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In our second episode of The TFD Test Lab, host Jazmine attempts a 4-hour workday. For an entire week, she tries to get all of her work done in just 4 hours a day. Watch to see her real-time commentary, as well as her followup thoughts on work-life balance a month after the challenge.

In The TFD Test Lab, we're sharing real-life experiences challenging ourselves to live better, more budget-friendly lives. Whether through attempting a no-spend challenge, switching up a budget system, or tracking progress on a new healthy routine, we'll be highlighting all the risks *and* rewards of frugal living.

Jazmine Reed-Clark on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jazminereedclark/
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Hi, I'm Jazmine Reed-Clark for the Financial Diet and this is the Test Lab.

The Test Lab is where I take on challenges to live a better, more budget friendly life. And this week, I took on the four hour workweek, an idea that was first conceptualized by author Tim Ferriss.

Now if you're thinking, what is the four hour workweek, I had the same thought. And it's based on Tim's 2007 book, The 4-Hour Workweek. He's gone on to do a lot of other four hour challenges, like the four hour body, but this week we are just going to stay focused on this particular one.

At its most surface level, the book is exactly what the title suggests-- it's a guidebook book to living-- having more work life balance because you're only spending four hours in an entire workweek. It sounds a little gimmicky, to be honest it kind of is, but I do think there are some defining principles that are not only worth examining, but also worth applauding. And I would say the fundamental principle that I wanted to apply to this challenge was his acronym DEAL, which means Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.

And obviously, this is going to look different for everyone. For a little bit of background for those who may not be familiar, I am an entrepreneur and a freelancer. I wear a lot of different hats, from freelance recruiter, DNI consultant, career coach, writer, content creator-- that alone, I think you can see the steep hill I had to climb in order to pass this challenge.

I think those rules can also be applied to a traditional 9:00 to 5:00. Again, someone in a traditional 9:00 to 5:00 can't just say, hey boss, read this book by Tim Ferriss, not going to be in the rest of the week. So that said, I wanted to apply definition, elimination, automation, and my own sense of liberation to this challenge.

While I wanted to honor the challenge and do my best to drastically reduce my workweek to four hours, I knew as both a solo entrepreneur, and someone creating content for the TDF community and everyday professionals, that striving for the four-hour workday was much more realistic. Prior to the challenge, I spent about 12 hours per day, Monday through Friday, on my work, and I spent another three to six hours on the weekend, rounding out my average workweek to 65 hours. Here's how I did, here's what I learned, let's get into it.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to work we go. So for me, my day was all about definition. I wasn't going to even attempt to only work one hour that day, not realistic.

However, I thought, let me define all of the ways I'm being inefficient. And here's what I found. I took notes on my Notes app, and I was able to really break things down by how much is going to my podcast, my career coaching clients, my other clients, and texting and scrolling TikTok.

And I realized that I did-- I had a ton of time going to unnecessary meetings, or meetings that can be 15 minutes but get extended to 30, 45. And a lot of emailing, which Tim definitely goes into in the book. But in addition to that, I wanted to define, what is my muse.

So for some of us, it is going to be drinking piña coladas on the beach. For me that sounds nice, but after about two weeks I think I would want to do something else. So I wrote down this affirmation. "In this season, I want time to be spent on exciting and stimulating projects and investing back into non-profit driven hobbies." And what I meant by that is-- and my husband looks like he kind of makes fun of me for this-- but the second I fall in love with something, I'm like, oh my god, I could do this as a side hustle.

So just getting back into hobbies that are that-- just merely hobbies. And for me that's baking, cooking, home decor-- well I guess I make some money off of home decor. But no one pays me to bake, at all.

The biggest observation that I came out with from Monday's challenge was-- my inbox gives me anxiety because I know it's always someone needing something from me. I wonder if there is a way to access my inbox without getting notifications or seeing new messages? Because when I see a notification, I want to immediately respond to it because if I don't, I probably won't.

And that goes for texting and everything else. But I found this really cool hack. If you go into Gmail, that's what I currently use-- hopefully Outlook maybe has something like it-- I actually went to the settings, so you'll go to the little tool icon, it's typically in between a nine dot grid and a question mark on the far right hand side.

I scrolled all the way down to, you're going to pass density, you're going to pass the theme, and then, yes you'll go into inbox type. I chose priority inbox and then you can even go through and customize it. And this was really helpful because I just get a ton of spam, or I get so many job applications coming in.

