Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

by Oliver Burkeman (Author)

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"Provocative and appealing . . . well worth your extremely limited time." ―Barbara Spindel, The Wall Street JournalThe average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief. Assuming you live to be eighty, you have just over four thousand weeks.Nobody needs telling there isn’t enough time. We’re obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, work-life balance, and the ceaseless battle against distraction; and we’re deluged with advice on becoming more productive and efficient, and “life hacks” to optimize our days. But such techniques often end up making things worse. The sense of anxious hurry grows more intense, and still the most meaningful parts of life seem to lie just beyond the horizon. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the challenge of how best to use our four thousand weeks.Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman delivers an entertaining, humorous, practical, and ultimately profound guide to time and time management. Rejecting the futile modern fixation on “getting everything done,” Four Thousand Weeks introduces readers to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing finitude, showing how many of the unhelpful ways we’ve come to think about time aren’t inescapable, unchanging truths, but choices we’ve made as individuals and as a society―and that we could do things differently.

Embrace the Finiteness of Time:

In a world obsessed with productivity and time management, "Four Thousand Weeks" challenges the conventional wisdom of using time more efficiently. Burkeman argues that the key to a more fulfilling life is not to try to cram more into our days but to accept the finiteness of time and focus on what truly matters.

The Tyranny of Productivity:

Burkeman exposes the hidden costs of our obsession with productivity, highlighting how it can lead to burnout, anxiety, and a diminished sense of well-being. He encourages readers to question the idea of constant self-improvement and to cultivate a more relaxed and realistic approach to time management.

Making Peace with Mortality:

The book delves into the concept of mortality as a catalyst for personal growth. Burkeman argues that recognizing our mortality can help us appreciate the present moment and make choices that align with our values. By confronting our own mortality, we can gain a profound sense of freedom and purpose.

The Art of Prioritization:

"Four Thousand Weeks" offers practical strategies for making difficult choices and prioritizing what truly matters. Burkeman emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between essential and non-essential tasks, and provides tools for setting boundaries and saying no to commitments that drain our energy and attention.

Cultivating Presence and Focus:

Burkeman highlights the benefits of mindfulness and meditation as ways to cultivate presence and focus in a world of constant distractions. He encourages readers to practice being fully engaged in the present moment, rather than multitasking or constantly checking devices.

Embracing Uncertainty and Imperfection:

The book challenges the idea that we can control every aspect of our lives. Burkeman argues that uncertainty is an inherent part of existence and that striving for perfection is often counterproductive. He encourages readers to embrace uncertainty and imperfection as opportunities for growth and learning.

Finding Meaning in the Everyday:

"Four Thousand Weeks" emphasizes the importance of finding meaning and purpose in our daily lives. Burkeman suggests that true fulfillment comes from focusing on activities that align with our values and contribute to something larger than ourselves.


288 pages