One Tweak to Prevent Burnout

“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: 

  1. In how efficiently I work. My prep is going so much smoother and taking much less time!
  2. 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! 

7 Responses

  1. Thanks for this tip. I feel distracted, discouraged & swamped when I go into the bottomless pit of email. I agreed that it’s best to do something more productive when energy is highest. I’m trying to establish a habit of deep breathing while still in bed, then eating just enough to stave off hunger while I meditate, then gentle stretching.

  2. I had set some goals at the start of the new year and was ready, willing and able, until a real life challenge stopped me in my tracks and needed my full attention. I got through the challenge but then lacked motivation to restart. So I prayed about it. God reminded me that I had bought a stand up workstation and it was still in the box. I had made a goal to do less sitting in the new year. Last year I had become a couch potato and gained some weight and started getting lazy. Today, I read your email and it motivated me to restart/reset. I set up my stand up work desk and read my Bible Reading Plan. There were 2 verse that talked about getting up early and standing and serving God. (Exodus 8:20 and Exodus 9:13). I don’t believe that was coincidence. Your email gave me the kick in the pants I needed to reset. So thanks for sending it! Appreciatively, Regina Ross

  3. Thank you, Janice. Boy can I relate with this! I too easily get lured into trying to clear away some “small” tasks before getting into the tasks I really need and want to get after. But when I begin with the larger, more important tasks, everything seems to shift internally, I feel so much more peace, and I end up being more productive with both kinds of tasks! I needed your blog today. Thank you!

  4. This is such a simple tweak but so important. I resonate with that “bouncy and fatigued” brain feeling on days that are supposed to be all about deep work and creativity. I’m going to make this shift and see what difference it makes.

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