Productivity Won't Make You Happy
4,000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
Most of us have an incredibly unhealthy relationship with work and productivity.
And a big source of that unhealthy relationship is all the productivity books out there and the influencers who keep promoting them.
I used to think the secret to unlimited wealth and eternal happiness was hidden in the habits of high performers, or the right note taking tool, or the right productivity method. I read productivity and self-help and business books OBSESSIVELY.
And look a lot of people start off in their non-fiction journey with those kinds of book. They’re easy to read, they give some promise of improving your life, and you feel like you’re investing in your future self when you read them.
And sometimes you are! There are books in that category that have made a significant, meaningful improvement in my life. But the list is very short. Most have been a waste of time, and many of them contributed to the unhealthy relationship with work and time that we’re here to talk about today.
Because one of the few books in the self-help-y category that has had a meaningful lasting positive impact on me is 4,000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman.
It presents a new way of looking at “productivity” and our relationship with work without going completely in the “you should be happy sitting around doing nothing” direction. It sets a perfect balance between the needs to make money and be ambitious, without letting it destroy you.
I’ll share some of my favorite highlights from the book here. And as always, if you want to listen to the audio, subscribe to the Nat’s Notes podcast on YouTube, Spotify, Apple, Amazon, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts by searching “Nat’s Notes.”
This edition is sponsored by Readwise!
Readwise is my absolute favorite reading tool. I use it pretty much every day, and if you like books, you should be using it too.
Readwise is your knowledge hub for everything you read. It can automatically import your highlights from Kindle, Instapaper, Pocket, and even scan your highlights from physical books.
Then anytime you want to reference your favorite parts of a book, you can immediately search them on Readwise, or in any note-taking app you connect your Readwise to like Notion.
They also recently launched the Readwise Reader which is what I use for reading all articles now, since it has a fantastic built-in highlighting tool that makes it easy to see anything you loved from past articles you read.
This is honestly the best tool out there for getting more out of everything you read. And they’re offering readers of Nat’s Notes a 2 month free trial to check it out. Just go to readwise.io/nat to get started.
Our problem isn’t our limited time, it’s how we think about time
If we obsess over the future, we spend our days “just getting through things”
Hurrying makes you frustrated with things that can’t be hurried
Distraction is not relaxation
There will be a last time you do everything and you won’t know it
Leisure should be enjoyed for its own sake
You can enjoy a hobby without turning it into a side hustle
A question to ask yourself…
I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Nat’s Notes!
Be sure to check out the podcast if you haven’t, and I’ll be back next week with another great book to share with you.