Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quietly Avoid Burnout

Want to quietly avoid burnout? Then create periods of quiet in order to think. This may be one of the more important actions you build into your life from here on.

We live in an extremely noisy world.  Most often people who describe themselves as in overload, a few steps removed from burnout, don't experience much quiet. Their lives are often busy, full of people, and quiet is usually a relatively scarce commodity.  You know what it's like going from one activity to the next throughout the day.  It doesn't afford much time for pause or reflection, and when it does, that is relatively short-lived.

Even if it seems quiet, it's often hard to turn the brain off.  It just seems to keep working.  We wake up and the brain is active, we go through a busy day with brain in high gear, we go to bed thinking and working through situations of the day.  And oftentimes we can't get to sleep because the mind keeps on working while we gaze anxiously at the time (sometimes measured in hours) go by on the bedside clock.

So how do we find time to be quiet?  It might not necessarily be easy, but we need to begin to make the effort to build quiet time into our lives. It's like anything else that's important, we'll find a way to do it.

Something you will have to get over right away is the thought that somehow you shouldn't be taking this time. You don't feel guilty about other important events that are scheduled into your work and life routine.  And you shouldn't feel guilty about this either.  Because it is during this time of quiet that you are going to begin taking, that you will make a decisive victory against overload and burnout.  You will have clearer thoughts about how to work, lead and live more effectively and productively.

This quiet time is extremely important.  It is as important as any other item on your calendar.  It needs to be treated like any other important engagement you might have. You might say that being quiet will be your first line drawn in the sand.

I’m going to ask something big of you right now. I want you to block out one or two consecutive hours during the week when you can have a period of quiet.  It is going to be a very purposeful quiet.  Put that on your scheduler.  Next I want you to block a full day sometime in the next month for a personal retreat.  And thereafter I want you to block out one full day for a quarterly retreat.

Don't worry, this time doesn’t need to cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.  Make them simple, purposeful times. You need to clear out the clutter of noise and activity and take some time to think about you. Write down or work with your coach on some penetrating questions you might want to ask yourself during that time. Then take lots of time to think through them.

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