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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lovegrove

Getting Off The Hamster Wheel

How often do you feel like you are stuck on the hamster wheel?

Do you think you're constantly working and completing tasks but not making meaningful progress toward your goals?

Are you struggling to achieve your desired outcomes but don't feel like you are making any headway at all?

If so, you're not alone. Many people face this challenge, leading to frustration, burnout, and stagnation in their personal or professional life. We're going to delve deeper into this common challenge and explore strategies to help you progress toward your goals.

Many people think that they are productive since they are busy. But activity does not equal accomplishment. Running on a treadmill might be good exercise, but you didn't get anywhere. Many people feel like they spend a lot of time and energy but don't make any real progress. They work long hours but don't feel like they have accomplished anything worthwhile. Only to come home and do the same thing. I have felt this way myself numerous times. Some people think if they can just do more activity, then the accomplishment will come. Pedaling faster is not usually the answer.

We all have a “Performance Gap.” The gap is the difference between what we know and could do, and what we consistently do. We all know things we could be doing that would improve our lives and our bank accounts. But we don’t do them consistently so we don’t get the results we could have. We know we should workout, we should eat healthy, we should spend more quality time with our partners. We all have areas we struggle in. The goal of this article is to give you some strategies and specific action steps to help start to shrink that gap. This is something I regularly help my clients with, and I created a great system to help you overcome it.

I'm sure you've heard of Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Musk is known for working incredibly long hours, often pushing himself to the point of exhaustion. He has been quoted as saying that he works 80-100 hours per week and even occasionally sleeps at his office.

However, despite his work ethic and drive, Musk has also faced challenges when making meaningful progress toward his goals. In 2018, Musk admitted feeling burned out and overwhelmed, and his behavior on social media led to concerns about his mental health.

To address these issues, Musk began to make changes to his work routine. He delegated more tasks to his team and took more time off to rest and recharge. He also began prioritizing his mental health, seeking therapy, and reducing his social media usage.

As a result of these changes, Musk has made progress toward his goals while also taking care of himself. He has continued pushing the boundaries of space exploration and sustainable energy while acknowledging the importance of finding a healthy work-life balance.

Musk's story is a reminder that even the most successful people can struggle with balancing activity and accomplishment. But by making intentional changes to their work routine and prioritizing their mental health, they can continue to achieve great things while also taking care of themselves.

Before we go any further, let's define what we mean by activity and accomplishment. Activity is the act of doing something, while accomplishment is achieving a desired outcome. The challenge is that we can get caught up in the busyness of our day-to-day tasks and lose sight of our priorities, leaving us feeling unfulfilled and overwhelmed.

So, how can we find the right balance between activity and accomplishment? Here are some strategies you can use:

  1. Set clear goals for yourself: Take the time to define what you want to achieve and make a plan for how you will get there. This will give you a sense of direction and help you focus on those needle-moving activities.

  2. Prioritize your time: Create a prioritized list of tasks and block out dedicated time to work on them in your calendar. Treat these blocks of time as appointments with your most important client. Delegate tasks that don't require your expertise to free up more time for high-value activities. Aim to spend at least 60 minutes daily on the most important tasks that will bring you closer to achieving your goals, and gradually increase that time as you progress.

  3. Reflect on your progress: Regularly take time to reflect on your accomplishments and celebrate your forward progress. Recognize and appreciate even the most minor wins along the way. Additionally, evaluate whether the activities you're engaged in are leading you closer or farther away from your goals. Adjust and course-correct as needed to stay on track.

  4. Take breaks: Remember the importance of regular breaks throughout the day to clear your mind and recharge your batteries. Thinking is an energy-intensive activity, and sustained effort without breaks can lead to exhaustion and diminished productivity. Incorporate moments of relaxation and recharge into your schedule to ensure you have the energy and focus to make meaningful progress.

Now, let's discuss what you can take right now to start taking control of your calendar. Get a piece of paper and a pen and spend a few minutes completing these action steps:

  1. Get clear on your goals: Take a moment to identify what you want to accomplish in the next 90 days. Make a list of two or three things that, if achieved, would significantly contribute to your overall goals for the year. Clarity is essential in guiding your actions and priorities.

  2. Delegate or delay tasks: Recognize your limited time and resources. Determine the tasks that can be delegated to others or postponed without impacting your progress. Calculate the value of your time and focus on activities that align with your expertise and significantly impact your goals.

  3. Ask the most valuable question: After completing a task and before moving on to the next one, consistently ask yourself, "What is the most valuable use of my time right now?" Take a few moments to reflect and consider the answer. This practice will help you avoid reacting to distractions and instead proactively choose actions that align with your priorities and move you forward.

By implementing these action steps and strategies, you can reclaim control of your calendar and find the right balance between making meaningful progress toward your goals and navigating the daily whirlwind of life.

Taking control of your calendar is crucial for achieving success and avoiding the hamster wheel effect. You must treat your time as a precious resource and prioritize it accordingly. Start by clarifying your goals, prioritizing your tasks, regularly reflecting on your progress, and remembering to take breaks to recharge. Happiness and fulfillment come not just from reaching your goals but from making continuous forward progress. Embrace the journey and enjoy the process.

If you found this article valuable, please share it with someone who think could benefit from it. For further exploration of time management, check out the 5 Keys of Success Podcast. If you're interested in closing your performance gap, we can help. I invite you to schedule a complimentary Discovery Session with me. Go to to find a convenient time slot. For additional resources and information, visit

Remember, it's time to take ownership of your time and pursue excellence!

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May 23rd 11:30am

Brian Lovegrove

Leadership Developer & Results Coach

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