Best Laid Plans Reading

BLP Ep #125: Mortality, FOMO, and More with Oliver Burkeman

December 19, 2022

It was pretty thrilling to interview Oliver Burkeman about the finitude of our lives and how that relates to productivity and planning!

(Side note – he was also on BOBW earlier this year but was gracious enough to also speak with me on BLP!)

If you’re looking for an inspiring read for the last weeks of the year and haven’t read 4000 Weeks yet, I highly recommend it. It was one of my favorites of 2021.

Back tomorrow — 2 more packing days left until MT (and I am working both of them)! AHHHH!


  • Reply CBS December 19, 2022 at 7:44 am

    I loved 4000 weeks. I feel like I took really helpful lessons about working on a single project at a time and putting things in broader perspective. Which is helpful now that we are in quarantine.

  • Reply Elisabeth December 19, 2022 at 9:47 am

    I really enjoyed Four Thousand Weeks. I’m excited to listen to this episode!

  • Reply Flavia December 19, 2022 at 10:28 am

    Omg!!! Huge 4000 Weeks fan!!! I haven’t listened to the episode yet but just did a little excited dance!

  • Reply Caroline December 19, 2022 at 11:44 am

    I really enjoyed 4000 weeks and this interview! Some of your conversation reminded me of a question I’ve wanted to submit to BLP for a while. I love the David Allen, complete-capture idea of making a giant list of everything I need to do. It’s even kind of fun to make the list. But at the end of the process, I’m completely discouraged and get nothing done for the next several days. Making a smaller sub-list doesn’t seem to help- just my awareness of the big list’s existence discourages me. Maybe I need to come to more acceptance that I will never get everything done? Or maybe I should just stop making these lists? I’d be curious what your advice would be. Thanks!

    • Reply Katie December 19, 2022 at 7:09 pm

      I feel the same way about GTD! It sounds great, but I end up *not* getting things done because I get overwhelmed and just start rewriting my lists.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 20, 2022 at 6:31 am

      I love this topic. My approach has been to time-bind your lists and be really intentional about only pulling a few things off your giant list to focus on in a given time period, and then IGNORE the giant list. (This is what I call nested goals). For example, you might pull 3-4 time-sensitive things out to focus on during your week, and only 1-2 things for a day. Use the day’s energy level + schedule to help you decide what to pull.
      This may become an entire episode so thank you for the comment!

      • Reply Melanie Novak December 20, 2022 at 2:12 pm

        Would love an episode on this topic. I find that a large master list causes me an extraordinary amount of stress, and I usually end up destroying them (have thrown away entire planners just to get rid of them). But I still feel compelled to make them.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns December 19, 2022 at 11:50 am

    What a fun episode! I find his accent so incredibly pleasing to listen to! I had just listened to Dr. Becky’s interview of Oliver Jeffers so had back-to-back UK accents to enjoy! I appreciated his reflections on Darwin and how his life was set up for such deep work. It made me think of comments people have made about Cal Newport and his ability to focus on deep work. Being able to do deep work/dictate your schedule requires a certain level of support from others.

  • Reply Allee December 19, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    I loved this episode especially what he said about “if I schedule myself to do something at a certain time, I don’t want to do it almost specifically because I scheduled myself to do it then.” I feel this often and can find it makes “planning” difficult.

  • Reply Sophie December 19, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    Yay!!! I was listening to 4000 weeks two days ago and thinking how great it would be if you interviewed him- and here it is! Such a great book and take home messages for planning addicts like us. Can’t wait to listen 🙂

  • Reply Rachel December 20, 2022 at 3:56 am

    This was an awesome episode and definitely put me in a positive headspace after listening! I thought Olivers BOBW interview was interesting too but also had pangs of “Laura writes about this really well, why aren’t people suggesting her book to me when they hear I like learning about time!” It was great to hear you both talk about planning and get more insight into how Oliver plans (the anti-cal newport…?). Very much shows that planning is so many different things for so many different people.

  • Reply Grateful Kae December 20, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Really enjoyed this episode. I loved the book, I love his accent, and I just find him to be a down to earth and interesting perspective. I read Four Thousand Weeks in Mexico in August this year, but I would like to re-read it again this upcoming year.

  • Reply Kelsi January 3, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    I had a hard time finding the BLP youtube channel, but I found it. In case it would help anyone, the link is

    • Reply Kelsi January 3, 2023 at 2:25 pm

      I meant to add, I’m so excited you made a video channel. I’ve looked for videos of you explaining your planners, but never found. I love the podcast, but don’t always have time to read the blog. The video is great! You do have skills. 🙂

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