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"The real lesson," Burkeman writes, "is that it pays to use whatever freedom you do have over your schedule not to 'maximize your time' or 'optimize your day', in some vague way, but specifically to ringfence three or four hours of undisturbed focus (ideally when your energy levels are highest)."
You're going to get the vast majority of your important work done in the four most productive hours of your day no matter what you do. That's just how human brains work. Even Jeff Bezos only expects to manage three high-quality decisions each day .
So build your time management decisions around this 'Rule of 4.' Don't try to extend your core working time; you can't. And don't try to stretch it over eight (or more) distracted hours; that won't work either. Instead, pick you four golden four hours and protect them like a mama grizzly bear.
He goes on to list a distinguished list of thinkers, from Charles Darwin to Ingmar Bergman, who put in around this many hours of work a day. This might sound like a shockingly short work day, but it was no surprise to me. I have also previously covered the huge range of evidence from science, the biographies of geniuses, and even anthropology that pretty much proves our brains only have around four hours a day of work a day in them .
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