Time Management for mortals

Someone who lives to age 80 gets about 4000 weeks living time which is the number in the title of Burkeman’s book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals.

4000 weeks life span in average

“The average human lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short,” he writes. Thinking of this fact as a 50 year old adult one realises that we rather talk about 1500 weeks left.

Is more and faster the right approach to manage that time?

Given this limitation, it makes sense that the typical approach to time management is to seek ways to cram ever more into our finite number of days. But Burkeman argues that this is the wrong way to manage time.

Changing perspectives is needed

Rather than looking outward to productivity strategies and hacks, he encourages an inner shift in perspective. He confronts the reader with a series of comforting illusions that many of us hold onto instead of internalizing colder truths: that we will die not having done a tremendous number of things we care about; that every commitment we make to a person, place, or line of work rules out countless others that may fulfill us; that our lives are already ticking away.

It is about acknowledging that we are finite, limited creatures living in a world of constraints and stubborn reality.

Start important things and let other activities rather fall

The only way to get around to the important things is: Instead of trying to be more efficient or to even eradicate all the other stuff, make progress on the important stuff first. You just have to let the other chips fall where they will.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
OLIVER BURKEMAN, FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX

Read the entire interview with the author written by Joe Pinsker on The Atlantic in Aug 2021, Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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