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Only 4,000 Weeks?

Did you know that our lifespan—80 years on average for US women—equates to about 4,000 weeks? When I read this in The Atlantic, it came as a bit of a shock. It feels short, doesn’t it?

Given that reality, many of us will seek to cram as much into our days as possible. But Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, argues that’s the wrong way to think about our limited time on planet earth. He says it’s less about quantity and more about meaning. How can each of us prioritize the things we care about the most?

It all begins with knowing what truly matters to us, of course; and beyond the easy answers of family and friends lies a vast ocean of possibilities. So vast it’s often overwhelming, causing us to bury our heads in the sand and focus on day-to-day tasks, at the expense of longer-term goals.

I’m a list maker extraordinaire. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from checking off my daily to dos. Problem is, when I get caught up in mundane tasks, day after day, I end up neglecting more meaningful pastimes and goals.

So I’ve taken to blocking hours on my calendar, at times when I know my energy will be high, to tackle things that matter. Whether it’s writing a workshop, having lunch with a girlfriend, of taking my dog for a long walk. Sometimes this means I don’t get to every email or bill or errand. And that bugs me (I’m on a perpetual quest to inbox zero!). But I feel a longer-lasting satisfaction from tackling the important stuff.

(By the way, this is exactly why I created the Take Action on Your Passion membership. So women 40+ can prioritize their own dreams and make the most of their 4,000 weeks.)

YOUR TURN: How are YOU making sure you carve out time for the important goals in your life? (Yes, even if that means you neglect a few daily tasks.)

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I’m Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Mentor with a passion for facilitating personal development in women 40+. Through my THRIVE Courses, I help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth—and create their next chapter with courage and intention.

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