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22 tips for 2022: If you want to succeed, choose your failures — in advance

Illustration of a sundial being tossed about on a stormy sea against a purple sky. In the shadow of the sundial is the silhouette of a person.
Minnie Phan for NPR

If you feel like you're always running behind on your task list and can never quite get enough done, it's probably because you've got too much to do.

Try strategic underachievement, or "choosing in advance what to fail at," says Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.

On a cyclical basis, take it easy on one aspect of your life. For example, if you know the next six months at work are going to be extra time consuming, give yourself a pass on keeping your home squeaky clean during that period.

Burkeman explains the strategy: "Instead of constantly feeling bad about yourself when you fail to do an impossible amount, give yourself some conscious grace and room for other things in your life."


Here's more on changing your relationship with the clock

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22 tips for 2022 is edited and curated by Dalia Mortada, Arielle Retting, Janet W. Lee, Beck Harlan, Beth Donovan and Meghan Keane. This tip comes from an episode of Life Kit hosted by Andee Tagle and produced by Clare Marie Schneider.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.