The little secret that no one talks about

The endless to-do list. Pages and pages of information to read. Not enough hours in the day. Falling into bed exhausted each evening with plenty left undone. We say we’re in the churn, swamped, overloaded, or underwater. We wonder when it’s going to end!

Unfortunately, this reality isn’t magically going to change. This pace and workload is endemic to the world we live in now. It’s structural to modern society, which is built on life on fast-forward. If you’re working for a startup or any company that’s scaling, it’s even more true.  

We might wish for it to be different, but this is the “new normal” for most of us. 

The benefit is that we are living in a time of tremendous change, growth, and advancement, made possible by superhuman technologies. The challenge is that within it, we are limited by a set of very real human constraints: time, sleep, and attention.

Ironically, most of us are secretly blaming ourselves for our inability to keep up. We don’t realize that “keeping up” is an impossible task. 

In other words, water is wet.

That’s the little secret that no one talks about: we harbor shame that we can’t handle everything that’s coming at us all the time. We are programmed to think that we are somehow inadequate and that it’s our fault. 

Indeed, nothing is further from the truth. There is a way for you to have enough time, energy, attention, and money to live a balanced, human-paced life.

You won’t get there by “keeping up”. Without healthy boundaries, clear communication, and leveraged systems, it’s nearly impossible. Without a cushion of time, energy, attention, and money you will be easily derailed by the sporadic but normal crises of life. 

As I heard a woman today say, “it seems unrealistic to say we would be completely unburdened. But perhaps not stretched too thin would be nice.” 

It’s rare when someone breaks through the illusion, but it can be done. We start by accepting there’s nothing wrong with us, and seeing clearly where the problem originates. 

Then get curious about what you have to do differently.  You’ll need to set boundaries, delegate, and build systems and structures that help you protect your time, energy, attention, and money. You’ll need to build in cushions: free time in your calendar, savings in your bank account, spaciousness in your attention, and resilience in your physical and mental health.  

Even knowing that balance is possible is a step in the right direction. The effort you make to realize it in your life is not futile. You can get there from where you are now.  

To your success,