“You sound burned out.”
This was my friend’s comment after hearing me share about how inefficient my prep days had become.
This comment alarmed me. After all, my “brand” if you will, my strong plea to the world, the message of my book, is that JESUS DOESN’T WANT YOU TO BURN OUT. So how can the person who wrote a book about preventing this be experiencing it?
Well…here’s my self-examination, what I’m learning, and what I’m doing about it.
When I looked at myself more carefully, I realized that I felt a lot of vitality and energy alongside my frustration about inefficient prep days.
I concluded that I felt burned out with preparing for things but not burned out in my counseling or personal life.
But I imagined that more global burn-out would soon develop if I didn’t act fast.
2023 has meant a welcome adjustment to doing more speaking and training gigs because of putting Restore My Soul out into the world. But I haven’t gotten enough paid gigs to really be able to take more hours to create much more room for prep. What this has meant is that the days I keep clear of therapy sessions for prep are also filled with all the myriad chores of running a counseling practice, owning a business, and continuing to put content out into the world (like this email!).
So, I often spend the better part of what I thought would be thoughtful prep days doing lots and lots of small tasks leaving my brain feeling bouncy and fatigued. So…most of my prep would be done with my brain in that state. Not fun.
Here’s the change that I made that has made all the difference:
I no longer start my prep days by checking my email and to-do list. Instead, I start my prep day by working on the task that will require the most creativity, which is almost always prepping for an upcoming speaking or training event that means a great deal to me. I work on it until I’m either finished or at the point I intended to get to and then I tackle my email and to-do list.
It has made a huge, gigantic, and amazing difference:
- In how efficiently I work. My prep is going so much smoother and taking much less time!
- In how I feel. Now, instead of feeling irritated and discouraged, I’m experiencing the fulfillment that comes with working well on things that I feel are essentially mine to do…that are aligned with my sense of purpose.
And…. this prep day lesson lines up well with one of the messages I’m hoping to get out to the world: You can feel a lot better by making small, strategic changes in the way you take care of yourself. In this case, how I organize my prep days.
I hope that connects with many of you who might benefit from this simple tweak!