But this actually lets me see when are my clients needing something, and then I'm just taking some more willpower. OK, the next thing that I have going on is my podcast Office Politics. Its second season comes out in July, so I need to edit.

I have the first episode edited, I need to work on the second. A big misconception about podcasts are that it's really easy, like you are just getting on a mic and talking. And that is just the smallest part of it.

These are all the different clients, or streams of revenue I have going on. And then I go in here, Office Politics, and Season 2. So my notes go here, but I want to double-check who I have for Episode 2.

But then I will go and make a doc and edit the episode. My husband is my editor this season. Yay Jordan, editor Jordan, Frugal Frank, you wear so many hats, so versatile.

So what I'm doing here is, for one of the episodes it's going to be a solo cup which is just a solo episode. This one is going to be called My Story of Burnout and Five Tips to Combat It. The way I like to it all is have act one, act two, at three, even if I don't explicitly say that in the podcast, which with Office Politics I don't.

But it just helps me structure it a little bit more. And I think while I'm still completing this challenge it will give me more structure, and just think of, hey just focus on act one right now. Also we have a dinner party at 6:00, I have no makeup on, I don't plan to wear any makeup so I have about 20 minutes before I need to leave.

But [INAUDIBLE], actually. Do you guys want to see what I did with some of my downtime? I made a dessert.

Man. This is Claire Saffitz' Dessert Person recipe, it's the cornbread layer cake. Obviously not layered, my other layer broke.

But is she's so pretty? You are getting a real life look into how I feel. So I filmed something for TFD, I have tried three different applications and every single time-- I mean the footage is just corrupted, and it's maddening.

Mostly because you think about all of the time and energy you put into setting up, checking sound, obviously filming and recording, I'm not going to lie, putting on makeup. And you're like, yo, I don't have time to do this today. Me not doing this challenge, I will be honest, typically I would just pull an all-nighter and act like nothing happened.

I want to honor this challenge and really do my best and stick to four days only. So that would look like-- oh god, I don't want to do this-- asking for an extension. But not so much an extension as, I had other projects to turn in to TFD, so I'm just going to email Holly, hi, Holly.

Like look at this. Does this look like somebody who has time to reshoot stuff? No.

I'm just going to move some due dates around, I'll give her other projects early, and it will be OK. In a way, it's like a blessing. Thank you Tim Ferriss, because this is pushing me to prove to other people I can do it all.

Now, I cannot outsource it to other people, that's not really an option. But I can take accountability and admit that I need more time. OK?

This has been a humbling experience. And with us is Jordan Clark, also known in the community as Frugal Frank. They say it was a tough one, a close call, but you were able to recover her corrupted files and potentially stop a tornado from coming through this house.

Yep. How do you feel? Just another day on the job.

So it turns out, I did have to outsource some stuff. I outsourced that problem to my husband and he was able to fix it. I just, I feel that we can all feel my anxiety coming down and color coming back to my face.

My thoughts going into this challenge were a straight up, no, like impossible. No. I-- no.

I figured for this to be a bestselling book that a lot of people have heard of, there had to be some extracted golden nuggets worth applying, which was true. But overall, I learned more than I expected to learn, but I went into this being like, yeah this doesn't work. What I found most surprising about this challenge is how much the phrase, done is better than perfect, really resonated with me at times when I was trying to beat the clock, or get on to the next task, or really stay focused and in the zone.

I just did not have the time to overanalyze what word I was using, or to overthink someone else's punctuation in an email. And it really forced me to get on with my life and turn in what is done and at least good enough, and realize that's the best we can do. Give it your best, move on to the rest, give it your best, move on to the rest.

The biggest obstacle I found in this challenge was, honestly, the fact that this isn't common societally. This isn't American culture. I mean it's like, the more hours you work, the less sleep you get, the better of a person you are.

And so it's really just having to truly continue to work through limiting beliefs and then recondition my brain to believe anything other than what I have been taught for the last three decades. That has been the most challenging part of this. By the end of the challenge I definitely got to see how much of that triangle of work, rest, play, is so vital to my own creativity and my own well-being.

I realized how much I was lying to myself and thinking like, oh, I don't need this amount of sleep, or oh-- you know. As much as I continue to work on things as a person, I know I still have a long way to go. And this challenge showed me just how much more beneficial my life is with daily balance.

Not just living for the weekend, or just getting until that vacation, but realizing I have to have my piña colada every single day. By the end of the challenge, I had spent three to five hours each day on work, and I did about another six hours on Saturday, bringing my workweek to 27 hours total, which is an improvement. Ultimately, this meant I was able to reduce my workweek down by 41%.

