses thinking inspired by Gary Keller's "One Thing."

Here's how it works:

1. Write down the 3-5 things that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable.

2. For each item ask yourself, "If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?"

3. Also, for each item, ask yourself, "Will moving this forward make all the other to-do's unimportant or easier to knock off later?"

4. Look at the items you've answered "yes" to for at least one of the questions.

5. Focus on ONE of them for 2-3 hours (a couple of deep work sessions).

And that's it! Ferriss credits this process for being "the only way I can create big outcomes despite my never-ending impulse to procrastinate, nap, and otherwise fritter away my days."

Evening and Leisure Time

Ferriss believes that an evening routine and leisure time are just as important as work time. 

Ferriss' evening routine involves drinking tea, taking a bath, and reading fiction to help him disconnect from work and get ready for bed.

He winds down his evening with decaffeinated tea, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Ferriss credits this concoction for helping him sleep when he's struggling with insomnia. Then, he'll take a bath and read fiction, as this helps to turn off his "problem-solving apparatus."

It's important for Ferriss to disconnect from work so he can relax and recharge. This helps him end the day on a positive note and sets him up for a productive tomorrow.

He's also a big proponent of traveling when he's created enough freedom in his calendar. He believes that it's important to get out of your comfort zone and find time to see new places. This can help you learn about new cultures, and gain perspective on life.

Key Takeaways

Busy professionals can learn a lot from how Ferriss spends his time.

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Prime your day with a morning routine. Start your day off with a morning routine that sets you up for success. This can help you focus and be more productive throughout the day.
  • The lead domino: Begin your day with the most essential activity. This is the one that will have the greatest impact on your day and help you achieve your goals. Focus on effectiveness over efficiency.
  • Spend your leisure time wisely.  Use your evenings and weekends to recharge and relax. This will help you be more productive when you're working, but also allows you to enjoy life.
  • Travel and leisure: Travelling can give you lots of new experiences and help you to see things from different perspectives. It's also an excellent way to unwind and recharge your batteries.
  • Always re-evaluate: Ferriss is always looking for ways to improve. He's constantly reevaluating his methods and trying new things. This flexible approach allows him to adapt as his needs change.

Next Steps

Ferriss' methods are incredibly effective. His morning routine, work philosophy, and evening routine are all great examples of how to make the most of your time.

Want to learn how to better invest your time? Check out our article: The #1 Indicator That You’re Maximizing Your Time and Effort.

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