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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

Do I Ever Get Overworked and Overwhelmed?

Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com

One of the interesting things that happens when you launch a book is you do a lot of interviews about the book. I’ve been doing a lot of those lately as the official publication date of Monday, October 13 approaches for my new book, Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative.

In an interview for a radio show last week, the host asked me, “Do you ever get overworked and overwhelmed?” My answer was immediate and clear -- “Yes, absolutely!”

If you live in today’s do-more-with-less, hyperconnected world, you can’t avoid feeling overworked and overwhelmed at least some of the time. I live in the same world that you do and it happens to me too. That’s been especially true this past month or so as I’ve been carrying my normal load of work with clients and getting ready to launch the book. It’s like two full-time jobs.

So, yeah, I get overworked and overwhelmed too. The difference for me over the past few years is I recognize earlier when I feel that way and know what to do about it when I recognize the feeling.

Because that’s all overworked and overwhelmed is -- it’s a feeling. It’s not a real, tangible thing; it’s your mind’s and your body’s response to the things that are happening around you. If there’s too much coming in or you start worrying a lot about whether or not you’re going to get everything done, you start feeling overworked and overwhelmed. Your body goes into fight-or-flight overdrive and your brain freezes up. If you recognize that feeling you can do something about it. That something is to take a quick break to go do something that activates your rest-and-digest response.

For instance, last week I was trying to write what was probably my 10th guest blog post of the week. I was sitting in front of my computer not feeling it and stressing out about not being able to concentrate and write. The good news is that I recognized the feeling of being overworked and overwhelmed. Instead of sitting there for an hour trying to grind something out, I decided to go for a walk. Twenty minutes of the rhythm of walking did the trick. When I got back to my desk, I finished the post in about 20 minutes.

What I’m trying to do in this book is help you learn how to use the mindfulness alternative so you too can feel less overworked and overwhelmed. I hope you’ll find some immediate takeaways that are easy for you to do and that will make a big difference in helping you show up at your best.

(Image via Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com)


Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

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