Heading for burnout …stop breathe think!

Heading for burn out? Or already there?

On fire matchstick

Which are you, heading in this direction?

Even if you’ve arrived, it’s not to late to change your thoughts and feelings, and therefore behaviour to more meaningful, effective self management!

Patricia Panicker – unable to manage unexpected hiccups or events that threaten your organisation and planning for the day or the week.   Stop.  Breathe.  Think it through.  Good time management involves planning yes, but not always completing-finishing EVERYTHING on your To Do list TODAY!

Good time management accepts that your list is never ending, there is always something to do and tomorrow is soon enough!  List what you need to achieve today (urgent and important –top left, first), then move the next part of the list (right hand top corner!) and note down the important things you need to do but not necessarily here and now!   Then you get the list of things you need to do – in time, when you have the resources (including TIME!) and goals for the future.  Not urgent or important …yet!   Then the list of things you could:

  • Delegate
  • Let go of
  • Ignore
  • Pick up when the time is right in future – maybe!

Robin Rusher – always rushing from one thing to the next, multi-tasking (but perhaps not succeeding).   Does this make you feel needed, important or satisfied that you are doing so much?

But if it is moving you towards burn out (and it will in time), then it isn’t worth it – nor effective, even now.   So again, STOP.  Breathe. Think it through.  With this one though, time management for you means you need to complete something and THEN move on.   You just get others around you wound up, stressed when they can’t keep up with your thoughts (not necessarily your actions and achievements …) and this in turn will lead to you collapsing when you take time off.  Illness on holiday, stress because your body relaxes (even if your mind doesn’t), coming down from 100 mph to 20 mph in 1 days is stressful in itself!  Reduce your speed from 100 to 80 to 60 to 50, then slowly down to even just two days of 5 mph – breakfast, family, read or TV, stop and smell the roses, then sleep!  Yes, sleep.  Your mind is just as guilty of creating stress as the practical and physical actions you take.   Stop. Breathe.  Think.

Robin rusher

Rita Reservist – anxiety for Rita kicks in all the time.  When new people enter her comfort zone which is quite big to be honest!  New people mean new expectations, needs and engagement (even if that means avoidance which it might!).  So you never swich off.  Always looking over your shoulder and stay ahead – and away -whilst you can, looking forward so you can avoid them because you can’t manage the situation.  What you need is not time management but confidence – believing you can manage any situation, even new ones.  And people.  Learn techniques, practice in manageable chunks (2 minutes is fine!) and watch how other people engage.  If you have the tools, you can manage most situations.  The ones you can’t just set your heart racing, and heavier breathing – but manageably so!  Enjoy that up-feeling for once!

Anxious Annie – imagining your worst possible outcome stresses you before you even start!   But there is a new way to see this.  You are imagining the worst scenario but you can then you step back to the beginning, see the obstacles and plan for them.  You already STOP. Breathe. Think!

Thereby, you accept you can meet the challenges and move forward one step at a time.   You just need to step back, see the whole picture and then move forward on your planned path.  This way, you can see round corners, see the wood for the trees and tack your sails with the prevailing wind.  You are most likely the one most able to cope.  Only others see you as a pessimist – always looking on the dark side.  But you will be prepared with manageable stress responses, that as you move steadily along your path you overcome obstacles because you planned for them maybe!

Nigel Negative – negative thinking about yourself never helps.  We are sometimes our own worst enemy, putting ourselves down, doubting our abilities, believing that we don’t deserve the best things in life i.e. expecting the works to happen, and accepting it when it does.  This sort of pressure on top of the daily outside pressures won’t help anyone, least of all you!    Yes, we have doubts – that’s just a check, keeping humility, checking the bench marks we set ourselves; yes we might not know everything or be able to do it all – but are good enough!  We can all do some things better than others, we have got this far.    So when the negatives pop in, change those thoughts to maybe I can’t or didn’t – but I can change that; I have personal power to make the changes I need and want to make to get to where I want to be!  I can and I will.  Step by manageable step…and smile, and the world will smile with you! J

Oliver Obsessive – Never ending thoughts, ideas, challenges, checks, comparisons, expectations, standards, desires, hopes and dreams.  Yes, that’s you.   Miss Perfect, Mrs Never Ending Story, Ms I have to now! Or Mr I need to achieve maybe.   Either way, your mind doesn’t stop or even slow down.   There will always be ideas, always things to to, always some pressure.  So don’t add to it with the next step for next month, or even 5 years on!  Slow down.  Smell the roses.  Enjoy the journey.  Be mindful – think slowly, feel carefully, behave calmly.   You will benefit.  You will get more done – and last longer!   Obsessive may be who you are – someone who like to be active, creative, a doer maybe.

deckchairs by VuonoBut you have to slow down and, at times, just STOP.  Breathe.  Take time out to think or for you – just ‘to be’.   (Taosist philosophy says “Be still and flow like a great river” – that’s the creativity coming through the crowd of thoughts, ideas and demands.  That’s space for your brain to have worked it’s magic and found some solutions – but you have to stop to hear them!

Book time in your hectic schedule to just “Stop.  Listen. Hear” yourself – your heart, family and lifetime experiences.  Otherwise you forget something, everything …and even lose the treasure of memories later in your life!   So start building them now, build on what you have created and anticipate enjoyably what you will create in due course!

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is sleep”