Dreamline worksheet: a follow up to the Four Hour Workweek

June 18, 2007 by Jared Goralnick

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This spreadsheet has been such a success that we’ve vastly improved it! Grab the new version of the Dreamline Spreadsheet here.

You can subscribe to this blog to find out when new versions come out and discover other 4-Hour Workweek hacks/lessons-learned. You can also skim through my 4-Hour Workweek articles here, as well. Enjoy the spreadsheet and best of luck living your dreams!

As I previously wrote (1 2), I’m a big fan of Timothy Ferriss’ Four Hour Workweek approach. Just a few chapters in he mentions what he calls a Dreamline, which is a chart designed to calculate how approachable and within reach your ideal lifestyle is, in terms of finances and time. On the book’s website there were online calculators for filling out the Dreamline, but I didn’t find them to be as helpful as I’d like…so I’ve come up with my own.

I emailed with Tim to get his thoughts on this, mentioning that my company frequently creates attractive and functional reports in Word & Excel, and he figured it’d be worth a try if I could improve on it. As such, all the prose in the spreadsheet I created is directly from his example and used with permission. Anyhow, here it is (with assistance from Keith, SET’s awesome designer) as a Microsoft Excel download:

Download Dreamline Worksheet and Expense Calculator
Dreamline Worksheet 1.2
[old version]

[new version available here]

Some usage notes:

  • It was tested on Windows Excel 2002, 2003, & 2007 as well as Mac Excel 2004, and should work fine on all versions of Excel as it doesn’t use any macro code
  • To begin using it, use the Tab key or the arrows to navigate through the cells. It behaves like an ordinary form
  • There are two pages of the workbook–a “Dreamline Worksheet” and a “Monthly Expense Calculator.” The total from the Expenses is entered automatically at the bottom of the Dreamline. You can switch between them by clicking “pg 1 of 2″ or “pg 2 of 2″ at the top right of the worksheets:

Switching between the two Dreamline worksheets

  • Both worksheets should print well to 8.5×11 in B&W / Color (the stars may be a bit dark in B&W)
  • In addition to calculating the total cost of all your items on the Dreamline Worksheet, you can also keep a running total of your highest priority items by “starring” them. Simply choose ‘Y’ in the Star? column to keep a second total:

Working with starred items
Please feel free to leave comments and questions below. Thank you, and I hope this proves helpful to you all!

You can subscribe to this blog to find out when new versions come out and discover other 4-Hour Workweek hacks/lessons-learned. One other thing: I put together a web tool that helps people to spend less time with email. It helps me tune out email distractions so I can check my inbox twice a day, but still get notified of urgent stuff via text message. It’s my other project (called AwayFind), you can check it out here (it’s also free).

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56 Responses to “Dreamline worksheet: a follow up to the Four Hour Workweek”

22 Trackbacks

  1. Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog – Paris Hilton Killing Me Softly: How Mass Media Passes Off Crap as News… (plus Learning Annex, 4-Hour Frauds, and More)
  2. BizzyBlog » Dreamline worksheet aid for the Four Hour Workweek
  3. Interesting Links for the 2007 July 4 Week — Keener Living
  4. links for 2007-07-05 » Graham English Social Networking
  5. Kavit Haria’s Blog » Blog Archive » Outsourcing and my results
  6. » New Research and a Dirty Truth: Read This Before Chasing the Dollar
  7. Dreamlining Worksheet – A 4 Hour Work Week Forum
  8. Technology for Living Podcast – Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek and staying sharp « Technology for Living
  9. Diary of a Four-Hour-a-Weeker » Expanding the Dreamlining Concept
  10. The Most Influential book I have read « Vitavaco
  11. Diary of a Four-Hour-a-Weeker » Update on Time Audit: Send me your ideas!
  12. Technotheory.com – Dreamline Worksheet 2.0– Updates to the popular 4-Hour Workweek spreadsheet
  13. Technotheory.com – How to reach out via email without being a kiss-up or a jerk
  14. What You Want To Do Is What You Do Every Day | Work-Life Innovatio
  15. Living Jet Set » Blog Archive » The New Jet Set & The Four Hour Work Week
  16. cost living calculator
  17. The New Jet Set & The Four Hour Work Week | Living Jet Set
  18. Helping You Do Everything Better!
  19. FindYourPeak » Make 2010 Your Best Year Ever!
  20. Existentialist Dreamlining: 4 steps to realize what really matters « The Jackson Wiebe Adventure
  21. Lifestyle Design Lesson #1: Determine your dreamline « A Lifestyle Designed
  22. How To Write Your Own Story

1 Tweetbacks

  1. fdousek (Filip Dousek)

    Updated 4HWW dreamlining worksheet: http://tinyurl.com/9ar4p5


  1. Lynette

    I’ve been making my way through the book and this is a helpful companion. What a beautiful spreadsheet, too! Thx

  2. Hayden

    Awesome, awesome, awesome.

  3. Michael Hyatt

    Would you share the password for this file, so we can learn from your example? Thanks.

  4. Jared Goralnick

    Hi Michael,

    I just now uploaded a version with a new password. That password is ‘setconsulting’. Anyone is welcome to play around with this for their own uses so long as they don’t distribute it without permission. Enjoy!


  5. Dr. Letitia Wright

    This is great, I will send a link out to my list and my new blog for people to visit you and look at this great tool. Congrats on being so creative!

    Dr. Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show

  6. Jaya Schillinger

    Thanks Jared & Tim!

    I skipped over the homework for that chapter because the calculations seemed like a lot of work (and I just hate spreadsheets.) BUT THIS one is so neat and pretty. I’ll give it a go!

    Thank you kindly for sharing it.

  7. Hayden

    I’ve really enjoyed playing around with your spreadsheet. However, I have noticed 3 things (the first being a genuine error I believe).


    However, MONTHLY_EXPENSES (in cell F36) has already been multiplied by 1.3

    I think my reasoning on this is right unless there is some reason to multiply this number by 1.3 twice (taxes?)

    2. In F39 and F42, it would be more accurate to divide by 30.4 (or even 30.42) since 365 days divided by 12 months comes out to an average month of 30.41666 days. Right now it’s dividing by 30 days which is fine too and gives an extra buffer anyway (and it’s less anal) but just thought I’d mention it. Anyway, people can change this themselves by using the password ‘setconsulting’.

    3. Are taxes figured into this? Does the 1.3 multiplier cover taxes?

  8. Jared Goralnick

    Thanks for the QA work, Hayden. Can I hire you for other projects ;-). I’ve released a version 1.1 that addresses your points 1 and 2 and that is available at the download link above. To further clarify the point, I indicated on the dreamline spreadsheet that a 30% buffer is now included in the monthly expenses total.

    As for #3, you’d have to ask Tim whether the 1.3 multiplier is specifically to address taxes, but for an employee that would be a good way to estimate. As an employer or self-employed individual that number ought to be higher, at 40-50%, though it would be more gray if some of the numbers were business expenses.

  9. Hayden

    Hahaha… sure. I need a job that’s 4HWW friendly. :)

  10. Jared Goralnick

    Send me your email, Hayden : ). jared at technotheory.

  11. Susan Johnstone

    Love this spreadsheet! Thanks so much for posting it. One note…I would love to be able to date the worksheet somewhere, at the top, so I could refer back to saved versions and know when I had filled it out.
    Thanks again!

  12. Maria Gajewski

    This is a great resource. I’ve done a little dreamlining and Tim is absolutely right that a lot of the “millionaire” type-experiences I’ve dreamed about don’t take a lot of money. For example, I found I can charter a sailboat in the Caribbean for about $3600 for a month next June. Your spreadsheet makes my planning much easier.

  13. Martin Haworth

    Hey there Jared. Thanks!

    What a great resource and such a fab thing to do to share it.


    Martin Haworth

  14. Armchair Adventure

    Thank you so much. This is fantastic!!

  15. Stephen Shores

    Gorgeous spreadsheet–great job!

  16. Jack

    Thanks a lot! I’m going to play around with it!

  17. Rex Reed

    Great job with this spreadsheet! I have just posted my content and feedback on this spreadsheet on my Four-hour Work Week tracking blog at http://www.fourhourworkweekdiary.com.

    However, there’s something that confuses me. After calculating the costs, shouldn’t the total monthly income be the sum of the costs divided by the number of months that you are setting out the goal? Right now, it’s using the full amount to calculate the TMI, but that doesn’t seem right. If I have a goal to have something worth $120,000 in six months, wouldn’t I need just $20,000 of monthly income to get there (less if it needs to be financed)?


  18. Jared Goralnick


    That’s a very insightful point, and I was taken aback by it as I put a lot of thought into this spreadsheet.

