Summary of Why Time Management Is Ruining Our Lives

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If you feel like your to-do list is never-ending, you’re not alone. Society today has created a culture of efficiency that makes people believe it is their duty to complete more tasks in shorter periods of time than ever before – and for what? Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman scrutinizes the modern obsession with “personal productivity”: completing task lists, emptying inboxes, and the like. He invites you to dive into the history of efficiency and decide for yourself if growing for the sake of growth is fruitless. getAbstract recommends this thoughtful essay to those who never have enough time.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why society obsesses about “personal productivity” today,
  • How views on time management have evolved throughout history and
  • What the backlash against efficiency looks like.
 

About the Author

Oliver Burkeman is author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.

 

Summary

Today, people live 4,000 weeks on average. Society says you should make the absolute most of that time: Create a to-do list and start ticking things off, work efficiently, and keep your inbox empty. As it turns out, “personal productivity” may be futile, as limitless tasks pile up and time management strategies become procrastination tactics themselves.

Modernity was supposed to give people more time: In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes anticipated that 15-hour workweeks would become the norm within a century. However, capitalism has pushed people to desire products and services beyond their basic...


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