Dear men - you cannot do it all, much less do it all in one day. Over my career I have worked with men who put in 10, 12, 14 hours at the office because they “have work to do”. Now it is true that on occasion a critical task needs to be completed by a hard deadline and extra hours may be required. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about men who put in long hours completing non-essential tasks, things that easily could wait until the next business day. They sacrifice quality time with their friends and their families to satisfy some self-imposed deadline.
I’m talking about men who have partners and still shoulder all the responsibilities around the house. They take the world upon their shoulders because they believe either they have to do it all or they don’t trust anyone to take care of these things.
You can’t do it all, nor should you.
Too often we place artificial deadlines on ourselves in an attempt to impress others: our bosses, our coworkers, our spouses, so we burn the midnight oil to meet a deadline nobody has set. In doing so, we’re sacrificing time with those we love, time that could be spent doing things we enjoy, or even time just resting.
Instead, we are creating unnecessary stress and imaginary expectations for ourselves leading to the inevitable feeling of disappointment when we don’t meet these arbitrary deadlines.
That leaves me with one question.
Why the fuck would you do that to yourself?
When stripped bare, it comes down to one thing...setting your priorities.
One of the simplest ways to set priorities is to make a to-do list. Me, I’m a list guy. Having all the tasks I need to accomplished written out helps me do three things:
- Determine order of importance
- Keep on track
- Check progress
Additionally, having a list means you don’t have to keep it all in your head. When you stuff your brain full with your to-do list, the longer it gets, the harder it is to remember, and the more stress you feel because you’re ‘afraid of forgetting something’.
Write it down. Use a small notepad, use the memo feature on your phone, or even hang a whiteboard in a place where you can see it.
All of these can help you remember what you need to get done, keep track of your progress, and re-prioritize things as needed.
Focus On Your Legacy
In the end it's not satisfying these mostly arbitrary deadlines that people will remember about you.
It's how you made them feel.
Did you make them feel important or did work get in the way?
Did you show others how much they meant to you, or did you stay late at the office too many times?
Did you reach out for help, allowing others to feel needed and assist you, or did you do it all alone, leaving them out and resenting them for standing by?
Rome wasn't built in a day.
It was built over years and years and today, thousands of years later, what was built is still standing.
Build a legacy that echoes throughout time.