Four Thousand Weeks: Time And How To Use It

Oliver Burkeman

For 14 years, our guest for this week’s The 1% Podcast wrote a weekly piece for The Guardian entitled: “This Column Will Change Your Life”.

If that doesn’t pique your interest, Oliver Burkeman has gone on to write three books to assist us with some of life’s biggest challenges. ‘Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done’ was published in 2011, with ‘The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking’ published in 2012.

It’s Oliver’s third book though, entitled: ‘Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals’, that has garnered significant praise since being published in 2021 – and reinforced the author’s reputation as a thought-provoking writer on the so-called “search for happiness”, the limits of modern-day productivity, and how our relationship with time actually tells us more about ourselves than we’ve ever realised.


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4:11 How Oliver got into journalism

11:00 Why Oliver stopped the Guardian column in 2022

14:30 On how the book ‘Four Thousand Weeks’ has been received by the general public

17:46 On adapting time management approaches when switching from working in the office to the home environment

23:18 The problem with focusing too much on efficiency

27:33 Our relationship with time

30:35 The art of single-tasking

33:04 The ‘Efficiency Trap’

37:31 The section in Oliver’s book about Jennifer Roberts’ Art History assignment for her students at Harvard University

42:16 Being more present with your family

45:00 On time pressure

51:10 Reconciling the idea that time doesn’t make room in your day – we have to make room for it

54:10 Atelic activities

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