4-Hour Workweek? Not in this Industry

OK, who could pass up a book titled The 4-Hour Workweek? Well, if you're one of the thousands who, like me, took a shot at it (putting it on the New York Times Best Seller List for several months), shame on us. We should know better, especially in an industry that demands long days and hard, physical labor over anywhere from six to 12 months depending on the region you work in. Of course, the title does pull you in. Who wouldn't want to work just 4 hours a week? Of course the real key to working four hours a week is to work 4 but still get paid for the other 36 or 40 or 50 (stop me when I get close) hours many contractors put in regularly. The 4-hours-a-week work plan might be plausible in some other industries (though I doubt it) but it certainly doesn't apply to the paving and pavement maintenance industry, even at its higher management levels. This industry requires continual involvement, especially in the smaller companies where an owner wears many hats (and all you many-hat wearers tip your hats). But while this book isn't worth your time - author Timothy Ferriss spends a great many pages writing about all the things he's done and the places he's been because he was able to work only four hours a week - it does contain a nugget that is probably worth all the panning to find. And that nugget is this (I've saved you all the panning): delegate and consider subcontracting. No, he doesn't put it in those terms, but he does suggest outsourcing just about any work you can to free up your time. Fair enough. Extend that a little bit and take some liberties with his narrative and you get delegate and subcontract. Contractors, especially contractors who own their own smallish business, have a tendency to wrap their hands and arms around just about every job that needs to get done and it can take near disasters, perpetual prodding, Brad Humphrey seminars at National Pavement Expo, and more to get them to loosen their grip. But loosen they must, and then delegate they can, freeing themselves up to spend more time in blue sky mining or on other areas of the business that might need their attention.