George Smolinski Interview – Full Time Physician and Efficiency Expert

George Smolinski is an MD who experienced a life changing event a few years ago that made him take stock of his existence, realizing a need for real change. After being inspired by Tim Ferriss’ ideas, he decided to write about the “how” in how to change your life.


He started the website Four Hour Physician to apply the time-saving ideas that Ferriss inspired toward what he considers one of the worst time manageres around: doctors. He is the author of four popular audiobooks: The Four Hour Workweek Toolbox, Free Time: Hire a Virtual Assistant and Liberate Your Life, Project Management: Tools for Everyday Life, and iBooks Author: Publishing with iBooks Author on Apples iBooks Platform. His family was his main motivator for wanting to help other people make their work life more efficient, to be able to spend more time with them.

Gutenberg Reloaded

Why did you choose the title Four Hour Physician for your website?

Pretty simple: It took the concepts laid out by Tim Ferriss and applied them to one of the worst time managers around: physicians.

How does the “lifestyle question” for physicians (“Do you want to spend your life in the hospital or do you want to spend your life doing things outside the hospital?”) relate to people in careers outside of the medical field and/or pursuing self-employment projects?

Simple: Life is about balance and valuing the most important asset we own. Time. Sure, physicians are very busy, but in today’s cutthroat world, people are working more and more hours to make ends meet.

If you truly love what you do–and I’ve met many people in many walks of life who do–then work is what you live for. Unfortunately for many people that’s not the case, so being able to draw firm boundaries and life a full life outside of work is a difficult prospect.

However, drawing firm boundaries and taking care of yourself is the first step to living that liberated life.

What are some ways that you’ve increased personal efficiency in your own work and life?

I’ve tried a lot of different things and different tools (many of which I discuss in my very popular audiobook “The Four Hour Workweek Toolbox“) but here’s the two most efficacious:

  1. Learning to say no. Being able to say no to things that you may be pressured to do, but don’t really want to do, is a key skill.
  2. The 1% rule. If you can make small changes in areas of your life, you can make enormous gains with time management.

My favorite: If you do your own grocery shopping, lay out your grocery list in the order of your store. That way you’ll just run the list and NOT have to walk down every aisle searching for the salsa!

Why is it important for doctors to look at personal efficiency and not just efficiency in their medical practice?

It goes back to being a fully realize human being. If one does not balance mind, body, and soul, one runs the risk of losing a part of their humanity. That in turn can lead to disconnects with our patients, which forms one of the bedrocks of medical practice: caring for our fellow human beings.

What have micro freelancers added to the world of virtual assistants, and what are some of the benefits of working with micro freelancers for completing small tasks?

The benefits of micro-freelancers are numerous. Having a “full on” virtual assistant can be cost prohibitive for some people, and it can also be ineffective: A secretary-life VA can be helpful, sure, but what if you need a specialized task done?

That’s where micro-freelancers come into play. Places like Fiverr have freelancers from around the world that can do these one-off tasks, and as a matter of fact, I still use these freelancers to work on specialized projects for my publishing company, Gutenberg Reloaded–an example of this would be the website I just had created for my newest book, “Recording Audiobooks“. It was built by a Fiverr contractor as a one-off project and it turned out great!