My 4 Hour Work Week Journey: Interrupting Interruptions

This is day 10 of My 4 Hour Work Week Journey. Please make sure you read the rest of the articles that came before this one to understand where I am in the journey. Click here to buy a copy of the 4 hour work week and go on the journey with me.

Fortunately, considering I spend most of my time working from home alone, a lot of what is in this chapter doesn’t apply to me. But without further ado:

Questions and Actions: Interrupting the Interruptions

1) Create systems to deflect my email and phone availability: I created an auto-responder that states I will only check and respond to email at 5 a.m.

To be frank my email at present isn’t that big of a problem: I receive between 15 – 30 emails a day which it take me about 30 minutes to respond to.

This will probably matter a lot more as the blog grows and I try to do more things with my life so its good to set the foundation now.


I started doing this long before I ever read the 4 hour work week. I almost never get personal phone calls. At most maybe 1 or 2 a week. A lot of people now know that if they want to reach me, email is the way to go.

I leave my phone off or am away from it for most of the day (Right now it’s on my bed side table while I type this).From being a self-important young adult who camped by my phone and racked up $500 bills, I now only have a mobile phone because my cousin thrust a mobile phone in my hand as her way of contacting me.

As for professional calls, again, I don’t really matter enough to get that many a day.Almost everyone knows that email is the best way to reach me. If they don’t know, I guess the benevolent education begins now.

2) Get Very Specific When Communicating in Emails: I read the 4 hour work week and began applying this principle quite some time ago.

From day one, whenever I was emailing someone about interviewing them from a podcast, I always gave them my availability times and proposed a very specific time to conduct the interview.Now one thing I am going to add to that email is that I must obtain someone’s phone number and time zone in regards to GMT: GMT +10h, GMT -4h for example.

This proposing of an exact time has saved me countless back and forth emails and hours. In fact the one person I saw do it waayyyy more effectively than I did, wrote me an email that went a little something like this:

I read about your blog on X and I wanted to find out if you are interested in telling your story on (media outlet) at X time (Name of their city and proposed time). Let me know

My response was long and flowery:


and the deal was done. Specificity is a lost art.

It’s wonderful to be non-specific and ambiguous in social situations but not in matters of productivity and the work place, I think.

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3) Batch Activities: If it isn’t an 80/20 activity, batch it together and create a regular time slot for it. An example:

I work with virtual assistants, freelance coders and writers and am also a freelance writer and blog consultant (aaah, what do you know, I DO have jobs with fancy titles).

What I recently started doing is sorting out all the emails and communication and work that needs to be done AS SOON as I get on the computer. Usually, this involves sending out an email or two, checking on something here, something else there and usually in a couple of hours I am done.

This is definitely better than my previous style of checking on them in 5 minute chunks here and there throughout the night and leaves me a lot more time to write blog posts, market the blog, respond to comments and test out monetization techniques.

4) Delegate More if You are an Entrepreneur and Request More Control if You are an Employee: Avoid decision-making bottlenecks and give individuals as much power and responsibility as you can while they work on a particular task.

I have been outsourcing blog functioning from day 1 and intend on one day bringing a writer or two onto the tDA writing team so I have little problem relinquishing control right now.

Ladies and gentlemen, with that we have eliminated the unnecessary and can now move on with laser like focus upon that which is important.

Now on to what you and I have been waiting for, Step 3: A is for Automation.

Be blessed and bless others,


No Comments

  • By Ishani Mitra, July 25, 2008 @ 6:50 am

    Really had a great time reading through the points. Good to know that you are really outsourcing such a large part of your schedule. Hope this habit catches on with your readers as well.

  • By Mwangi, July 25, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

    @Ishani Mitra: Glad you enjoyed reading through the points,especially considering you are a part of the VA industry. Once I have become an expert at using outsourcing to leverage time, then I fully intend on bringing all my readers along with me. Thanks for stopping by.

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