Aug. 7, 2023

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Oliver Burkeman is the author of The New York Times best-seller Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. In this episode, Oliver delves into the pervasive idea that time can be mastered, exploring whether maximizing productivity is an attainable goal or a perpetual trap. He discusses the allure of attempting to control time—and, therefore, the future—and shares his personal journey of experimenting with diverse time management techniques that failed to deliver the emotional satisfaction he sought. Ultimately, they explore the mismatch between being a finite human and existing in a world of infinite possibilities and how all of these concepts intertwine with finding a sense of purpose and meaning. Additionally, Oliver shares insights from his book on productivity, using our time wisely, and embracing our finitude to live a more fulfilling life.

We discuss:

  • Oliver’s experience that led him to write the book Four Thousand Weeks [3:15];
  • Human’s relationship with time and the struggle with the finite nature of time [7:15];
  • How productivity can be a trap [11:00];
  • The fallacy that being more efficient will open up more time and bring a feeling of control [16:45];
  • The paradoxical nature of trying too hard to be present in the current moment [22:45];
  • The value of relationships in meaningful experiences and fulfillment, and how time gets its value from being shared [26:45];
  • The importance of time synchronicity [36:00];
  • Identifying your biggest priorities and the paradox of wanting to do more than you have time for [41:00];
  • Oliver’s moment of clarity in 2014 [47:15];
  • The role of a sense of purpose in fulfillment [50:15];
  • Reconciling the finite nature of time and letting go of trying to master your time [59:00];
  • Why we tend to have a future-focused attitude and how to combat that with atelic activities [1:05:45];
  • The power of shifting your perspective about time and your experiences [1:12:45];
  • How to operationalize the three principles for the dilemma of finite time [1:20:15];
  • Harnessing the power of patience in the face of a problem or experience [1:28:00];
  • The value of incrementalism for being productive [1:34:15];
  • Embracing your finitude with curiosity [1:38:00];
  • Acting on an idea in the moment rather than letting the idea be the obstacle [1:41:15]; and
  • More.

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This episode is from The Peter Attia Drive whose proprietor has full ownership and responsibility on its contents and artworks. It was shared using Castamatic, a podcast app for iPhone and iPad.