    All the calculations are identical to the ones Tim uses in his book. However, one of his calculations doesn’t quite fit the rest–that is, in his example, all of his expenses are monthly except for his trip to the Croatian coast which is a total cost, not a monthly one. As such, it really shouldn’t be listed that way. Over the next few days I’m going to think about this and if I’m still in agreement I’ll contact him.

    Depending on the outcome of that I may very well revise the spreadsheet to be able to calculate both fixed and monthly prices.

    Thanks, Rex!

  19. Brick Andrews

    Fantastic – thanks for providing this valuable resource! I’ll make sure to recommend it to my readers as well.

  20. 00′

    (Soft Whisper) I see CORPORATE people…

    So many comments about the attributes of the form, exactly what Tim in his book teaches NOT to do. Just do it!

    But some good comments and suggestions.

  21. 00′

    Just to help clarify, I’m in finance, any spreadsheet dealing with numbers should have one unit of measurement (i.e. boxes, each, monthly, daily, etc.) in a single column. So when I completed my form I used monthly only, it gave me the correct figures I needed to write my actions steps, and act.

  22. Christine Till

    Loving your book and the spreadsheets. I have just begun working with them. They are awesome! -Will keep you posted.

  23. Robert

    This is a fantastic blog. I’ve got a new blog that relates to the 4HWW, creating a muse and doing it in a jet set way. I think you’ll dig it. Let me know what you think the URL is www.http://travelhip.tv/robsblog

  24. Chris

    Hi guys,

    I love the spreadsheet too, formatting & etc.

    However I too noticed that some of the things I put down for “want to have” are one-time expenses (e.g. buying a car or computer) vs. monthly expenses (e.g. mortgage, subscriptions, etc.) and that the former wasn’t split off across the six months.

    Why not add a new column- maybe on the right side of each row, just as “Star” sits along the left- that’s for “one-time expense?” If we click “yes,” then the formula can divide the total cost by the number in field “In X months I dream of…” to come up with the accurate TMI.

    Other than that, am loving it- very exciting to start thinking and planning this way!

  25. Jared Goralnick

    Hi Chris,

    Your comment was addressed here in the newer version of the spreadsheet that came out in March ’08:


  26. Liisi

    I started to do the old dreamline I had saved some time ago, but came up with the same problems (monthly vs one time cost) but was glad to find it was solved long ago :)

    Another thing I thought, maybe someone already mentioned it:

    Could it be wise to add time as a cost? and if one wants, you could add somewhere what you consider as the cost of your time? :) As Tim shows – oftentimes it is not money we need, but time. So we could calculate a rational time needed to manage with the goals. E.g. I have one of the goals to go to training and other to write a book, these two take a lot of time. So I would like to calculate how much time I need for that and how much time is left for work for example.

    All the best,
    Liisi Toom

  27. Liisi

    Oh, I just realized that the table does not the one-time costs into account, though they are the biggest costs actually. So basically I should divide them into monthly costs to make the calculation? Hm, the calculation is still somewhat strange…

  28. Liisi

    I apologize – you can delete the last comment – I realized the problem and it was my mistake!

    Thank you! My goals are printed now.

  29. Rafe

    Great article, thanks!

    #16. “Cost Living Calculator” link is FUBAR’ed. Any chance of a correction?

  30. Holly

    Question: where do your general monthly living expenses go?? I see the spreadsheet automatically calculates the expenses needed to Have, Be and Do, but what about the Get By at the present? A 30% buffer doesn’t cover rent and other necessities, not to mention current debt repayments. I feel like I must be missing something here in how this works.

    I’d appreciate a fuller explanation from anyone. Thanks!


  31. Holly

    Please disregard my previous entry – think I figured it out. thx!

  32. Cash today

    It was found that the table does not the one-time costs into account, though they are the biggest costs actually. So basically we should divide them into monthly costs to make the calculation.

  33. Girlgone

    Hi Jared,

    Thanks for creating this awesome resource. With regards to the dreamline, I’m getting hung up on the “steps” part. In Tim’s example dreamline, when dealing with the trip to Croatia, for the day after tomorrow step he says to reserve the ticket with or without the friend. Am i literally doing the day after tomorrow step the day after tomorrow?! Because i’m not in a position to book a ticket to Europe for the trip that’s on my 6 month list. racking up more debt is not on my list of goals ;) suggestions?

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