Why “I Can’t Do Everything” is a Total Revelation for Me

Sometimes in life, we find something that completely changes our perspective.

Edward John
3 min readSep 28, 2022


Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik

I recently wrote this: Oliver Burkeman’s Time Management Advice is the Best I’ve Ever Heard.

Burkeman’s main point is that we cannot do everything, nor should we try. We should not always try to “get everything done” and clear our To Do lists. This is futile because there will always be more things to do. It’s a neverending hamster wheel.

Instead, it’s better to realise you are only one person with limited time on this planet. On average, you have about 4,000 weeks here. About a third of the time, you will be asleep, and in the final 500 weeks, you might not be in the best shape.

There will be many things you won’t have the time or energy for. So give up trying to do as much as possible, and focus on what’s most important.

This is a total revelation for me.

It completely reframes how I view so many areas of my life. It’s created a profound shift in how I view time and the tasks I fill it with. Not just with work but almost anything else I need to do or want to do.

For example:

On YouTube, I’m often adding new videos to my Watch Later list. That list now has 1,148 videos in it. I’m never going to watch all those. I’m not even going to watch 20% of them. I could delete them all, and it wouldn’t matter. If there’s something I need to watch a video about, I can search for it.

Similarly, sometimes my Medium reading list has become quite big. But I don’t have to read them all. Medium doesn’t offer cash prizes for reading everything in our reading lists.

Such lists are not tasks which I must complete. Instead, they are options from which I can choose a small number to watch or read. After all, what would I do if I watched all those videos and read all those articles? Look for more, of course. It’s neverending.

The same is true of almost anything I could spend my time doing.

The goal should NOT be to get through my entire list of possibilities. Instead, the…



Edward John

Winnie the Pooh enthusiast. edwardjohnwritesATgmailDOTcom