The average person has 4,000 weeks on earth. It doesn’t sound like much does it? You’re probably doing mental arithmetic right now trying to work out how many weeks you might have left. But if that sounds like a pessimistic start to this podcast, fear not. My guest today is Oliver Burkeman, journalist and author, whose latest book is Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals. And in this conversation, he shares a positive philosophy that can help us all overcome the overwhelm, make better choices, and build a meaningful relationship with time.
We begin by talking about our concept of time and how we falsely believe it’s something we can control. We think of time as infinite and don’t realise how distraction – that modern-day temptation – is robbing it from us. Or maybe we do know time is finite, says Oliver, but we just feel overwhelmed by all the things we have to do or want to do. How will we fit them all in?
The truth, he points out, is that we won’t. Many of the productivity hacks that we learn are a delusion. Time management doesn’t mean becoming more productive, it means deciding what to neglect. And once we realise we can never fit everything in, we get the freedom to prioritise.
Thinking about our limited lifespan may sound bleak, but Oliver is convinced that imposing limits of knowledge like this can help us live a more fulfilled and less stressed life. We’re more likely to use time mindfully, or be more creative, when we know it’s finite.
I absolutely loved talking with Oliver and I think his words will give you plenty to reflect on. In a world of demands, distractions and endless to-do lists, this conversation might be the most useful time-management tool of all.
This conversation is full of mind-blowing facts and insights but it’s also really empowering and contains simple, practical tips that all of us can use to improve our lives. I hope you enjoy listening.
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Show notes available at https://drchatterjee.com/260
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