Four Thousand Weeks




good luck finding a time management system that makes any room for engaging productively with your fellow citizens, with current events, or with the fate of the environment. (Location 57)

Take the daily battle against online distraction, and the alarming sense that our attention spans have shriveled to such a degree that even those of us who were bookworms as children now struggle to make it through a paragraph without experiencing the urge to reach for our phones. (Location 73)

It turns out that when people make enough money to meet their needs, they just find new things to need and new lifestyles to aspire to; they never quite manage to keep up with the Joneses, because whenever they’re in danger of getting close, they nominate new and better Joneses with whom to try to keep up. (Location 131)

Revolving Joneses Principle

Edward Hall was making the same point with his image of time as a conveyor belt that’s constantly passing us by. Each hour or week or year is like a container being carried on the belt, which we must fill as it passes, if we’re to feel that we’re making good use of our time. When there are too many activities to fit comfortably into the containers, we feel unpleasantly busy; when there are too few, we feel bored. If we keep pace with the passing containers, we congratulate ourselves for “staying on top of things” and feel like we’re justifying our existence; if we let too many pass by unfilled, we feel we’ve wasted them. If we use containers labeled “work time” for the purposes of leisure, our employer may grow irritated. (Location 206)

Time is a conveyor belt

The fundamental problem is that this attitude toward time sets up a rigged game in which it’s impossible ever to feel as though you’re doing well enough. Instead of simply living our lives as they unfold in time—instead of just being time, you might say—it becomes difficult not to value each moment primarily according to its usefulness for some future goal, or for some future oasis of relaxation you hope to reach once your tasks are finally “out of the way.” (Location 282)

The universal truth behind my specific issues is that most of us invest a lot of energy, one way or another, in trying to avoid fully experiencing the reality in which we find ourselves. We don’t want to feel the anxiety that might arise if we were to ask ourselves whether we’re on the right path, or what ideas about ourselves it could be time to give up. We don’t want to risk getting hurt in relationships or failing professionally; we don’t want to accept that we might never succeed in pleasing our parents or in changing certain things we don’t like about ourselves—and we certainly don’t want to get sick and die. The details differ from person to person, but the kernel is the same. We recoil from the notion that this is it—that this life, with all its flaws and inescapable vulnerabilities, its extreme brevity, and our limited influence over how it unfolds, is the only one we’ll get a shot at. (Location 331)review

After all, it’s painful to confront how limited your time is, because it means that tough choices are inevitable and that you won’t have time for all you once dreamed you might do. It’s also painful to accept your limited control over the time you do get: (Location 344)review

rather than face our limitations, we engage in avoidance strategies, in an effort to carry on feeling limitless. (Location 346)review

the paradox of limitation, which runs through everything that follows: the more you try to manage your time with the goal of achieving a feeling of total control, and freedom from the inevitable constraints of being human, the more stressful, empty, and frustrating life gets. But the more you confront the facts of finitude instead—and work with them, rather than against them—the more productive, meaningful, and joyful life becomes. (Location 365)review

a limit-embracing attitude to time means organizing your days with the understanding that you definitely won’t have time for everything you want to do, or that other people want you to do—and so, at the very least, you can stop beating yourself up for failing. (Location 372)review

Since hard choices are unavoidable, what matters is learning to make them consciously, deciding what to focus on and what to neglect, rather than letting them get made by default—or deceiving yourself that, with enough hard work and the right time management tricks, you might not have to make them at all. (Location 374)review

meaningful productivity often comes not from hurrying things up but from letting them take the time they take, surrendering to what in German has been called Eigenzeit, or the time inherent to a process itself. (Location 387) Eigenzeit

There is an alternative: the unfashionable but powerful notion of letting time use you, approaching life not as an opportunity to implement your predetermined plans for success but as a matter of responding to the needs of your place and your moment in history. (Location 390)review

As the law professor Daniel Markovits has shown, even the winners in our achievement-obsessed culture—the ones who make it to the elite universities, then reap the highest salaries—find that their reward is the unending pressure to work with “crushing intensity” in order to maintain the income and status that have come to seem like prerequisites for the lives they want to lead. (Location 427)review

We rarely stop to consider things so rationally, though, because that would mean confronting the painful truth of our limitations. We would be forced to acknowledge that there are hard choices to be made: which balls to let drop, which people to disappoint, which cherished ambitions to abandon, which roles to fail at. (Location 435)review

