Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

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By: Oliver Burkeman

Rating: A

Why 4,000 weeks? If you were to live to be 80 years old, you would roughly live for 4,000 weeks.

Life is short.

You should make the most of it.

Does making the most of it mean that you are as productive as possible as much as possible?


The author is admittedly a recovering productivity addict but argues that the productivity and self-help genre misses the point.

Seeking the most effective way to get things done typically results in taking on more and more. The end product is never a completed “To-do” list. It is simply more stress and more “To-do” lists.

The author argues that you should be very selective about what and who you give your time to. Saying “No” is powerful. But the author doesn’t get too much more prescriptive than that.

What do you need to say “No” to today?

Every choice you make is a sacrifice of your finite time and is saying “No” to something else.

Armed with an awareness of how little time you have, you must make your choices your best “Yes” for you and your life as a whole.

My biggest takeaway

Going to and looking at how many weeks I have left, if I were to live to be 80.

It is sobering. Life is indeed short.

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