Feel Like You’re Not Doing Enough? Read This.

Do you worry that there's always more you could or should be doing in life? Here’s what to do when you have the fear of not doing enough.

Do you ever feel like you’re completely overwhelmed with things to do, yet you’re still not doing enough? Maybe you thought you’d be further ahead in life than you are right now, or maybe you have this list in the back of your head of things you *should* be doing.

No matter what, whatever you’re doing doesn’t quite seem to be enough. Seeing other people’s successes can trigger this feeling of inadequacy. Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself can also cause this feeling that nothing is ever quite good enough.

Do you worry that there's always more you could or should be doing in life? Here’s what to do when you have the fear of not doing enough.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement in our lives, but it feels like a never-ending rat race when you’re constantly chasing the next thing. It’s overwhelming to feel like you need to do everything.

When you start to feel like you’re not doing enough, it’s easy to overwhelm yourself even more. Feeling like you should or could be doing more only puts more stress on your already heavy shoulders.

In this post, I’m sharing how I’ve been dealing with this feeling of not doing enough. You’ll also find some practical tips to counter this fear if you’ve been feeling the same way.

What Causes the Fear of Not Doing Enough?


Do you worry that there's always more you could or should be doing in life? Here’s what to do when you have the fear of not doing enough.

Pressure

Though I’m doing plenty, there’s always more I think I could or should be doing because there’s pressure to always be busy. This pressure can manifest itself from internal expectations you set for yourself, as well as those from the outside world, like work, society, relationships, etc.

Family members and friends who have good intentions might say things like, “You should be doing this” or “I saw this person doing this, you should try it too.”

Maybe you feel like you’re not getting any recognition for what you’re doing at work, so you start to think you’re doing something wrong or simply not doing enough. That pressure only adds to the weight of your to-do list.

Something I’ve learned is that I often overwhelm myself more than anything else. A simple check-in helps when I feel overwhelmed. I ask myself, “Am I the one causing this extra stress?” If the answer is yes, I take ownership of the issue and try to take things off my to-do list. If it’s caused by someone else, I ask myself, “How can I set better boundaries with this person or communicate my needs better?”

Related Post: 5 Tips To Pause Hustle Mode And Slow Down


Comparison

Another reason for feeling inadequate is the comparison game. I often feel like I’m not doing enough because I compare myself to other people. In reality, whatever I see from other people is a highlight reel, a curated version that they want me to see. That’s not necessarily bad because creating (even if it’s sharing your mundane daily life) is an art. Making life seem more interesting is an art. 

But I realize that I don’t often find myself comparing my life to my close friends and family. I think that’s because I see their successes, but I also see their struggles. It reminds me that we all have highs and lows.

When I find myself in the comparison trap, I remember that I’m not seeing the full picture of someone’s life. Whatever they’re doing does not affect how well I’m doing. In reality, they’re probably comparing themselves to someone else too.

Related Post: 5 Tips For Dealing With Your Inner Critic


Whatever you’re doing is enough. There is nothing more you have to add to your to-do list. Focus less on what you ‘should’ be doing and focus more on what you ‘need’ to be doing. You already know what that is deep down.


Perfectionism

Not feeling good enough can also come from perfectionism, even from the most mundane of things. I posted a quote on Instagram the other day and as soon as I’d posted it, I felt like it wasn’t any good. It was literally just a quote on a social media platform. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but I felt like there was something better I could have posted. Something more meaningful. Something more impactful. 

I have to remind myself that even the smallest thing can be meaningful. Having someone comment and say “I needed this reminder today” is enough. The simple act of me sharing something is enough. 

Sometimes I have to take a step back and remember that every little step is part of something bigger. Every little step we take contributes to our growth or our decline.

In the book, The Power of Focus, the authors talk about how everything in life is built on tiny little actions. Good friendships flourish from small efforts – sending a text, sharing a meme, or meeting up for coffee. Over time, these little things build a closer relationship. Other relationships dwindle because you stop texting, stop checking in, or get into an argument and don’t attempt to smooth it over.

Every little thing you’re doing is adding up to build something greater. This reminds me that the small things I’m doing- no matter how perfect or imperfect they are – actually are worthwhile. Whatever you’re doing is enough.