For a start, what “matters” is subjective, so you’ve no grounds for assuming that there will be time for everything that you, or your employer, or your culture happens to deem important. But the other exasperating issue is that if you succeed in fitting more in, you’ll find the goalposts start to shift: more things will begin to seem important, meaningful, or obligatory. (Location 468)review

(By contrast, negligent emailers frequently find that forgetting to reply ends up saving them time: people find alternative solutions to the problems they were nagging you to solve, or the looming crisis they were emailing about never materializes.) (Location 495)review

Once you stop believing that it might somehow be possible to avoid hard choices about time, it gets easier to make better ones. (Location 510)review

premodern people weren’t much troubled by such thoughts, partly because they believed in an afterlife: there was no particular pressure to “get the most out of” their limited time, because as far as they were concerned, it wasn’t limited, and in any case, earthly life was but a relatively insignificant prelude to the most important part. (Location 518)review

because in reality your time is finite, doing anything requires sacrifice—the sacrifice of all the other things you could have been doing with that stretch of time. (Location 563)review

Despite my thinking of myself as the kind of person who got things done, it grew painfully clear that the things I got done most diligently were the unimportant ones, while the important ones got postponed—either forever or until an imminent deadline forced me to complete them, to a mediocre standard and in a stressful rush. (Location 570)review

Meanwhile, the long message from an old friend now living in New Delhi and research for the major article I’d been planning for months would get ignored, because I told myself that such tasks needed my full focus, which meant waiting until I had a good chunk of free time and fewer small-but-urgent tasks tugging at my attention. And so, instead, like the dutiful and efficient worker I was, I’d put my energy into clearing the decks, cranking through the smaller stuff to get it out of the way—only to discover that doing so took the whole day, that the decks filled up again overnight anyway, and that the moment for responding to the New Delhi email or for researching the milestone article never arrived. One can waste years this way, systematically postponing precisely the things one cares about the most. (Location 574)review

Once you truly understand that you’re guaranteed to miss out on almost every experience the world has to offer, the fact that there are so many you still haven’t experienced stops feeling like a problem. Instead, you get to focus on fully enjoying the tiny slice of experiences you actually do have time for—and the freer you are to choose, in each moment, what counts the most. (Location 589)review

But we’ve forgotten to be amazed that things are in the first place—that “a world is worlding all around us,” as Heidegger puts it. This fact—the fact that there is being, to begin with—is “the brute reality on which all of us ought to be constantly stubbing our toes,” in the splendid phrase of the writer Sarah Bakewell. (Location 676)review

The only real question about all this finitude is whether we’re willing to confront it or not. And this, for Heidegger, is the central challenge of human existence: since finitude defines our lives, he argues that living a truly authentic life—becoming fully human—means facing up to that fact. (Location 701)review

What’s really morbid, from this perspective, is what most of us do, most of the time, instead of confronting our finitude, which is to indulge in avoidance and denial, or what Heidegger calls “falling.” Rather than taking ownership of our lives, we seek out distractions, or lose ourselves in busyness and the daily grind, so as to try to forget our real predicament. (Location 712)review

If you really thought life would never end, he argues, then nothing could ever genuinely matter, because you’d never be faced with having to decide whether or not to use a portion of your precious life on something. (Location 724)review

Or to put it another way, why treat four thousand weeks as a very small number, because it’s so tiny compared with infinity, rather than treating it as a huge number, because it’s so many more weeks than if you had never been born? (Location 775)review

I’m embarrassed to admit what an outsize negative effect such minor frustrations have had on my happiness over the years. Fairly often, they still do; but the effect was worst at the height of my productivity geekhood, because when you’re trying to Master Your Time, few things are more infuriating than a task or delay that’s foisted upon you against your will, with no regard for the schedule you’ve painstakingly drawn up in your overpriced notebook. (Location 793)review

So the point isn’t to eradicate procrastination, but to choose more wisely what you’re going to procrastinate on, in order to focus on what matters most. The real measure of any time management technique is whether or not it helps you neglect the right things. (Location 836)

Don’t do everything

the teacher demonstrates the solution: he puts the rocks in first, then the pebbles, then the sand, so that the smaller items nestle comfortably in the spaces between the larger ones. The moral is that if you make time for the most important things first, you’ll get them all done and have plenty of room for less important things besides. But if you don’t approach your to-do list in this order, you’ll never fit the bigger things in at all. (Location 844)review

