How to give to others and avoid burning out

She’s a successful woman with lots of friends, a fulfilling career, a strong relationship and amazing friends. She’s the one everyone turns to, at work and at home. She knows everyone counts on her, and she wears this as a badge of honor. She gives freely to others, says yes to every invitation and takes on everything that’s asked of her.

She’s also exhausted, doesn’t sleep well anymore, has found herself procrastinating and knows she doesn’t feel as she used to.

This is where we started.

I need to stop procrastinating. I don’t know why I’m not able to get things done anymore.
Now, we could easily have gone into a system of organizing, color coding her calendar or setting an alarm for an hour earlier so she could tackle her to-do list without distraction. These things can help, but she’s a smart cookie, and she’d been there and done that. This wasn’t about lack of organization or needing a different time management system. This was about burn out.

So, we peeled back the layers a bit, much like you’d peel back the layers of an onion until you get to the sweet part that’s protected at the center.

“What do you do for fun?,” I asked, and although it might seem like a random question, this is where it got real.

It turns out fun was missing in her life. Despite all of the invitations and events, everything felt like work. Accepting all of the invites, even for social events, had pushed her to the point of burn out, because none of it excited her.

We explored this a bit and talked about the things that make her glow – the fun part of life. She loves amusement parks, but hadn’t been to one in years. She loves the water, but never makes the time to visit the beach.

The problem was never the procrastination. The procrastination was just a symptom. She had been giving so much to others that she neglected to give to herself. She lost her glow and it showed up as procrastination.

After a few weeks of integrating some fun back into her life, her glow returned. She felt reinvigorated and was again enjoying the commitments in her life. She didn’t have to stop giving to others, she simply had to ensure she gave to herself, first.

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