242. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management with Oliver Burkeman

Many of us find ourselves in a constant state of “hurry to get things done” only to discover that while we’re rushing, we miss out on much of our life’s lived experiences. This is the focus of Oliver Burkeman’s brilliant new book Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals which explores the myths of time management that interfere with living well.

The average human lifespan is four thousand weeks. By learning various profound truths about productivity, mortality and the power of limits, Oliver teaches us how to get the most out of those weeks—in a realistic way. In this episode of POTC, he, Yael, and Debbie discuss the paradox of time management, the costs of hurrying and rushing, and the value of slowing down. Join us in this episode to learn about the mindshift and the daily strategies to get the most out of your four thousand weeks.

Listen and Learn:

  • Yael and Debbie’s experiences with choices and opportunity costs
  • Oliver explains how you can approach neglecting things (and how to find joy doing so!)
  • Why it’s important to tap into your own mortality when approaching time management
  • How your cosmic insignificance can actually improve your well-being
  • The costly cycle of productivity, efficiency, and busy-ness
  • The virtue of patience, its history, and the three principles of patience
  • Oliver’s approach to organizing his busiest days
  • The role of psychological flexibility in time management
  • Expert-approved, evidence-based tips and tricks for seeing the positive value of time
  • Practical advice for those of you who feel like you can never catch up with your to-do list


About Oliver

Oliver Burkeman is a journalist and author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking and his newest book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. Four Thousand Weeks about making the most of our finite lives in a world of impossible demands, relentless distraction and ‘productivity techniques’ that mainly just make everyone feel busier. Oliver also wrote a long-running column for the Guardian, This Column Will Change Your Life, and has a devoted following for his writing on productivity, mortality and the power of limits. To get the latest from Oliver, subscribe to his twice-monthly email The Imperfectionist.

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Episode 242