How to Prevent Overwhelm Before It Even Happens


We’ve all heard of the cliche, “prevention is better than cure.” It’s often applied to our physical health. But I’m sure you know by now that the principle has applications beyond avoiding sickness. It can be applied to finance, business, and even avoiding overwhelm.

The trick to the prevention of anything- may it be financial, physical, emotional or spiritual overwhelm- is proactivity. We can’t wait for things to happen before we start to move. Too many people are failing to avoid burnout simply because we’re not facing the problem head on. I know I’ve made that mistake multiple times.

Let’s face it- proactivity is not natural to us. As much as we want na advance tayo lahat mag-isip, it’s rarely the case. We tend to be reactive when it comes to a lot of things. And we then find ourselves caught in the same spiral of decadence.

But it’s not too late, friends. There’s always another chance. We have the choice to be proactive this time around. Here are four ways to make sure we nip overwhelm at the bud and fight it before it even happens.

Choose Your Battles

With this one practice alone, we can avoid a whole lot of overwhelm. Nowadays, there is never a lack of opportunity. We’ll always have open doors in front of us- job openings, business transactions, volunteer work and so on. But the secret is to choose your battles wisely.

It’s important that as much as we want to do a lot of things- travel, build an empire, help as many people as possible- we are finite and so is our time and so are our resources. We need to choose that which truly matters most to us. What work, tasks mean the most to you? What can you do that no one else can? The rest you can delegate, defer or even decline. There’ll be someone else called to do that.

Build Accountability

I am eternally grateful for the people in my life that always keep my life in balance and check. Primarily that would be Ces. She knows me well enough and is open enough to tell me when I’m doing too much. I just wished that I listened more. If I did I could have (and still can!) avoid a lot of overwhelm. Who can you count on to call you out when you’re doing too much? Is it a spouse, a parent, a friend, a business partner or a spiritual brother or sister? Find someone whom you can be accountable to.

Create a Strategy

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Some practical ways to build a strategy is to create a task management and calendar system. On top of that, you also need to be deliberate about how long you work and what you will work on when. And that strategy may vary and evolve as time goes by. It can be different for different people.

Not more than six months ago, my working schedule was spread out across varying times in the day. Recently it’s been between seven in the morning to five in the afternoon. The trick is not to be too rigid about your rules in the mid and long term but be strict when it comes to the tactical and short-term.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Some might want to write down their tasks while others might prefer it to be digital. Find the strategy that works best for you, but for your own sake please do keep a strategy and be consistent with it.

Get the right mindset

Last but not the least is the value of a proper mindset. All practices will mean nothing if our mindset is not right. Fighting overwhelm and desiring rest and balance starts with your values. Do you truly want rest and peace? Are you willing to say “no” to distractions?

It’s not just about complying with the Sabbath. The Sabbath rest is first and foremost a heart stance before it is a practice. Get the right Sabbath by valuing rest. Know that even when you don’t work, God is still working in your business, work, stock portfolio, relationships or ministry. He’s in control even when you aren’t.


  • Which of the four practices can you build this week? What are you going to do to establish a proactive strategy to fight overwhelm?
  • Do you have a system and strategy to keeping track of your days? Try searching online or through other resources for the one that works best for you.

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