7 Things I Learned from Reading “Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte

Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time” by Brigid Schulte is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It examines why so many of us feel so stressed and time-pressured and, more importantly, what we can do about it. Here are seven lessons I took from “Overwhelmed.”

"Overwhelmed" by Brigid Schulte expertly examines our hurried and conflicted lives and provides hard-won advice for us all
“Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte expertly examines our hurried and conflicted lives and provides hard-won advice for us all

Disclaimer: Schulte is a friend of mine, and we were both participants at recent White House Summit events. However, this article represents only my honest opinion; I received no compensation (never have, never will)- not even a free book!

With that, here are seven personal lessons that can help us feel less overwhelmed (The book also contains an analysis on how US culture, public policy, gender norms and corporate culture all contribute to “the Overwhelm,” but for now, let’s focus on things we can control):

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Fatherhood vs. Work Related Stress

This is a guest post written by Theron Bostic, and it originally appeared on his excellent blog Active Duty Dad. Theron is active-duty US military and an involved father of three.

Our guest bogger, Theron Bostic, runs the great Active Duty Dads bog and is one of America's heroes.
Our guest bogger, Theron Bostic, runs the great Active Duty Dad blog and is one of America’s heroes.

FWF is focused on helping fathers balance work and family, but I can’t imagine a tougher challenge to achieving this than being in our armed services. Between long deployments, forced moves, intense training, stressful work, a workplace culture of duty and an employer to whom one can’t legally say no- this is an enormous challenge. I salute Theron both for his service and for his efforts in balancing work and family. Theron’s blog offers a great perspective and reminds us that military dads sacrifice far more than most, and are true heroes.

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Being a Father Makes You Better at Your Job

A few years ago, I was in a big, fat stinking hurry for some thing that I am sure I thought was important at the time. Nick was just old enough to get his coat, hat, gloves and shoes on by himself, and I needed him to do so quickly or else we’d be late for the thing that was soooo super-important that now I can’t even remember what it was.

Thanks to Nick struggling to put on his winter coat, I learned a valuable lesson that helped me be a better father- and be more effective at work
Thanks to Nick struggling to put on his winter coat, I learned a valuable lesson that helped me be a better father- and be more effective at work

So, of course I see Nick presumably fooling around and taking his sweet time getting his jacket on. We’re running late. This thing is very important. We need to get going. So, I snap at him about his jacket.

He’s a great kid and I hardly ever raise my voice to him, so he is struck by my tone, and he sheepishly says that he can’t get his sleeve on. “Of course you can,” I bark at him as I start to shove his sleeve onto his arm. But his arm won’t go through- something was blocking the sleeve. That’s when I realized I had put his hat and gloves in his sleeve earlier that day.

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