Happy Mind, Happy Life

Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day. A science-backed guide to a calmer, happier you.

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How To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed with Oliver Burkeman

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  April 20, 2022

The average person has 4,000 weeks on earth. It doesn’t sound like much does it? You’re probably doing mental arithmetic right now trying to work out how many weeks you might have left. But if that sounds like a pessimistic start to this podcast, fear not. My guest today is Oliver Burkeman, journalist and author, whose latest book is Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals. And in this conversation, he shares a positive philosophy that can help us all overcome the overwhelm, make better choices, and build a meaningful relationship with time.

We begin by talking about our concept of time and how we falsely believe it’s something we can control. We think of time as infinite and don’t realise how distraction – that modern-day temptation – is robbing it from us. Or maybe we do know time is finite, says Oliver, but we just feel overwhelmed by all the things we have to do or want to do. How will we fit them all in?

The truth, he points out, is that we won’t. Many of the productivity hacks that we learn are a delusion. Time management doesn’t mean becoming more productive, it means deciding what to neglect. And once we realise we can never fit everything in, we get the freedom to prioritise.

Thinking about our limited lifespan may sound bleak, but Oliver is convinced that imposing limits of knowledge like this can help us live a more fulfilled and less stressed life. We’re more likely to use time mindfully, or be more creative, when we know it’s finite.

I absolutely loved talking with Oliver and I think his words will give you plenty to reflect on. In a world of demands, distractions and endless to-do lists, this conversation might be the most useful time-management tool of all.

This conversation is full of mind-blowing facts and insights but it’s also really empowering and contains simple, practical tips that all of us can use to improve our lives. I hope you enjoy listening.

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of this interview – click below.

'You've got to say no to things that you do want to do.' Click To Tweet

Connect with Oliver:


Oliver’s Book:

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals

Related Feel Better Live More episodes:

#53 How to Do Less, Do it Better and Live More with Elizabeth Emens

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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP