Why do we think we have to do everything ourselves?

It's a natural British phenomenon that we have an innate need to Do It Yourself.  And I don't just mean house maintenance. We think we should be brilliant at everything; Cordon Bleu cookery, a garden which looks like the Hampton Court flower show, perfect children's parties with home made center piece cake, an immaculate house out of House and Gardens magazine, a toned, beach perfect body......And back in the real world!  

We seem to be programmed to think that no one does it as well as we can.  And why pay someone else when we can do it ourselves more cheaply? Women in particular, in my personal experience, feel that they should be able to cope with everything in their lives; working, children, elderly parents, household tasks, keeping fit and having a social life.  But the sad reality is that there is no Superman or Superwoman, just tired and stressed people who feel guilty about not achieving their unrealistic, internally set expectations.

So what can we do to make our lives better?  Keep your expectations in check, making sure they are realistic and not based on some outdated ideal existence. Our pride in 'self-reliance' is a double edged sword, and can be self-limiting  Career success is highly correlated with time management, delegation and asking for help. We need to focus on what we are good at and enjoy.  If you hate housework and ironing or cutting the grass, delegate it to a cleaner or gardener.  If you'r rubbish at organising your paperwork and getting round to paying bills because you're too busy, outsource it to a Virtual Assistant.  If you don't have time to organise getting the boiler serviced and have to be in the office everyday, ask for help from a concierge.  In fact I could help you with any of the above!

Our busy lives mean that in the end something has to give. Being pulled in all directions makes you feel like you are a 'jack of all trades' but master of none, and can lead to burn out.  We need to tackle the root cause of our stress and ask for the help we need, without feeling guilty that we couldn't achieve everything ourselves.  By delegating the tasks which are boring, repetitive or that we find difficult, we can free up our time and use it to focus on the things which are most important to us.