The trouble is that we’re terrible at long-range planning: if something feels like a priority now, it’s virtually impossible to coolly assess whether it will still feel that way in a week or a month. (Location 863)review

This is the same insight embodied in two venerable pieces of time management advice: to work on your most important project for the first hour of each day, and to protect your time by scheduling “meetings” with yourself, marking them in your calendar so that other commitments can’t intrude. (Location 874)review

The second principle is to limit your work in progress. Perhaps the most appealing way to resist the truth about your finite time is to initiate a large number of projects at once; that way, you get to feel as though you’re keeping plenty of irons in the fire and making progress on all fronts. Instead, what usually ends up happening is that you make progress on no fronts—because each time a project starts to feel difficult, or frightening, or boring, you can bounce off to a different one instead. You get to preserve your sense of being in control of things, but at the cost of never finishing anything important. The alternative approach is to fix a hard upper limit on the number of things that you allow yourself to work on at any given time. In their book Personal Kanban, which explores this strategy in detail, the management experts Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry suggest no more than three items. (Location 879)review

Another happy consequence was that I found myself effortlessly breaking down my projects into manageable chunks, a strategy I’d long agreed with in theory but never properly implemented. Now it became the intuitive thing to do: it was clear that if I nominated “write book” or “move house” as one of my three tasks in progress, it would clog up the system for months, so I was naturally motivated to figure out the next achievable step in each case instead. Rather than trying to do everything, I found it easier to accept the truth that I’d be doing only a few things on any given day. The difference, this time, was that I actually did them. (Location 894)review

We invariably prefer indecision over committing ourselves to a single path, Bergson wrote, because “the future, which we dispose of to our liking, appears to us at the same time under a multitude of forms, equally attractive and equally possible.” In other words, it’s easy for me to fantasize about, say, a life spent achieving stellar professional success, while also excelling as a parent and partner, while also dedicating myself to training for marathons or lengthy meditation retreats or volunteering in my community—because so long as I’m only fantasizing, I get to imagine all of them unfolding simultaneously and flawlessly. As soon as I start trying to live any of those lives, though, I’ll be forced to make trade-offs—to put less time than I’d like into one of those domains, so as to make space for another—and to accept that nothing I do will go perfectly anyway, with the result that my actual life will inevitably prove disappointing by comparison with the fantasy. (Location 978)review

having committed themselves to one finite course of action, they’ll be much less likely to spend that time pining after fantastical alternatives. In consciously making a commitment, they’re closing off their fantasies of infinite possibility in favor of what I described, in the previous chapter, as the “joy of missing out”: the recognition that the renunciation of alternatives is what makes their choice a meaningful one in the first place. (Location 1040)review

what you pay attention to will define, for you, what reality is. (Location 1071)review

Attention, on the other hand, just is life: your experience of being alive consists of nothing other than the sum of everything to which you pay attention. (Location 1077)review

the crucial point isn’t that it’s wrong to choose to spend your time relaxing, whether at the beach or on BuzzFeed. It’s that the distracted person isn’t really choosing at all. Their attention has been commandeered by forces that don’t have their highest interests at heart. (Location 1088)review

Can you have an experience you don’t experience? The finest meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant might as well be a plate of instant noodles if your mind is elsewhere; and a friendship to which you never actually give a moment’s thought is a friendship in name only. “Attention is the beginning of devotion,” writes the poet Mary Oliver, pointing to the fact that distraction and care are incompatible with each other: you can’t truly love a partner or a child, dedicate yourself to a career or to a cause—or just savor the pleasure of a stroll in the park—except to the extent that you can hold your attention on the object of your devotion to begin with. (Location 1110)review

All of which helps clarify what’s so alarming about the contemporary online “attention economy,” of which we’ve heard so much in recent years: it’s essentially a giant machine for persuading you to make the wrong choices about what to do with your attention, and therefore with your finite life, by getting you to care about things you didn’t want to care about. And you have far too little control over your attention simply to decide, as if by fiat, that you’re not going to succumb to its temptations. (Location 1116)review

All the feuds and fake news and public shamings on social media, therefore, aren’t a flaw, from the perspective of the platform owners; they’re an integral part of the business model. (Location 1125)review

