race to stand still

To be so far behind in one's work that one must exert an effort similar to that needed to win a race in order simply not to fall even further behind.
"Could you review this book for us, Professor Brown?" the editor asked. "Unfortunately, no," the professor answered. "I'm so behind in my work that I am racing to stand still."
Categories: work {v. phr.}

'race to stand still' on video