I feel so far behind

“Help! I’m So Far Behind!”

A rising tide lifts all ships

Dear Clare,

I feel so far behind. It’s barely January and I’m already panicking about how much time I’m wasting and yet I can’t seem to make anything happen. I have to-do lists a mile long. There’s one in my bag, one on my phone, one on the fridge, one stuck on the dashboard of my car. In the morning I say “I will do 10 things!” But somehow I work all day and the lists don’t get shorter.

It feels dumb but I will tell you the words in my head: I have these big dreams and this is supposed to be my year. I want to expand my jewelry business, starting with finding 20 beautiful stores to sell my necklaces to. I need to make more money, but every day it feels like time is just running away from me.

I’m so frustrated with myself. Why can’t I try harder? How do I get out of this panic?


Dear Breeze,

During lockdown, a herd of 122 wild goats with very big horns came down from the hills and roamed the streets of Llandudno.

That’s basically what’s happening in your head.

Thoughts are barging around, eating rosebushes and head-butting street signs.

You keep trying to round them up and restore order. Since you’re tired and panicked, and the goats are hungry and bewildered, all that’s happening is the streets are getting a lot muddier.

Look, you’re three kinds of broke but you don’t know it.

We tend to think money is the only currency in our lives but there are two more: time and energy.

You know you’ve got a money problem – that’s why you want to grow your jewellery business. But you’re also low on time and low on energy. All three are connected.

Fear gobbles time – and you’re definitely frightened.

When we’re gripped by fear, we’re designed to get up on the balls of our feet, ready to move at lightning speed. Creativity is booted out and replaced by emergency problem-solving.

Is the grizzly bear going to move left or right? Is the tiger about to pounce? Your experience of the world narrows to a tiny cone.

Humans may have split the atom, landed on the moon and made scintillating art at the fiery intersection of mortality and consciousness, but when we’re frightened all that exquisite machinery, the magical bits that let us FEEL STUFF and MAKE STUFF, shuts down.

Surviving is all that matters.

But there’s no bear or tiger here. The danger is time itself, passing by so fast. Which means the fear never goes away, and all you feel is white noise, so nothing you do seems to add up to anything.

Plus, you’re writing to-do lists like you’re immortal.

I did this myself for many years. You could’ve gift-wrapped an elephant with the list of things I intended to do on a normal Tuesday. It was bananas. But you know what?

I love this about us.

To write such long, long lists! To aim so high! To try so hard! To have such big brains and hearts that we look at the world, see infinite ways in which it could be better, and then proclaim I WILL DO IT ALL BEFORE LUNCHTIME.

I mean, lol. But it’s loveable too.

You’re not a god, though, Breeze, and 10 things a day is too many. You and I are the kind of people who really, really need a system that tells us what to think about and what to actually do with our energy. Freestyling goes very badly for us. This one and this one have helped me.

Also, a rising tide lifts all ships.

Expanding your business (money) will get easier when you’re moving slowly enough (time) to think straight and access your creativity (energy.)

One more thing.

Forget about this being your year. A year is a lifetime. It’s too big to work with. I know it’s January but don’t fall for our culture’s jittery stories about time and age and success. That’s all bollocks. There’s nothing for any of us there.

Instead, realise you can make time slow down, simply by observing the flight of a crisp packet as it blows past you in the street, or the exact fossil-grey colour of the sky.

Notice that, actually, you can stop trying so damn hard because you’re cool as you are, and quietly enjoy yourself instead.

Decide, in fact, that this is *your* day and soak up every shining second.

With every warm wish,


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