You might also be aware that all this is delivered by means of “persuasive design”—an umbrella term for an armory of psychological techniques borrowed directly from the designers of casino slot machines, for the express purpose of encouraging compulsive behavior. One example among hundreds is the ubiquitous drag-down-to-refresh gesture, which keeps people scrolling by exploiting a phenomenon known as “variable rewards”: when you can’t predict whether or not refreshing the screen will bring new posts to read, the uncertainty makes you more likely to keep trying, again and again and again, just as you would on a slot machine. (Location 1126)review

What’s far less widely appreciated than all that, though, is how deep the distraction goes, and how radically it undermines our efforts to spend our finite time as we’d like. As you surface from an hour inadvertently frittered away on Facebook, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the damage, in terms of wasted time, was limited to that single misspent hour. But you’d be wrong. Because the attention economy is designed to prioritize whatever’s most compelling—instead of whatever’s most true, or most useful—it systematically distorts the picture of the world we carry in our heads at all times. It influences our sense of what matters, what kinds of threats we face, how venal our political opponents are, and thousands of other things—and all these distorted judgments then influence how we allocate our offline time as well. (Location 1136)review

So it’s not simply that our devices distract us from more important matters. It’s that they change how we’re defining “important matters” in the first place. In the words of the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, they sabotage our capacity to “want what we want to want.” (Location 1146)review

To make things more troublesome still, it can be difficult even to notice when your outlook on life is being changed in this depressing fashion, thanks to a special problem with attention, which is that it’s extremely difficult for it to monitor itself. The only faculty you can use to see what’s happening to your attention is your attention, the very thing that’s already been commandeered. This means that once the attention economy has rendered you sufficiently distracted, or annoyed, or on edge, it becomes easy to assume that this is just what life these days inevitably feels like. (Location 1165)review

By portraying our opponents as beyond persuasion, social media sorts us into ever more hostile tribes, then rewards us, with likes and shares, for the most hyperbolic denunciations of the other side, fueling a vicious cycle that makes sane debate impossible. (Location 1173)review

As the technology critic Tristan Harris likes to say, each time you open a social media app, there are “a thousand people on the other side of the screen” paid to keep you there—and so it’s unrealistic to expect users to resist the assault on their time and attention by means of willpower alone. (Location 1178)review

The most effective way to sap distraction of its power is just to stop expecting things to be otherwise—to accept that this unpleasantness is simply what it feels like for finite humans to commit ourselves to the kinds of demanding and valuable tasks that force us to confront our limited control over how our lives unfold. (Location 1279)review

The cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter is famous, among other reasons, for coining “Hofstadter’s law,” which states that any task you’re planning to tackle will always take longer than you expect, “even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” In other words, even if you know that a given project is likely to overrun, and you adjust your schedule accordingly, it’ll just overrun your new estimated finishing time, too. (Location 1299)review

Worry, at its core, is the repetitious experience of a mind attempting to generate a feeling of security about the future, failing, then trying again and again and again—as if the very effort of worrying might somehow help forestall disaster. (Location 1341)review

We go through our days fretting because we can’t control what the future holds; and yet most of us would probably concede that we got to wherever we are in our lives without exerting much control over it at all. Whatever you value most about your life can always be traced back to some jumble of chance occurrences you couldn’t possibly have planned for, and that you certainly can’t alter retrospectively now. (Location 1380)review

despite our total lack of control over any of these occurrences, each of us made it through to this point in our lives—so it might at least be worth entertaining the possibility that when the uncontrollable future arrives, we’ll have what it takes to weather that as well. And that you shouldn’t necessarily even want such control, given how much of what you value in life only ever came to pass thanks to circumstances you never chose. (Location 1396)review

Rather, a life spent “not minding what happens” is one lived without the inner demand to know that the future will conform to your desires for it—and thus without having to be constantly on edge as you wait to discover whether or not things will unfold as expected. (Location 1419)review

But all a plan is—all it could ever possibly be—is a present-moment statement of intent. It’s an expression of your current thoughts about how you’d ideally like to deploy your modest influence over the future. The future, of course, is under no obligation to comply. (Location 1432)review

to focus exclusively on where you’re headed, at the expense of focusing on where you are—with the result that you find yourself living mentally in the future, locating the “real” value of your life at some time that you haven’t yet reached, and never will. (Location 1444)review

I came to realize that I didn’t want to squander these days of his actual existence by focusing solely on how best to use them for the sake of his future one. (Location 1507)review - Note: How do we balance current experience with future benefit? Especially in raising children.

