What to do when you can’t stop doing

What to do when you can’t stop doing

This is me doing provisioning for a superyacht of 25 crew and one billionaire. The inside of that van looks just like what’s in my head sometimes – a whole lot of baguettes and frozen salmon.

I’ve found a pattern in my clients (and myself).

We are all expert doers.

We do a lot of things. We’ve spent our life doing a lot of things. Those things usually get us places, but are they the places we want to get?

I sit down on the couch to relax for a minute and then I leap up immediately because something reminds me it needs to be done. When I’m ‘taking a break’ I make sure that I also eat and listen to a podcast at the same time so that no time is wasted.

If I set my mind to something, it gets DONE! Sure I procrastinate (a lot actually), but even my procrastination involves a lot of doing. If I’m not working on what I should be, I’m vacuuming or paying bills, or doing things with friends, or cutting the lawn with a pair of scissors.

We live in an age of doing.

Our lives are rammed full of Things To Do from the minute we wake up to the minute our head hits the pillow.

A million notifications from a million platforms remind us every minute that we are not keeping up. They add and add to our never ending stream of replies to write, emails to read, tabs to open, THINGS TO DO.

It’s bloody exhausting.

Yet when we get a minute to slow down and relax, we find that our mind is still four tasks ahead.

It can’t switch off.

Why do we do so many things?

I have a few theories. I think it often comes from an eagerness to please and impress people. Perhaps felt like we didn’t fit in when we were younger, (most of us didn’t, we just pretended to); we felt that we weren’t cool enough, pretty enough, whatever enough. But we knew we were good at doing. Good at doing well at exams or sport, or at being a leader, or at making a lot of friends.

So we all did a lot of these things (whatever those things were) because we didn’t know what else to do.

I did and did and did until I ticked box after box after box.

Exams, top marks, entrance to uni, scholarships, exams, top marks, a degree. Nothing brought me lasting satisfaction, so I kept on doing. I moved my focus towards travel-doing.

After realising that academic doing wasn’t doing it for me, I flew to Europe and backpacked my way solo around 12 countries and 40 cities in 3 months. I wasn’t travelling, I was doing more doing. And that same level of dissatisfaction followed me everywhere I ‘did’.

By the number of successful people coming to me and telling me their stories,

it seems that ‘doing’ isn’t the answer that we’re all looking for.

I also think that we use doing to distract ourselves from the fact that we don’t really know what we’re doing.

So we come to this point where we’re aware that our minds are really full from all the doing we’ve been doing, but we don’t have the tools to know what to DO with it.

For many of us, it leads us to alcohol or drugs. They help to shut off our overactive mind. And it feels pretty good.

So we go through the week all stressed out and wired with coffee and thoughts, and then we wind down at the weekend with a few too many wines.

But it doesn’t seem like a lasting solution, and it makes us feel worse in the long run.

So, what can we ‘do’ about this addiction to doing?

If the answer is not doing, then how do we undo?

Here’s a list of things that I’ve found to work:


Meditation is a tool you can use to learn to see what your mind is up to. When you can see it chattering away, you can start disengage from it so that you don’t get swept along in its bulldozer wake.

To start, I recommend that all my clients try out these apps:

1 Giant Mind

Both are epic, both will help you start learning meditation in a practical, simple way.

Download them both and give them a shot,

even if it feels like it’s not ‘doing’ anything,

perhaps remind yourself that doing is what got yourself into this mess in the first place!

If you want to talk more about how meditation and mindfulness will create you a Bloody Good Life in the most practical of practical ways (specially for people who are great at doing!), check this out.

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Happy undoing :D

Have you checked out our blog lately? I’ve written about overcoming procrastination, increasing confidence, and how not to lie awake at night thinking so much (among many other things)! Check out all our posts here.


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G'day, I'm Andrea

I'm a mindfulness facilitator and former cynical pessimist.

I used to be an awkward, pessimistic, overachiever.

Life looked good on the outside, but on the inside things were average.

I was indecisive, I didn't know what to do with my life, I self-sabotaged the hell out of my relationships.

I had a feeling I was going to keep f-ing things up for myself unless something radical changed.

The life handbrake-turn that followed over the next few years came as the result of learning what I now teach in my unconventional mind-taming program for indecisive overachievers - Bloody Good Life. Just practical, relatable techniques without any rainbow and butterfly jibber jabber.