“Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals” by Oliver Burkeman

Book Notes

We’ve got pretty weird views of time. I read Oliver Burkeman’s “Four Thousand Weeks” at the end of 2021 while traveling home for the holidays. December is a month to reflect and a trip back to my childhood home in Seattle (okay a couple hours north) adds to it being an even more, um, reflective time. “Four Thousand Weeks” is one of the best books to read if you’re thinking about how you’ve spent time and how you might spend time in the future.

You’ve probably heard of the professor and the jar and the rocks… #

The story of the professor with the jar and sand and rocks shows up in a bunch of productivity books. It’s pretty good for recognizing that you’re probably doing a bunch of small things that aren’t important at all.

But then you start to see a whole bunch of important things in your life.

“The smug teacher is being dishonest. He has rigged his demonstration by bringing only a few big rocks into the classroom, knowing they’ll all fit into the jar. The real problem of time management today, though, isn’t that we’re bad at prioritizing the big rocks. It’s that there are too many rocks—and most of them are never making it anywhere near that jar.”

I ran into this a bunch while trying to recap 2021 (currently writing this post in January 2022). I’d look at things to review and then try to score different things and then try to plan for the future and create some buckets for things:

  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Work

…but then well I should break health into mental and physical.

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Relationships
  • Work

…actually my marriage should be highlighted as well. Let’s split that out as well.

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Marriage
  • Relationships
  • Work

…and then this is a side project so I need to break this out as well

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Marriage
  • Relationships
  • Work
  • Side projects

And you know what physical health is both fitness and nutrition

  • Physical health: Workouts
  • Physical health: Nutrition
  • Mental health
  • Marriage
  • Relationships
  • Work
  • Side projects

 Gonna need a bigger jar baby!