Based on an average lifespan of 80 years, we have 4000 weeks on Earth.
4000 weeks to spend learning, working, sleeping, travelling, enjoying our hobbies, doing sports, talking to friends or family, fall in love, and everything in between. Sometimes we feel that there is never enough time to do all the things we want to achieve. That despite all the to-do lists we make, there's still something that you have to do, but don't have enough time for it.
In the book, 'Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals', Oliver Burkeman lays out the constant challenge that we face in finding time that doesn't exist, leading to more stress. He lists the following ten tools for embracing the 'finitude' of life, taken from this tribute to the book.
Ten ways for embracing the time you have left
1. Adopt a fixed volume approach to productivity
Establish pre-determined time boundaries on your work, and make decisions in light of those limits. If your primary goal is to do what’s required to be finished by 5:30 you’ll be aware of the constraints on your time and motivated to use it wisely.
2. Serialize, serialize, serialize
Focus on one big project at a time, and see it to completion before moving onto the next.
3. Strategic underachievement
Nominate in advance whole areas of life in which you won’t expect excellence from yourself. Instead focus that time more effectively, and you won’t be surprised when you fail at what you planned to fail at all along.
4. Celebrate wins
Keep a “done” list which starts empty and fills up over the day. You could have spent the day doing nothing remotely constructive, and look what you did instead! Lower the bar for what gets to count as an accomplishment; small wins accrue.
5. Consolidate care
Consciously choose your battles in industry, charity, activism, and politics. To make a real difference, you must focus your finite capacity for care.
6. Embrace boring and single-purpose technology
Choose single-purpose devices like an e-reader where it’s tedious and awkward to do anything but read. If distracting apps are only a swipe away they’ll prove impossible to resist when the first twinge of boredom or difficulty of focus arises.
7. Seek novelty in the mundane
...pay more attention to every moment no matter how mundane. Plunge into the life you already have with twice the intensity and your life will feel twice as full and will be remembered as lasting twice as long.
8. Be a researcher in relationships
When presented with a challenging or boring moment with another person, deliberately adopt an attitude of curiosity in which your goal isn’t to achieve any particular outcome or explain your position but to figure out who this human being is who we’re with.
9. Cultivate instantaneous generosity
Whenever a generous impulse arises your mind: to give money, to check in on a friend, send an email praising someone’s work, act on that impulse right away. If you put it off for whatever reason, you’ll likely not get back to it. The only acts of generosity that count are the ones you’re actually making.
10. Practice doing nothing
When it comes to the challenge of using your four thousand weeks well, the capacity to do nothing is indispensable. If you can’t bear the discomfort of not acting you’re far more likely to make poor choices with your time simply to feel as if you’re acting. Calm down, gain autonomy over your choices, and make better ones.
Credit goes to Lee Byron for creating this tribute to Oliver Burkeman's book where the extracts above are taken from. You can buy the book from here: