How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Always Behind

Even before COVID-19 happened and a lot of people had to start working from home, many of us felt like we were always behind. We had work to worry about…and a family…and don’t forget about that personal life you’re supposed to have. I mean, social media makes it look so easy. It’s easy to feel like you’re always behind…like you’re somehow failing at life. And that feeling doesn’t go away if you work from home. It doesn’t go away if you stop working from home, either. Both come with their own set of problems. Here’s how to stop feeling like you’re always behind.

Repeat After Me: I Cannot Do It All

Seriously. We need priorities for a reason. We only have 24 hours in a day. None of us can do it all. I am a big stickler for time management, but I am also a realist. You do have to come to terms with the fact that your decisions have consequences.

I had my first kid at 19. I didn’t go to college until I was in my late 20s. I didn’t come from money. I’m not rich. I don’t have a maid or a nanny. I wouldn’t want a nanny even if I could afford one. I have 24 hours in a day and one kid left at home. When I had more kids at home, I spent more time with my kids…not on social media…not out partying. I built my business in the mornings and at night when they were asleep. I couldn’t and don’t compare myself to people without children.

Besides, social media is just a highlight reel. You don’t see what goes on in their moment to moment life…not even on the “uncensored” or the ones who claim to “keep it real.”

Moral: Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Your story is your story. Your situation is your situation. But you have to examine your situation and set your priorities. And know your limits. You can’t do everything in a day. Be realistic or you will burn the fuck out.

Related: Unfuck Yourself: A Tough Love Essay on Self

Set Some Daily Priorities

You don’t need a to-do list that has a zillion things on it, especially if you have children at home. And if you have children at home that can help (and they can help unless they are babies or have the mental capacity of a baby; and that is not an insult. Many of my friends have children with serious developmental delays who have bodies of children and adolescents with the mental capacity of babies), let them help…some of you are control freaks and you’re going to turn your children into incompetent adults… Some of you are going to have to put your foot down and insist they help and lay down some age appropriate consequences and follow through so that you can raise some responsible humans. They don’t just wake up one day and become imbued with responsibility. Remember that last point of you can’t do it all?

WebMD has a list of age-appropriate chores for children. And, no, they do not need to be responsible for doing everything. They should have some responsibilities. My now-adult children did. Some things they were paid to do (to help encourage work ethic) and some things they were just expected to do.

Set daily priorities for yourself, too. And if you don’t meet your daily priorities, you are not a failure. I repeat, you are not a failure. There are some days that just don’t go as planned.

Now, if you get too many days in a row of not meeting your priorities, then you need to take a closer look at your priorities. Are you setting too many? Are they unrealistic for the season of your life? You have to be honest with the process in order to make it work for you.

But you’re still not a failure. And you won’t feel like your behind as long as you keep looking at your priorities and refining them.

Kick Perfectionism Out the Fucking Door

Hi, my name is Robin and I am a recovering perfectionist. I have my parents to thank for that deep seeded drive. I thought if I could be better, smarter, more talented then maybe they’d love me. Of course, now that I’m in my early 40s (yes, really) I know it wasn’t me. While I still like to give everything my best and I still love to learn, I do everything possible to kick perfectionism out the fucking door. Why? Because perfectionism will stop you from getting anything done. And then you’ll feel like you’re behind because you’ve not accomplished anything.

So whatever you do, take action every fucking day. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just take action.

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