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Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Oliver Burkeman

Personal Thoughts

Summary Notes

  • The real measure of any time management technique is whether or not it helps you neglect the right things.
  • You need to learn how to start saying no to things you do want to do, with the recognition that you have only one life.
  • “A person with a flexible schedule and average resources will be happier than a rich person who has everything except a flexible schedule,”

Three rules of thumb are especially useful for harnessing the power of patience as a creative force in daily life:

  1. The first is to develop a taste for having problems.
  2. The second principle is to embrace radical incrementalism.
  3. The final principle is that, more often than not, originality lies on the far side of unoriginality.

10 Tips from Burkeman

  1. Adopt a “fixed volume” approach to productivity.
  2. Serialize, serialize, serialize.
  3. Decide in advance what to fail at.
  4. Focus on what you’ve already completed, not just on what’s left to complete.
  5. Consolidate your caring.
  6. Embrace boring and single-purpose technology.
  7. Seek out novelty in the mundane.
  8. Be a “researcher” in relationships.
  9. Cultivate instantaneous generosity.
  10. Practice doing nothing.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Oliver Burkeman
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