wavy pattern

a book that’s changed my thinking 📚



(and a shocking, yet strangely liberating fact ⏳)

- Posted byHannah Miller

hello dear reader,

I’m back from my little break – was lovely but I won’t harp on about it (feel free to check out my socials where I might do a teensy bit more harping on). I love reading and do a lot of it on holiday (sorry, just couldn’t help myself there) but actually I wanted to talk to you today about a book that was recommended to me at the start of the year by my friend Dr Nish Manek, which I have read twice already and recommended a hundred times. 

It’s called Four Thousand Weeks and it’s by Oliver Burkeman.

Do you know what four thousand weeks is? 

It’s how long you and I, if we’re averagely lucky, get to have here on planet earth. Now, there may be some weeks where you feel like that is an eternity and you wouldn’t mind being beamed up from this mortal coil, but – my main feeling when I read that was, ‘that really is not very long at all: I have used about half of it already’. 😳

Those that know me well, will agree that I like to get stuff done. Although most of my CliftonStrengths are not in the executing domain (mine are mainly influencing and relationships), I have a strong value rooted in not wasting time and making sure I am working hard – for my family, for my work, for things that deeply matter to me. 

This is good, in lots of ways: I get stuff done, I understand that effort matters, I am making the most of my opportunities, I’m many things but lazy isn’t one of them, etc. It does have its pitfalls, however. Switching off, ‘wasting time’, being fully present = not my strong suit.

The reason I loved this book is because Oliver is speaking to people like me. Not necessarily the productivity gurus, and not those of us who have mastered the art of being present. The busy middle. I’m going to pull out a few of my main takeaways for you here, and a question or two you might like to use to help you reflect. 

  1. It’s a trap: the more efficient you are, the more that gets put on your plate. Are you still under the illusion that you master your workload?

  2. Choose well: life is actually very short. Are you living for now, for the future, in the past? Are you living out your values, or compromising every day? 

  3. You can’t do everything: you have to pick things that you will invest in at the expense of others, in order to do those things well. What five or so things should be top priority of investment for you? What ten to fifteen other things (that may actually feel important) are stopping you from maximising your impact in those most important five?
  4. No more FOMO because we’re all missing out: focus on what you do have, and what you can do – and let go of what is not available to you in order to be fully present in the life that you have. As Oliver says, “‘Missing out’ is what makes our choices meaningful in the first place. Every decision to use a portion of time on anything represents the sacrifice of all the other ways in which you could have spent that time, but didn’t—and to willingly make that sacrifice is to take a stand, without reservation, on what matters most to you.” What do you need to let go of, fantasy versions of your life that are stopping you from taking all the good from the life you are in?

There is so much in this book – so much that has challenged me, so much I am trying to put into practice. There is so much that I am failing at when it comes to a re-adjustment of my relationship with time. But, I am seeing signs of progress, and I’ll take that. I’m learning to celebrate my small wins, when I know I chose being present, when I know I chose switching off, when I know I chose leaving a task unfinished. Those small wins are an active resistance against the productivity stick that I regularly beat myself with. Where have you spotted signs of progress in your own life? Pay attention to those, and keep on going. 

One day at a time.*

Love, Hannah x



P.S. One last beefy question to get you thinking today: In what ways have you yet to accept the fact that you are who you are, not the person you think you ought to be? Oof.


P.P.S. *You get about 28,000 days and I’ve had just over half of mine. I’m determined to make this one matter 😊


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