The Pressure To Do It All

You’ve been there…

  • It’s midnight and you’ve just gotten the day’s work off your mind when you hear the ping – an email.  You can’t help it, you’re drawn to respond and so you do.  You wake in the morning wondering why you’re always so tired.
  • One of the kids at your child’s daycare tests positive for COVID-19, shutting the whole facility down for the week and putting you on double duty as you try to juggle your responsibilities in the workplace with your responsibilities as a parent. By the end of the day, you’re drained but you keep pushing for more.
  • You take your aging parent to a doctor’s appointment, checking your email the whole time you’re there, half-listening as updates and directions are given, then rushing back to the office for an important meeting, only to be late. 
  • The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a dream vacation with your closest friends arises, but things are chaotic at work and you’re afraid and feel too guilty to ask for the time off.  The pain of saying no to your friends is only surpassed by ongoing regret you feel in the pit of your stomach. 
  • You joined a new fitness club with the best of intentions, but most of the time you feel too burnt out to participate or make the early morning sessions work.   

Jam packed days starting with exercise at 5am, grabbing coffee for breakfast, dropping the kids at school, online or in the office for work by 7:45am, working over lunch, then realizing you forgot to pack your kids lunch. Answering emails and chat message while trying to complete work tasks in between meetings, zoom call on mute while you take a walk to get some outside air, cram in an audiobook at 2x speed on your drive to pick up groceries & the kids from sports practice, get dinner ready, back to email, tidy up the house, catch an episode on Netflix and *maybe* 5-6 hours of sleep.  

This has become the new routine.  And it’s grueling.

With demands piling up on both sides of the work-life equation, you say yes to more and more things and before you know it, you’re living on auto-pilot with life happening to you while you’re left wondering what happened to the life you wanted to create for yourself.

This is life in the hustle culture.  It’s pervasive which makes it feel overwhelming, but the only reason hustle culture works is because we subscribe to it.  

The truth is, we all have a role to play in ending the do-it-all mindset, which means YOU have a role to play in this.  So where you do you start?  

Given the rat race we live in, it might sound counterintuitive, but you start taking back control of your life by stopping.  Stopping to think about how you’re feeling about your own life, being honest about what you want to get out of it, then taking small steps to create that life for yourself.

This week you might focus on accepting that there will always be something in your inbox or on your to-do list, then reminding yourself that not everything needs a response right away and not every box needs to be checked today. Next week, you might focus on questioning where you spend your time to see if there are things that keep you busy but don’t add value and start simplifying your life by saying no. The journey you choose is up to you.  The important part is getting started.