“causal catastrophe,” which he defines as the belief “that the proof of the rightness or wrongness of some way of bringing up children is the kind of adults it produces.” That idea sounds reasonable enough—how else would you judge rightness or wrongness?—until you realize that its effect is to sap childhood of any intrinsic value, by treating it as nothing but a training ground for adulthood. (Location 1514)review - Note: What is the best way to let children be children while still setting them up for success in adulthood?

“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up,” Herzen says. “But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what only lives for a day. It pours the whole of itself into each moment … Life’s bounty is in its flow. (Location 1525)review

there will be a last time that you visit your childhood home, or swim in the ocean, or make love, or have a deep conversation with a certain close friend. Yet usually there’ll be no way to know, in the moment itself, that you’re doing it for the last time. Harris’s point is that we should therefore try to treat every such experience with the reverence we’d show if it were the final instance of it. (Location 1535)review

“Lawyers imbued with the ethos of the billable hour have difficulty grasping a non-commodified understanding of the meaning of time that would allow them to appreciate the true value of such participation.” (Location 1564)review

Our obsession with extracting the greatest future value out of our time blinds us to the reality that, in fact, the moment of truth is always now—that life is nothing but a succession of present moments, culminating in death, and that you’ll probably never get to a point where you feel you have things in perfect working order. (Location 1573)review

The truth, then, is that spending at least some of your leisure time “wastefully,” focused solely on the pleasure of the experience, is the only way not to waste it—to be truly at leisure, rather than covertly engaged in future-focused self-improvement. In order to most fully inhabit the only life you ever get, you have to refrain from using every spare hour for personal growth. (Location 1720)review

“We are the sum of all the moments of our lives,” writes Thomas Wolfe, “all that is ours is in them: we cannot escape it or conceal it.” If we’re going to show up for, and thus find some enjoyment in, our brief time on the planet, we had better show up for it now. (Location 1766)review

“Nothing is more alien to the present age than idleness,” writes the philosopher John Gray. He adds: “How can there be play in a time when nothing has meaning unless it leads to something else?” (Location 1811)review

when your relationship with time is almost entirely instrumental, the present moment starts to lose its meaning. (Location 1845)review

As Schopenhauer puts it in his masterwork, The World as Will and Idea, it’s therefore inherently painful for humans to have “objects of willing”—things you want to do, or to have, in life—because not yet having them is bad, but getting them is arguably even worse: (Location 1853)review

In an age of instrumentalization, the hobbyist is a subversive: he insists that some things are worth doing for themselves alone, despite offering no payoffs in terms of productivity or profit. (Location 1866)review

The derision we heap upon the avid stamp collector or train spotter might really be a kind of defense mechanism, to spare us from confronting the possibility that they’re truly happy in a way that the rest of us—pursuing our telic lives, ceaselessly in search of future fulfillment—are not. This also helps explain why it’s far less embarrassing (indeed, positively fashionable) to have a “side hustle,” a hobbylike activity explicitly pursued with profit in mind. (Location 1867)review

And so in order to be a source of true fulfillment, a good hobby probably should feel a little embarrassing; that’s a sign you’re doing it for its own sake, rather than for some socially sanctioned outcome. (Location 1871)review - Note: Does playing Rocket League count?

to pursue an activity in which you have no hope of becoming exceptional is to put aside, for a while, the anxious need to “use time well,” (Location 1884)review

be. Our decreasing tolerance for delay is reflected in statistics on everything from road rage and the length of politicians’ sound bites to the number of seconds the average web user is prepared to wait for a slow-loading page. (Location 1923)review

Virtually every new technology, from the steam engine to mobile broadband, has permitted us to get things done more quickly than before. Shouldn’t this therefore have reduced our impatience, by allowing us to live at something closer to the speed we’d prefer? Yet since the beginning of the modern era of acceleration, people have been responding not with satisfaction at all the time saved but with increasing agitation that they can’t make things move faster still. (Location 1927)review

As the world gets faster and faster, we come to believe that our happiness, or our financial survival, depends on our being able to work and move and make things happen at superhuman speed. (Location 1991)review

Once you give up on the unattainable goal of eradicating all your problems, it becomes possible to develop an appreciation for the fact that life just is a process of engaging with problem after problem, giving each one the time it requires—that the presence of problems in your life, in other words, isn’t an impediment to a meaningful existence but the very substance of one. (Location 2124)review

Robert Boice spent his career studying the writing habits of his fellow academics, reaching the conclusion that the most productive and successful among them generally made writing a smaller part of their daily routine than the others, so that it was much more feasible to keep going with it day after day. They cultivated the patience to tolerate the fact that they probably wouldn’t be producing very much on any individual day, with the result that they produced much more over the long term. (Location 2128)review - Note: showing up daily each day,is way better than doing a ton once a week.

