Tim Ferris Puts Almost Nothing in His Calendar. Here’s How You Can Do the Same

Tim Ferriss is widely known for working as little as possible, yet he’s somehow been able to write multiple bestselling books and build a massive brand for himself that most of us could only dream of. So, how does he do it?

The truth is that he probably works a bit more than four hours per week, but he is incredibly protective of his time. It’s a skill that every entrepreneur could benefit from, and one of the best ways to start is by getting a grip on your calendar.

Ferris says, “I put very few things in my calendar, as I do not believe most people can do more than four hours of productive work per day at maximum.”

While this might sound impossible for the average business owner, it is possible to take back control of your calendar with a few simple hacks. Here’s how.

1. Time blocking

One way Ferriss is able to get more done in less is through time blocking, a technique I use and that I would assume most entrepreneurs are familiar with. For the uninitiated, the idea is that it’s far more productive to block off three consecutive hours to get work done, rather than having three hours spread out throughout the day between meetings.

Blocking off multiple hours is difficult for most busy entrepreneurs, but not impossible. Thankfully, technology can help here. I use a tool called Clockwise which integrates with Google Calendar. 

Clockwise will automatically find areas of “focus time” for me and everyone on my team, moving around our meetings and suggesting the best times so that everyone has at least a few hours per day to sit down and get real work done.

The same could be done manually, but this makes it a whole lot easier.

2. The Arrow Method

The Arrow Method is something I developed and that I’ve been using in my calendar for some time now. It’s simple–the goal is to make your weekly calendar look like an arrowhead. Book the majority of your meetings in the beginning of the week, then let things taper out towards the end.

At my company, Leverage, we schedule almost all of our team meetings and check-ins on Monday. I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty long day of meetings–especially for me. But it’s a great system as it frees up the rest of the week for our most important work (much of which was planned out during those Monday meetings). Our team is encouraged to schedule meetings during the beginning of the week, if possible.

Between this and Clockwise, we’re able to block out significant amounts of focus time in our calendar. Some people will even have three or four day stretches with no meetings whatsoever. (Can you imagine?!)

3. Time is not linear

Not all time slots on your calendar are created equal. That’s because time is not linear. There will always be certain parts of the day that are more valuable than others, from a productivity standpoint. 

We all have peak times when we’re most productive during the day, and when we can get the most done. Ferris knows this, which is why he always uses the first hour of his day to focus on his most important work. 

I’m in the same boat–I know that 9:00am after a workout, when I’m at my desk with a fresh coffee, is when I’m most productive. That time slot in my calendar is far more valuable than 6:00pm when I’m in the back of an Uber.

One way to protect your most valuable time slots is to schedule lower value meetings and activities during your low value times. You can also take some meetings off your calendar entirely by conducting them asynchronously, through video or audio recordings. This is something I do frequently, as I can listen and respond to a recording from my team during low value times–and they can do the same for me.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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