The Lies that Bind Us (Part 1)

by | Apr 13, 2020 | Science! | 1 comment

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we cannot do it allLet’s be honest with each other for a moment. We cannot do it all. We certainly cannot do it all during this time. We thought we were doing it all before, but we weren’t.

And yet, the expectation is present. None of the routines we had down, the things we had planned, are happening now. Everyone is home, social distancing from others, and curbside pickup is the norm, and telework has become a real thing (I mean, it really could have been for a while now).

Our lives have changed. When we return to “normal” life, we still can’t do it all. Why do we try? Why have we convinced ourselves and each other that we can do it all? That we can have it all?

Fear Drives Us

I think it’s because we are afraid. We are so scared to let one of those things fall. Or that we will fail at one or many of them.

It is that fear and the lies we tell ourselves that are the glue that keeps the fear sticking to us. The fear perpetuates the belief that we can do everything because if one of us admits that we can’t do it all, then that means that the rest of us can’t do it, and that means that none of us can do it all.

Why is that bad? What’s wrong with getting less done when we live amid a swirling tornado of activity?

Times Are Changing

Now, we are in a time where one swirling tornado became multiple swirling tornadoes. Our lives have turned upside down in a matter of weeks. Life has become more challenging, and we are still juggling many things.

We lie to ourselves about what we can accomplish in one day, one hour, and so on. It never stops. The lies, fueled by the fear of admitting…defeat? Because we think we can do the impossible? And yet, faced with the truth, we still believe we can get it all done. Fear is a powerful force.


In Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book The ONE Thing, one of the lies we tell ourselves is multitasking. Unfortunately, I believe that it is the biggest one.

When was the last time you tried to do two things at once? Of course, I am not talking about walking and chewing gum, either.  I mean, accomplishing two tasks simultaneously?

It is not humanly possible. Computers can’t even do that. Although computers process things so quickly that it seems like they are, they are not. Everything that a computer does is consecutive.

Build Sequentially

Everything that we do should be sequential. One task builds on the next, and so on. If everything is sequential or should be, how do we adjust for that? We need to prioritize. That’s how.

To do that, you need to narrow your focus to the one thing you need to do that day. Get that done, and then move on to the next. You do not get to move on until you complete the first task.

Narrower your focus is not easy. It wasn’t easy before, and it is not easy now. Our lives have so many distractions that maintaining focus to get that one thing done feels impossible. It isn’t. I promise.

Doing that will make you feel much better about your day. You can say that you accomplished something, and that feels awesome. But remember, you cannot do it all.

Not Enough

I felt like I wasn’t going big enough when I started narrowing my focus. I thought that to make significant gains in my personal and business world. I had to have big tasks. And whatever I accomplished was never enough.

Which is another lie we tell ourselves, go big or go home, right? Wrong. To accomplish big things, you need to gain focus. I mean microscopic focus.

If you think it is too small, you are on the right track. Instead, have a big goal and break it into smaller, more manageable pieces.

It took me a long time to learn how to narrow my focus. I still have to work on it every single day.

Okay Not Doing It All

I am okay that I don’t get everything done. I am okay that I am not perfect. No one can get everything done, and no one is perfect. The pressures put on every one of us to be perfect is real. We are the worse perpetrators of ourselves.

I still struggle with that little voice telling me I can do everything. I have to say to that voice to shut it. I am not gentle about it, even though it is my voice.

I, for one, am tired of beating myself up, feeling run-down and angry. So join me in hopping off the hamster wheel of multitasking perfection. Let’s stop the cycle together.

Sharing this helps others realize they are not alone

1 Comment

  1. Pete Collins

    Great reminders. I am really working on going smaller with my focus. It is a daily struggle. I keep telling myself, “Think big, but go small”, but I still don’t think I go small enough. Always a work in progress, and that is ok. Thanks again for your great advice.


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