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Summary of Four Thousand Weeks 

Short summary

How we live our lives and the things we do with our time is an essential part of who we are as humans, but what if we’ve been viewing time in the wrong way? What if procrastination is not a bad thing? How can we live our best simple life without feeling unfulfilled? These are some of the many questions we need to find answers to if we want to change our approach to the way we live.

In this summary, it’s better to take up a hobby instead of a side hustle, how the premodern concept of eternity informed how people spent their time, and how to improve our procrastination skills.

Oliver Burkeman is the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking and a former columnist for The Guardian. His writings have appeared in Psychologies and New Philosopher.

“Productivity is a trap. Becoming more efficient just makes you more rushed, and trying to clear the decks simply makes them fill up again faster.” ~ Oliver Burkeman

Key points


The obsession with being productive has made it difficult for people to appreciate family time

The human lifespan is somewhat short, and the average length of time for most people is a little over 4,000 weeks. Time is one of our most valuable commodities, yet the notion that we should be more productive, more efficient, or devote our time to something else haunts many of us today.
Life hacks and time management tactics don’t help us become more productive; they only make us more anxious and depleted.
There is little chance that we will be able to spend all of our 4000 weeks of life doing exactly what we desire. The world prioritizes productivity over everything else, including our happiness. Although there’s nothing wrong with trying to make a living or a name for ourselves, we have placed too much emphasis on maximizing our time that we burden ourselves with unnecessary expectations.

Believing that we have to be special beings in a unique world is why many of us lose sight of living a normal life without feeling bad about it. Since we are obsessed with accumulating wealth and notoriety, people have found it difficult to appreciate the almost 4,000 weeks we have left on this planet. We spend our free time doing constructive things like thinking or working instead of relaxing and enjoying life. In this summary, we'll discover fresh views on time and how to manage it more effectively, thus challenging the status quo and encouraging us to embrace the beauty of change.

The best way to make the most of our time is to spend it doing the things we love

Our current mindset about time is so ingrained in us that it might be challenging to remember that there was once a period when it was not always like this. We have come to conceive time as something that functions independently of us since the creation of clocks, so we feel bad if we don't spend our time on activities that we find significant.
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Procrastination is a natural and healthy human behavior


Distraction is essential to our existence; hence, gaining perfect control over our attention is problematic


Although we recognize that life is frequently beyond our control, many people waste their time attempting to arrange every minute


Paying attention to how we spend our days is the most effective method for choosing what to accomplish with our time



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