The 4-Hour Workweek: The Dreamline Exercise

David Weisgerber
Mar 19, 2018 · 4 min read
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The Four-Hour Workweek: Dreamlining

Tim Ferriss4-Hour Workweek is filled with relentless, actionable steps to get the most out of life. Starting today.

If you’re brave enough.

One of those steps is the Dreamline Exercise.

Dreamlining is so named because it applies timelines to what most would consider dreams.

It is much like goal setting but differs in several fundamental steps.

1. The goals shift from ambiguous wants to defined steps.

2. The goals have to be unrealistic to be effective.

3. It focuses on activities that will fill the vacuum created when work is removed.

Living like a millionaire requires doing interesting things and not just owning enviable things.— Four Hour Workweek

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Official Dreamline Worksheet

The idea is to develop six month and twelve month dreamlines that include five things you want to Have, Be, and Do.

You then create actionable steps to work towards those goals, immediately.

I’m doing this thing analog style with my notebook that I resolved to carry with me.

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My chicken scratch dreamline ready to mold my future.

All set. Let’s do this.


This is difficult. Ferris cautions, “The harder it is, the more you need it.”

I definitely have personal and professional goals in mind but they don’t feel big or unrealistic enough to warrant full-on, dreamline status.

Each time I start to write something down, I end up questioning myself. Is this what I actually want or does it just sound cool? Is the point of this exercise for these things to make you happy or to present and conquer a challenge that seemed previously unattainable?

Some of the Tim Ferris’ dreamline examples are, be fluent in Chinese, own an Aston Martin and take a round-the-world trip. I’m having trouble thinking that big without letting fear crowd my mind.

Especially knowing that the next step is to take action towards these goals.

Better do some brainstorming. I am writing in pen, people. This shit is permanent.

Don’t fool yourself, if you really want a Ferrari, don’t put down solving world hunger out of guilt. — Ferris on Dreamlining

The Brainstorm

I quickly made two lists of work and personal goals that were painfully boring and realistic.

I need to think bigger.

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“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

Brainstorm 2.0

  • Run Western States 100 Mile Race

Now we’re talking. Much better.

The Dreamline

These will evolve. At this point, it seems more productive to get something down rather than the perfectly crafted dreamline. You can’t improve on nothing.

Here is my first crack at the 12-month Dreamline Exercise.

Step 1: Having

  1. Nike Vaporfly 4% [These shoes are the shit. And sold out everywhere.]
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Yes, please.

Step 2: Being

  1. Published on top 20 Medium publication

Step 3: Doing

  1. Run Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier — 2:45 Full OR 1:13 Half [The men’s OTQ seems a little too unrealistic]

Next Steps

I don’t love all fifteen goals. As I begin to take action, I’m sure a few will fall off the list. I also need to work on a 6 month dreamline but this feels like a good enough place to start.

As for specific actions, I’ll keep those to myself, for now. I’ll post a 6-week update on Monday, April 30.

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