Procrastination is how you make the most of your time. While you are at it, do thieve some to enjoy yourself. After all, I have just about 800 left and you too have not much left, given that each of us has 4000 weeks, give or take a few.
That’s Oliver Burkeman’s estimate. Just that number immediately tells us what really matters, what is precious. TIME!
So, you have your ways (prescribed and digital) to tame time, you think? “The more you struggle to control it, to make it conform to your agenda, the further it slips from your control,” says Burkeman in his famous book, Four Thousand Weeks.
The problem, he says, is that time management techniques don’t acknowledge that time is limited. When you try to manage it, you no longer enjoy it.
Time was when we worked by the sun. Rise, shine and set, all with the sun. Then came the industrial revolution that made time another asset to divide and exploit.
Are you among those who pine for a bonus 24 to add to your given 24 in a day? It can be liberating if you accept the limit. “The paradoxical reward for accepting reality’s constraints is that they no longer feel so constraining,” says Burkeman.
What if you had all the time in the world to be at your device or at work? After all, there is so much to get done by EOD.
Once you accept time is finite, how do you make the most of it? Burkeman has a few suggestions. Know what must be done now, procrastinate or even neglect the rest. Limit what you take up and know you must choose and settle for some. Most importantly, enjoy what you use your time to do.
As the author puts it, the only way NOT to waste time is to use some of it "wastefully focused solely on the pleasure of the experience.”
Burkeman prescribes giving up some control over time and sharing it with family and friends. You will gain emotional riches when you prioritize the out-of-range, in-person kind human connections over the online.
Want to know how well you gel with time? Burkeman suggests four questions to ask yourself:
Accept the answers and get going. Enjoy it while it ticks.
Based on Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How You Use it by Oliver Burkeman; Bodley Head, 2021.