You may have read my recent interview with multi-millionaire Marc Allen. This is a review of his latest book, The Type-Z Guide to Success With Ease: A Lazy Person’s Manifesto for Wealth and Fulfillment.
The Type Z-Guide presents a way to enjoy success with less stress, less hard work, and much greater ease. “Type-Z” principles are juxtaposed with traditional, hard-working Type-A methods.
Is it possible to achieve a high degree of success without working until you drop? Marc claims to have become a millionaire this way, and he provides a convincing argument why slowing down and taking more time for rest and relaxing can produce better results in the long run.
Marc stresses (or perhaps I should say “emphasizes,” since he doesn’t exude stress at all) that even while you’re being lazy, productive work is still being done. Your subconscious mind is churning away even while your conscious mind is at rest. Many people get their best ideas during times of rest. I often get great ideas while exercising. If you’re working constantly, you’ll be too focused on the details and will miss the really big opportunities. Relaxation helps expand your focus, allowing you to freshly survey the entire landscape around you.
To me this sounds like the difference between doing things right and doing the right thing. If you work very hard without much rest, you may do a lot of things right. But many of the tasks you complete may ultimately be trivial. If you were to work fewer hours, you’ll have to drop some activities. And what you’ll likely drop will be the least important tasks that need not be done at all. If you work 60+ hours a week, you probably have a lot of waste that could be pruned from your schedule with minimal consequences.
I completely agree with Marc here because I did a personal experiment years ago to see if I could reduce my work time while increasing my productivity. I wrote up my results in this article: Triple Your Personal Productivity. That experiment really convinced me that merely working long hours does not guarantee productive results. It was an eye-opening lesson to see that I could actually be more productive working fewer hours.
The Type Z-Guide also presents a basic blueprint for success:
- Write down your ideal scene, set five years in the future.
- Write down your goals (extracted from ideal scene).
- Turn your goals into positive, personal, present-tense affirmations.
- Deal with doubts and fears effectively (the book provides a specific process for this).
- Write simple plans for your goals on paper.
- Take the most obvious first action right in front of you, and keep going from there.
“First you build your castles in the air, then you build the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau
The most important concept I got out of this book was the idea of setting aside plenty of time for what Marc calls “big picture thinking.” It takes time to go through the focusing process above. If we’re working around the clock, we’ll never get around to doing this big picture thinking. But if we cut back on our hours, we’ll sacrifice those distracting, low-yield tasks and have more time for big picture thinking.
For many years now, I’ve been using a process similar to the above, and I absolutely love the results. I often set aside several days in a row just to dream, set goals, and make plans. Before I launched this web site in October 2004, I imagined a site filled with unique personal development articles and audio recordings. I imagined people being helped by those articles and referring their friends and co-workers. I imagined making the content as accessible as possible (i.e. free) while still generating a healthy income from the site.
At first I didn’t know exactly how I’d do all those things. My plan had some holes in it. But I just started with the most obvious actions right in front of me, and along the way all the resources I needed came to me: blogging technology, podcasting, contextual advertising, social bookmarking, etc. Bit by bit that vision has been realized. Yes, I worked hard. But I also took a lot of time off for big picture thinking. Now I’m setting new goals that would have seemed out of reach a couple years ago.
I’ve read a great many ebooks, and The Type Z-Guide has some unique features I haven’t seen elsewhere. The most notable is that there are abundant audio clips interspersed with the text. Most are just a few minutes long and offer some additional advice and stories, but there are also longer more detailed interviews in Q&A format. Finally, the book includes a slide show with music, guiding you to relax via deep breathing.
I encourage you to check out The Type Z-Guide. It contains practical advice for increasing your productivity while actually working fewer hours and enjoying more leisure time.