Pulling The Thread with Elise Loehnen

The Fallacy of Time Management (Oliver Burkeman)

The Fallacy of Time Management (Oliver Burkeman)

Pulling The Thread with Elise Loehnen - September 1, 2022 - 53:04

“There seems to be this basic idea that if you make a system including a human life, more efficient, capable of processing, more inputs to put it in like abstract general terms. Well, if that supply of inputs is infinite, all that's gonna happen is that you attract more of them into the system and you end up busier, right? This is Parkinson's law.. It's induced demand with the way when they widen freeways to ease the congestion, it makes the route more appealing to more drivers. So more cars come and fill the lane and then the congestion gets back to what it was before. There's all these different ways in which trying to get on top of something that you can't actually get on top of is futile. And technology seems to offer us that promise, and of course it does help us do lots and lots of really useful things, but it doesn't help us get to the state of peace of mind with respect to our limited natures. It's never going to break through that, that barrier,” so says Oliver Burkeman, feature writer for The Guardian and the New York Times bestselling author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, a book which delivers practical self-help through the lens of philosophical reflection as Burkeman questions the modern fixation on “getting everything done.” We are finite, material creatures who only live so long—about four thousand weeks—Burkeman tells us, yet we are obsessed with cramming more and more “stuff” into our days, aided by time saving technologies that give us the illusion of transcending the ultimate limitation: Our own mortality. Our culture has led us to believe that if we just became more efficient, we could optimize our lives enough to bring about greater happiness. But in an era where busyness has become a virtue, our attempts to drive efficiency ultimately don’t yield more time for the meaningful stuff, but rather heighten our sense of anxious hurry as we face, and are expected to process, an incessant stream of inputs.We can only begin to build toward a meaningful life when we embrace our finitude, he advises us. Rather than searching out shortcuts to arrive at our cosmically significant life purpose faster, Burkeman tells us to ride the metaphorical bus—allowing ourselves to learn and develop at all the stops along the way. The universe is not depending on us to maximize our time, he says, and when we fall victim to the siren’s call of efficiency culture to avoid the annoying parts of life, we miss out on a whole bunch of the meaningful stuff, too. EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: Why we shouldn’t maximize efficiency…5:18 Instrumentalizing time…15:42 Originality lies on the far side of unoriginality…31:41 Our universal insignificance…40:11 MORE FROM OLIVER BURKEMAN:Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for MortalsThe Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive ThinkingExplore Oliver's Website

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