3 Tips For When You Feel Behind


Do you worry that there's always more you could or should be doing in life? Here’s what to do when you have the fear of not doing enough.

When you find yourself thinking “I’m not doing enough”, here are a few things that can help:

1. Stop making your to-do list so long. Do fewer things with intention.

When you’re working on a bunch of things at once, you might feel like you’re making progress, but divided attention makes it difficult to actually get ahead. Progress requires dedicated focus.

Stop overwhelming yourself and do fewer things extraordinarily well. If you’re thinking, ‘But there’s so much I could do…how do I know what to focus on?’ You know what you need to do deep down. You know what you could do, but what do you need to do? Ask yourself this question often.

There’s always something more that could be done, but it’s not always necessary. Focus on what’s necessary. Focus on what fits into the vision you have for your life, business, career, family, and health.

Related Post: Why You Need To Define Your Top Priorities In Life


2. Set realistic boundaries and expectations for yourself.

You cannot do everything. Be realistic with the amount of time and energy you have to dedicate to things. Whatever you’re doing is already enough.

If you feel like you’re behind, think of what you’ve already accomplished in the past year. Think of how you’ve changed and grown over the past five years.

Stop comparing your life to everyone else’s and set expectations you know that you can achieve, regardless of what other people think.

Related Post: 5 Ways To Say No & Stop Over-Committing Yourself


3. Track where your time goes.

If you often get to the end of the week and wonder whether you’ve accomplished anything, keep a log of what you do on a daily basis. I tracked my time for a week and saw that I was spending a lot of time on things that weren’t even important to me.

Evaluate your time and see where your efforts are going. You’re going to a) realize you’re doing more than you think and/or b) realize you’re spending your time in the wrong ways. If you think you’re spending it in the wrong ways, mindfully plan your schedule using time blocks based on your top priorities.

Related Post: How to Plan Your Daily Schedule For Success


Your Turn!

Think of one thing you’ve been putting consistent effort into lately. How does this add up to something bigger? If you feel like sharing, leave a comment with your answer below!

If you found this post helpful, bookmark or pin it for later so you can revisit it whenever you start to fear that you’re not doing enough.

Catherine Beard
Hi, I'm Catherine! I'm here to help you get out of your head so you can stress less and focus on what matters.

20 Comments

  1. Love this!! I shared it with a friend who’s feeling so pressured to do more, be more during a pandemic! She’s a newlywed, just had a major surgery, and is feeling stressed out because she lost her job during covid… this will be so helpful! 💙💙💙

    Thank you, have a blessed day!

  2. I have been comparing myself to others A LOT recently and feeling really down about myself. This post was super helpful and just what I needed! Thank you, Catherine!

  3. Wow! Thank you for this article. I find myself struggling with perfectionism and just feeling behind in general. I definitely need to slow down and remember that even the smallest things are meaningful. Do you happen to have an article that focuses on balancing work/school with down time?

  4. This past week all I’ve been doing is feeling like I’m not doing enough and trying to remind myself that it is but hearing it from someone else I think really helps solidify the positive-self talk I try to do on my own. Thank you for this post Catherine!

  5. Catherine,
    Thank you so much for this article. I loved it. In this season, it is definitely nice to have a reminder that I need to take a step back and take everything in and breathe first before I immediately start to panic. I constantly struggle with feeling like I am behind and that I am not doing enough or just in general feeling like I am not good enough. It is also nice to know I am not alone in this journey.

  6. You are so right, Catherine! Thank you for the reminder that getting a thousand things done in a day is not a mandatory requirement of life. I suffer from perfectionism and comparison the most, but everything you wrote was so relevant! It’s important for us to remember that we don’t have to listen to the world’s ideals in order to live a happy life. Thanks for the encouraging message!

  7. What you need to do vs what you could do…I hadn’t thought of it this way but that’s really helpful. My project slate was tossed in the air by quarantine and I’m struggling to reorganize things, set priorities, and focus on a goal.

  8. Comparison is a huge reason why we believe we are not enough or doing enough.
    If we didn’t compare our past self to our present self, or the present self to our future self, we wouldn’t have a reference point to compare “enough”.
    Not to mention comparing ourselves with other people that society perceives as “successful”, “enough”, or “worthy”.
    It is about being here and noticing that now is always enough.

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