Burkeman isn’t interested in helping you get more done. The problem, he says, is that attempting to be more productive is a trap. Instead, what he advocates is that you change your perspective to use your time *well*, rather than trying to get as much done as possible.
This is really an anti-productivity book, and a fantastic one at that. Burkeman urges us to embrace the fact that we only have a limited amount of time (“four thousand weeks” is an allusion to the average lifespan), and that we should embrace this limit rather than try to fight against it.
Holding yourself to impossible standards is a recipe for misery, he reminds us, whether it’s trying to complete all of the items on our todo lists or trying to be the person we ought to be rather than looking at who we actually are: what our actual strengths and weaknesses are, and what we genuinely enjoy doing.
The time mangement skills that Burkeman encourages are the ones that will reduce the amount of time pressure that we experience. Learn how to say “no” to the stuff that you want to do, but that you want to do less than the other stuff. Learn to make peace with the fact that you will always feel overwhelmed.
“Let go”, Burkeman urges us. After all, in the grand scheme of things, the work that we do doesn’t matter nearly as much as we think.
(Cross-posted to goodreads)