Four Thousand Weeks

Four Thousand Weeks

I’ve just finished a 4-month business course for copywriters.

Yes – a business course.

Those of you who have known me since train-track braces and idealistic socialist rants (well, ok, I still have those every now and again) are probably either snorting into your coffee or staring at the screen open-mouthed around about now.

Those of you who came a little later to the Peta Show, (Hi! Don’t worry, everyone gets the same comfy seats – socialist, remember?) might be slightly less baffled. 

I can’t pretend that I ever thought of the business world as a place I’d be at home.

But this copywriting thing has sort of snuck up on me. 

From a few pounds for a few words on Upwork to a fully-fledged business (with website – if you’re interested, marketing strategy, retainer clients, and actual testimonials no less!) in less time than it’s taken Erica to realise that all the food lives in the fridge….

And while I was feeling pretty confident about the writing side of things, I was out to see when it came to running a business. So I jumped on board with some seasoned experts and set sail on the SSS Copywriter Club Accelerator. You can hear about my experience here.

(Yes, I know that I stretched the metaphor a little far…I’m currently writing this sat in the dark in Ethan’s room while I wait for him to go to sleep. A girl’s gotta have some fun.)

So I found myself learning about customer avatars, niches, branding, pricing strategies, packaging, and my own X-Factor (nope, no Simon Cowell in sight.) under the wing of copywriting legends Kira and Rob. I made a whole host of friends from all over the world, and I reckon I kicked my business about 3 years further ahead than if I’d just have muddled through.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.

I’ve not been on here for a while. Mainly because running a business in the tiny pockets of time my sister-in-law and naps can give me is bloody hard. But also because (as some of you know) Ethan’s anxiety has kicked up a notch. One of us is currently spending up to 2 hours every evening in his room until he falls asleep – constantly reassuring him that everything is ok and he is safe. That sort of eats into blogging time – not gonna lie.

In this sort of situation, it feels like I’ve been drowning, frankly. My to-do list is so long that I have to carry it around in a scroll, and I no longer have a washing pile, but different categories of washing pile – from “definitely needs washing”, through to “put this away when you have 5 minutes”, and “this is never going to reach the wardrobe, is it…it’s been sat here for a week?”

Even when Erica started nursery 3 days a week in mid-January I still felt as if the walls were closing in on me. There was never enough time to do everything I needed to do. In my head was this hallowed, yearned for place where I’d answered all my emails, put away all of the clean clothes, batch cooked for the next week, answered all of my friends back, ticked off my workouts, and sent all necessary birthday presents. I’d get there one day, all I had to do was just work harder.

Turns out – that’s crap.

One of the books that my course leaders recommended whatever chance they got, was Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. The subheading (always my favourite part of a book) is “Time Management for Mortals”. 

If I’m honest, I’d roll my eyes every time they sang its praises. Not because I didn’t believe that they’d found it helpful, but because I have my own issues with time management gurus as a mum, and I didn’t really fancy reading another book that just made me feel bad about myself for all the things I wasn’t doing. 

Turns out I was wrong.

It’s not another generic  “get up at 5 am and power through the day” guidebook. Essentially Burkeman spends his pages explaining how this mythical day we all cling to – the one when you finally have everything under control – is a lie. It’s never coming. And then he tells you that this is great news! 


Because it means you can choose.

“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.”

So, instead of berating myself when I get to the end of the day and there’s a whole shedload of stuff unfinished. 

I’m going to try to be kinder to myself. To focus on doing fewer things well, instead of spreading myself thinner than fancy cucumber sandwiches at the Ritz. 

Maybe the point of our lives isn’t to do more – but to enjoy more.

Don’t get me wrong, life can be pretty shit too, but that makes it even more important that I take the time to experience its wonder – you know – to balance it all out.

Anyway, that’s what my fancy American business course taught me…seems like a pretty good lesson for a few of us to learn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s