Prevent Burnout, Overwhelm: Keep Your Thoughts in the Present

Prevent Burnout

Can simple positive strategies help you to prevent burnout? How do you prevent yourself from going into overwhelm? How do you deal with the many stressors of an over-committed life? If you’re like most of my clients who are workaholics and over-achievers, then you’ve probably asked yourself these same questions. But is it possible to fuel your day with positive energy in the midst of all the chaos around you?

One simple positive strategy that can help you to prevent burnout and overwhelm is to keep your thoughts in the present. It doesn’t matter how stressful and chaotic your day is, the act of focusing on one thing at a time, even if you’re constantly being interrupted, can turn those distractions into a source of positive energy instead of stressing you out.

Let’s face it; busy productive people will face many distractions throughout a typical day. There’s the pile on your desk that you haven’t gotten to yet. There’s social media and all the digital distractions that come with being a smartphone user. If you work in an office with others, of course, there are also endless interruptions by coworkers, superiors or subordinates, and everybody’s need is always “urgent.”

And let’s not forget those of us who work from home. As a work-from-home entrepreneur, I usually face constant interruptions from my kids, no matter how hard I try to insulate my workspace from them. But while all these distractions and interruptions often tend to stress us out, the truth is, they don’t have to.

You can learn to respond to these stressors differently. In my new book, Energize Your Life, I write about the importance of developing self-awareness. Awareness of how you react or respond to your circumstances is the first step in reclaiming your power over them. From there you can learn simple ways to energize your lifestyle.

One simple positive strategy that I have found to be effective in developing self-awareness and preventing overwhelm (which helps to prevent burnout) is learning to focus on one thing at a time. Now this is very difficult, especially, when you’re being pulled in several directions at one. However, learning to keep your thoughts in the present is an effective tool to help prevent the many stressors of your day from overwhelming you.

How does it work?


Practice, practice, practice.

What are you thinking about right this moment? Yes, I know, you’re reading this post, but chances are you’ve also got other ideas percolating in your head. Or, how do you feel when you’re in the middle of something important and someone interrupts you? Do you secretly get angry and pissed at them? I used to.

However, I have come to realize that these negative reactions actually drain my positive energy faster. So instead of getting angry when my kids interrupt me, I simply stop, acknowledge them and shift my thoughts from what I was thinking about previously to give them my full engagement. Or if I really want to complete what I’m doing before being interrupted, I simply share that with them in a positive self-affirming way, without the negative charge.

As far as dealing with the feeling of overwhelm, the best way I find to do so is to write down all the things that I need to get done each day. I then spend a certain amount of focused time working on one thing only. If I need to do something else, I leave what I’m currently working on and switch to the next thing.

Sometimes my thoughts start jumping around to different things that I have to do, or people I need to call. Sounds familiar?

This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s naturally how our mind works. But the fact that I’m aware of it means that I can choose to bring my focus back to what I’m working on.

The same is true for you. By becoming aware of how your thoughts are jumping around, you can gently bring your focus back to your present task.

Ain’t it beautiful?

So as I wrote in my book, Energize Your Life, “awareness is the key.”

This simple positive strategy of keeping your thoughts in the present, even when you’re being interrupted, is a powerful tool to help prevent overwhelm, which ultimately leads to burnout. So to prevent burnout, first work on preventing yourself from getting too overwhelmed by your daily tasks. Another is to focus on your big vision.

Until next time, may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows.
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