What to do if you’re Overwhelmed or Burnt-out as a PTO Leader

What to Do When You're Overwhelmed or Nearing Burnout as a PTO/PTA Leader
Feeling overwhelmed or burnt-out as a PTO leader? You are for sure not alone. Read this to help you get out of the place you're in and to a better place mentally! Everyone feels this way at some point, and the key is figuring out how to stop it quickly so you can be an effective PTA leader or PTO leader and volunteer!

It’s kind of the nature of the PTO beast as a volunteer and/or leader.  At some point in time, you’re for sure going to feel overwhelmed.  And sometimes, you may even feel burnt-out.  And neither of the places is very fun to be in.  Here are some tips to get you out from feel overwhelmed and back to being slightly crispy, but not burnt.


Overwhelmed?  Here’s what to do!


Make a plan

When I feel overwhelmed it’s usually because I’m not sure what I should do next and I’m feeling utterly suffocated by the sheer number of things that seem like they need to be done now.  Like right now.  Sometimes I almost need to stay in this place of horrible discomfort because it help me to really get ready for and focus on what I need to do next.

When you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, take a few minutes to map out what the next few days of your life will look like.  Figure out when you’re going to have the time of everything that must be done.  Write down everything in a time slot.

When you can see what you have to do AND when you’re going to do it, nothing is left to chance.  All that’s left to do is to do what you’ve written down.

Cross off the stuff that doesn’t matter

Sometimes it’s great to live in wouldn’t-it-be-nice- land or the perfect scenario.  But most times, that just doesn’t match up to what can happen in real life.  Even when the most perfect of plans are created, a lot of times, there are some things that aren’t going to happen with the time you have left.

And sometimes these are things that aren’t necessary.  In these cases, it’s totally ok to cross things off of your to do list.

Again, focus on what needs to happen to make the event/task a success.  When you’re overwhelmed is not the time to be a perfectionist.  Your goal for mental sanity is just to make it through.

Procrastinate, only in a good way

Yes, I’m a productivity queen and here I am telling you to put something off until later.  And here’s why.  You can’t possibly get everything that’s on your to do list done all at once.  It’s impossible!  So take a good hard look at your list and see what you can out off until later.

Say, for example, you’re in charge of family events and the end-of-the-year staff appreciation luncheon (this is my situation currently, not a made up!).  Well, the end of the year luncheon can totally be put off until about a month out from the luncheon.  I don’t need to worry about that now.

So that’s what I mean by procrastinating.  It’s really more of doing what you need to get done for the very next event on the calendar.  And not jumping ahead to things that come later in time.  All out your planner and take a look at what’s up next on your hit list.  That event should be your focus right now.  Leave the other things for later.


Burnt-out?  Here is your game plan:


Have a Kit Kat

First and foremost, the a break, for Pete’s sake!  You are allowed not to be Super Volunteer of All Time and take a mental health break.  So don’t even go into school.

Drop your kiddo off and head to Target for some retail therapy or take a walk with your pooch. Eat some chocolate.  Do whatever is going to make you happy in the moment. Just don’t work on anything PTO related during this time.  Take a for real break, okay?.


Get help

Get yourself some help.  Not professional help, my dear!  There are many people who are probably willing to help you out with whatever your are feeling oh-so-done with.  I can bank on the fact that pretty much every PTO volunteer and leader has felt burnt out at some point in their volunteer career. Your friends will have your back and will pitch in.

And if they won’t?  Time to get new friends and/or take a look at what you can cut out.  Maybe it’s time for a change from the normal course.

One final solution: Get organized.

Nine times out of ten, you can get a handle on being overwhelmed by cutting the clutter and chaos from your life by getting just a bit organized.  Remember, in addition to being a PTA volunteer extraordinaire, I’m also a professional organizer!


complete organizing collection for PTA and PTO groups to get organized

And there’s just one planner for PTA/PTO leaders: The Complete PTA/PTO Organizing and Planning Collection.  It’ll give you way more than just a bit of organization and control.  In fact, the collection has seven laser focused solutions for Presidents, Treasurers, Room Parents, Membership chairs and Fundraising chairs.   Communication chairs and Parliamentarians will also find guidance!

I talked more about this subject in this video:

What to Do When You're Overwhelmed or Nearing Burnout as a PTO/PTA Leader
Watch and see if this resonates with you!

Over to you!

Do you have any other advice for burnt-out or overwhelmed PTO leaders?  Share below!


Scroll to top