Four thousand weeks.
That’s how long we live if we’re lucky enough to celebrate our 80th birthday.
Crazy, isn’t it?
We rarely think of our lifespan in terms of weeks. When we do, it seems painfully short. And that’s the point that Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks, wants to drive home.
Oliver, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking and Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done, is a self-professed time management geek.
But after reading scores of books, he concluded that most time management tactics result in an illusion of productivity. They don’t get to the root of why we feel the need to be time wizards. They don’t tell us how to overcome FOMO. They don’t mention the importance of relaxation or play.
Instead, most advice furthers the false narrative that we can do it all and have it all. This narrative leads us to endlessly spin our wheels. Just one more task, just one more project…only to have five more take its place by the end of the week.
If this sounds familiar (and exhausting), then Oliver has a different perspective to offer.
What if we let go of our fruitless attempts to optimize our schedules and our time? What if we let go of the expectation that we’re supposed to produce genius-level work in our field? What if we let go of the guilt we feel when we inevitably can’t do it all?
What if we live in alignment with the fact that we might only be alive for four thousand precious weeks?
In this interview, Oliver explains how we can face this reality and make peace with it. He recommends numerous counterintuitive, unconventional tactics, like choosing to fail at certain tasks, ruthlessly sticking to a limited number of projects, occasionally forsaking convenience, and burning more bridges.
This episode is for everyone who’s engaged in a battle against time — a battle that we will eventually lose. Whether you’re sacrificing now to achieve financial independence later, you’re overworked and need a more sustainable mindset, or you’re tired of feeling suffocated by your to-do lists, this interview has insights for you.
You’ll enjoy this episode if…
- You like unconventional productivity advice – the kind that tells you to stop trying to do it all.
- You’re incredibly tired of feeling behind, pulled in a dozen different directions, or like your worth as a human is inextricably tied to how much you do
- You loved our interview with Geoff Woods from The ONE Thing and want more advice aligned with doing less, but better
- Four Thousand Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman | Book
- Oliverburkeman.com | Website
- @oliverburkeman | Twitter
- Kanban workflow | Wikipedia Article
- Personal Kanban, by Jim Benson | Book
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