So I think when I left you all last, I did say that though I could certainly find a lot of holes and criticisms with the four hour workweek, hell, a four hour workday, and just how it wasn't feasible for me as a solo entrepreneur or even somebody in a standard 9:00 to 5:00, I did express gratitude for its overall principles about streamlining your days, really holding yourself accountable to eliminating distractions. And when I really left the challenge, I thought that some things I would keep, but I immediately kind of went back to a lot of my old habits, and very quickly I was like, I don't like this. I don't like these really long days.

So I had two major lessons that ultimately I had to learn the hard way. First, my ego was one of my greatest bottlenecks. I knew that I loved feeling needed, but this challenge, the aftermath and realizing that I did want to work less, really opened my eyes to the fact that I am one of my biggest distractions.

My ego is. And sure, I unpack a lot of that in therapy, but I also had to see, OK, how much control am I just holding on to because I want to hold on to it, and that I want to feel like I can do it all, and that I like to feel needed, and I like to do more than maybe the scope of work calls for. And I need to have harder boundaries with myself.

So that went into the second big takeaway-- outsourcing and delegation. I had to learn-- and although I thought I had learned this lesson when I was a people manager in a corporate setting-- delegation doesn't mean that you're not bright, and delegation doesn't mean that you're not a hard worker. It really means that you're self-aware enough to know when you're no longer the expert on something, when you need collaboration and help, and it also just means you value your time as much as you value the work that you're producing.

So with that said, I began to outsource two major things within my business. Now to come to this conclusion for me personally, I had to break down and see how much is my time worth. I came to about $100 an hour.

And that's not tooting horns, that includes a lot of my business expenses, software, technology, I use things like Stripe, so they take a little of my money before I get my money from clients. But low and behold, I came up with $100 an hour. So when I'm doing things like social media, pitching to clients, responding to emails, while that is a part of a larger project, in some respects I'm doing that for free and in some other respects I'm even paying to do that because there's only so many hours in a day.

And I kind of made this quasi-map of what was I putting the most amount of effort in that was yielding-- I don't want to say the least amount of dollars, because things like social media can lead to conversion-- but what was I not seeing an immediate response from, right? After sitting down and realizing how much my time was worth and where all of my time was going, what I could afford to delegate and what I could afford to just stop doing altogether, I realized I could outsource two major parts of my business. The first being social media, and the second being public relations.

I just feel like I have so much of my creativity back, and though I'm spending what feels like on paper a lot of money to outsource this work, I'm really proud to say that in the month of July I hit a completely new goal. And you know, it's still kind of weird, I still feel a little bit bashful when I talk about sales and success, but part of what I'm learning is I have to claim it and be proud of it. So last July, for reference, I brought in just over $3,000 of work.

It's not even the end of the month and I've already brought in over $10,000 worth of work. And in part, that is because I've had the energy to build, create, and take on more clients because I am delegating. And I do feel like I have more control over my schedule.

Now, not to mislead anyone-- that 10 grand is not all going in my pocket. You know, we've got taxes, bills, clearly I'm paying the people that I'm delegating things to. I mean believe you me, it'll be a long time before I'm like big ballin'.

I know this was a hot topic in the last video, but I even paid our rent this month. Because my husband's been helping me out. When we first got married, I paid our rent for the first two years while he paid off student loans.

And now that I'm building a business, he had been taking over the rent and I felt very, like, I got it baby. Like when Big tells Carrie like, I got it, you know? So I'm really happy that I had to do this challenge.

Was it hard to realize that my ego was my own biggest bottleneck? Hell yeah. But I'm really grateful that I've been able to challenge myself to let go of control, understand that it's OK to not be the savior for everyone else, let go of my own hero complex, and really allow myself to step into a new potential as a business owner.

Since the challenge I suspect I work about six to eight hours a day if I don't include breaks. And it is worth noting that a large chunk of my time is client meetings. And what was once two or three hours a day spent in my inbox or other systems like Canva or Zencaster is now down to 30 minutes tops.

I am so much better for it. If you've made it to the end of this video, thank you so much for watching. Make sure to like, subscribe, hit the notification bell.

And if you want to go the extra mile, leave a comment below and let me know what challenge should I try in the next Test Lab. Until then, I'm Jazmine Reed-Clark for the Financial Diet. Bye!