"You're going to burnout..."
I've heard this so many times the past two years, and I get it, my lovely friends and family are just looking out for me. Often times, "You're going to burnout," is followed by them trying to give me beneficial advice to not do too much all at once and take time to chill the F*** out.
I heard this the other day from a near and dear friend and I couldn't help but laugh.. "You're going to burn out.." My response.. "Yeah but I haven't yet." So this got me thinking what things I have done to avoid the burn out in life with school and work, in fitness with nutrition and exercise, in relationships with long distance and family.
I'm the type of person that when there isn't enough room on my plate, I start stacking tall instead of wide. My Junior year of college I was working 25-30 hours per week while in school full time. My senior year I quit my job, started 2 part time jobs, one outsourcing for a bar, one as a research assistant & went to school full time, juggled with a long distance relationship, THEN decided to pick up a third hobby/job fitness coaching online. All while traveling to Texas, New York, Nicaragua and Washington for school and relationships. If those weren't the most hectic years of my life I would be surprised!
So now my response is, "Yeah but I haven't burnt out yet.." first, because my life now is calm compared to six months ago so I know I'm capable, second because if I do burn out, that doesn't mean I've failed it just means I get a bad cold, a migraine or need to sleep for two days which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.. and third it means that I obviously have a few tips I could share about how I can juggle so much all at once. I think I'm turning into a mad powerhouse who wakes up each day to GET SHIT DONE, which is definitely something I've learned/become from dodging the burnouts. So wherever you need this in life.. I think these tips will apply:
My personal tips to avoid "The Burnout"
1) Avoid the overwhelm: (prioritize): If you're starting from level 0 or what feels like -10 on your fitness journey, you likely don't even know where to start. You've seen all these diets, you see all these machines at the gym, you don't know what to get at the store etc. You're overwhelmed. Whether you're overwhelmed in your fitness journey or in school/work/relationships, write down your top tasks that are a no matter what, to accomplish daily.
For example, starting your fitness journey your priorities should be:
1) Eat healthy: (Step one) Seek out nutrition advice & get a plan customized to you.
2) Workout: (Step one) Find a program that will help you reach your goals & you enjoy doing
3) Motivation & support: Get your family on board and figure out your biggest motivator
With school/work/relationships your priorities may be:
1) Get my butt to class
2) Work (3-4 hours)
3) Homework (2-3 hours)
4) Call mom, sister, boyfriend (1 hour)
5) Workout (30 minutes)
SUPER SIMPLE but it's extremely important to write it down like this and check mark the tasks that are completed. I even like to give each task a time frame and set my timer to complete it. Otherwise, the minuscule tasks that aren't top priority will end up taking over most of your time, your day will be over before the most important things are completed and you'll be overwhelmed and behind all week.
2) Don't get bogged down: To get "bogged down" means to let the pile of tasks on your plate wear you down. It's a little different than overwhelm, it's past the point of anxiety. It's kind of like having so much to do you decide just not to do anything. I tend to get bogged down when my mind is coming up with all of these fun and creative ways to move my business forward, my days go by in what seems like 2 hours, and I feel like I've accomplished nothing. So, in order to not get bogged down with everything assigned in school, or your many goals on your fitness journey, make your list from step 1 THEN DO THESE:
1) Write an ongoing list of ideas and tasks that can wait. I typically write out my daily NO MATTER WHAT'S, then draw a dotted line and jot down all the extras that I can start on if I complete the days essential work. The list below the dotted line are things that can roll over to the next day if I don't get to them.
2) Look ahead.. but not too far. Make sure you know what's to come and you have it written down in a planner or on a calendar. Keeping due dates or your exercise schedule in your head will bogg you down and overwhelm you. Having tasks scheduled out and written down means they are out of your head which leaves more room for what's going on right now, instead of focusing on what's to come.
3) Visualization doesn't only have to happen in your head. Get a whiteboard or print out pictures that represent your daily tasks, your future goals, or day's to-do's. It's incredibly advantageous to your success having your lists in front of you and having your goals written down and viewable every day.
3) Environment: The things that surround you will either help you or be in the way. You are less likely to be stressed and overwhelmed if the environment in which you live, work, workout etc is clean and tidy. What's the point in keeping items you never use? My last two years of college I cleaned out my closet nearly every weekend. When I was feeling overwhelmed I'd clean and take trips to Goodwill. My senior year I had nothing but a yoga mat in my living room, no t.v, no clutter or extra stuff. I really think it helped me having the most essential items available and getting rid of everything else that got in the way or would cause clutter. So here are the top three steps to take for improving your environment:
1) If you haven't used it in over 6 months, get rid of it.
2) Ask yourself, can you live without it? Does this help move me forward?
3) Organize work space, workout area, drawers, MAKE YOUR BED.
So really all I had to say was: List your priorities, take note of your thoughts/ideas/tasks that can wait, and get organized to the extreme.