The Psychology Podcast

Oliver Burkeman || Time Management for Mortals

Episode Notes

In this episode, I talk to bestselling author Oliver Burkeman about his latest book Four Thousand Weeks. On the surface, it’s easy to mistake it for another self-help book on time management. But instead of enthusing about productivity hacks, Oliver challenges his readers to confront the finite nature of humanity. By doing so, he argues  we can live fuller lives—without having to always carry the fear of missing out. We also touch on the topics of procrastination, positive psychology, flow, realism, deep time, and patience.


Oliver Burkeman is a journalist for The Guardian. From 2006 to 2020, he wrote the popular weekly column on psychology called “This Column Will Change Your Life”. He is the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking and Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done. In 2015, he won the Foreign Press Association’s Young Journalist of the Year award, and has been short-listed for the Orwell Prize. His most recent book is Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.


Twitter: @oliverburkeman



00:02:03 The efficiency trap

00:05:34 Accepting human limitations

00:08:35 Why we handicap ourselves

00:13:07 How to be a better procrastinator

00:18:32 Each activity is paid for with your life

00:20:55 The joy of missing out

00:23:55 Harness more deep time

00:27:57 The common theme of Oliver’s books 

00:32:02 Realism and doing the impossible

00:37:29 Productivity and self-worth

00:40:53 Embracing boredom instead of acceleration

00:46:14 Developing a taste for problems

00:50:21 Radical incrementalism

00:57:30 “Originality lies on the far side of unoriginality”

01:01:06 How time management distracts us from wonder

01:03:50 Oliver’s approach to new year resolutions