One critical aspect of the radical incrementalist approach, which runs counter to much mainstream advice on productivity, is thus to be willing to stop when your daily time is up, even when you’re bursting with energy and feel as though you could get much more done. If you’ve decided to work on a given project for fifty minutes, then once fifty minutes have elapsed, get up and walk away from it. Why? Because as Boice explained, the urge to push onward beyond that point “includes a big component of impatience about not being finished, about not being productive enough, about never again finding such an ideal time” for work. Stopping helps strengthen the muscle of patience that will permit you to return to the project again and again, and thus to sustain your productivity over an entire career. (Location 2138)review - Note: I think I understand the idea here, but this runs counter to the flow state that I am always looking to reach. Sometimes with limited success

having all the time in the world isn’t much use if you’re forced to experience it all on your own. To do countless important things with time—to socialize, go on dates, raise children, launch businesses, build political movements, make technological advances—it has to be synchronized with other people’s. (Location 2199)review - Note: We are social beings and the enriching parts of life are those spent with others. Even as an introvert, I find this to be true.

“A person with a flexible schedule and average resources will be happier than a rich person who has everything except a flexible schedule,” advises the cartoonist turned self-help guru Scott Adams, summarizing the ethos of individual time sovereignty. (Location 2212)review

the most fundamental question of time management: What would it mean to spend the only time you ever get in a way that truly feels as though you are making it count? (Location 2403)review

once you’re no longer burdened by such an unrealistic definition of a “life well spent,” you’re freed to consider the possibility that a far wider variety of things might qualify as meaningful ways to use your finite time. (Location 2498)review

You have to accept that there will always be too much to do; that you can’t avoid tough choices or make the world run at your preferred speed; (Location 2557)review

Where in your life or your work are you currently pursuing comfort, when what’s called for is a little discomfort? (Location 2579)review

It’s better to begin from the assumption that tough choices are inevitable and to focus on making them consciously and well. (Location 2760)review

keep two to-do lists, one “open” and one “closed.” The open list is for everything that’s on your plate and will doubtless be nightmarishly long. Fortunately, it’s not your job to tackle it: instead, feed tasks from the open list to the closed one—that is, a list with a fixed number of entries, ten at most. The rule is that you can’t add a new task until one’s completed. (Location 2762)review - Tags: favorite

You’ll never get through all the tasks on the open list—but you were never going to in any case, and at least this way you’ll complete plenty of things you genuinely care about. (Location 2766)review

A complementary strategy is to establish predetermined time boundaries for your daily work. To whatever extent your job situation permits, decide in advance how much time you’ll dedicate to work—you might resolve to start by 8:30 a.m., and finish no later than 5:30 p.m., say—then make all other time-related decisions in light of those predetermined limits. (Location 2767)review - Note: A realized this fairly early on at Dorsata. There was no way i could keep up with things we could think up so instead set a clear boundary that i would start at 9 and end at 5:30 with no weekends. There are a few exceptions for legitimate deadlines like demos, but i have kept with it for 8 years.

the great benefit of strategic underachievement—that is, nominating in advance whole areas of life in which you won’t expect excellence of yourself—is that you focus that time and energy more effectively. (Location 2783)review - Note: I decided I couldnt do YouTube, be a good father/husband and play piano. So allowed myself to fail at piano.

A poorly kept lawn or a cluttered kitchen are less troubling when you’ve preselected “lawn care” or “kitchen tidiness” as goals to which you’ll devote zero energy. (Location 2788)review - Note: Also this.

our brains encode the passage of years on the basis of how much information we process in any given interval. Childhood involves plentiful novel experiences, so we remember it as having lasted forever; but as we get older, life gets routinized—we stick to the same few places of residence, the same few relationships and jobs—and the novelty tapers off. (Location 2830)review

pay more attention to every moment, however mundane: to find novelty not by doing radically different things but by plunging more deeply into the life you already have. Experience life with twice the usual intensity, and “your experience of life would be twice as full as it currently is” (Location 2838)review

whenever a generous impulse arises in your mind—to give money, check in on a friend, send an email praising someone’s work—act on the impulse right away, rather than putting it off until later. (Location 2857)review