Have you experienced brain overload? It’s not pleasant. It happens when we are attending to many pressing needs. The brain has a limited capacity for focus, so when our plates are full – or overflowing – we mentally bounce from one issue to the next like unruly toddlers begging for behavioral boundaries.

It’s been a busy week. I’ve been getting ready for non-stop presentations scheduled between now and Labor Day, overhauling my website, dealing with product backorders and delayed postal deliveries, navigating flight changes, and taking precautions to stay healthy. [If I get Covid in the next 8 weeks, I will have to make some very unpleasant calls to clients.]

This is not a complaint. I love my work and feel blessed getting to do it. However, to keep up with everything, I need boundaries – not scheduling boundaries [though it would be helpful if I learned to say “no”] – I need attention boundaries. Simply put, I need to direct the focus of my brain, so it doesn’t continuously default to obsessing over my pressing needs.

Yesterday I cleaned out my closet. I folded, sorted, and FURminated one area of my clothes where our cat, Fiona, has taken up residence. And because my brain was concentrating on establishing order to closet chaos, it wasn’t wandering or perseverating. By directing my thoughts to the task at hand, they didn’t stray to other worries. Life slowed down for a bit, I got a clean closet, and Fiona got a fresh bedspace.

Just as kids need boundaries, so too do our brains. When stress levels rise and tasks get overwhelming, be intentional about providing the brain some direction. It’s not always easy to do, but the more we control the focus and pace of our thoughts, the less likely they will be to hijack and control us.