What I’ve been reading: Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte

Overwhelmed_BookCoverI finally finished Overwhelmed: Work, Love, And Play When No One Has The Time by Brigid Schulte earlier this week. It had been on my to-read list for over a year, which feels about right given the subject matter.

I continued to align with the subject matter as I read the book. As I was going to bed, I checked my email one last time to discover that the ebook was finally available from the library. I set a reminder on my phone to remember to load the book onto my ereader at 6:15am the next morning so I could have it for my commute. When the library’s website wouldn’t work after multiple attempts, I went to make Flora’s lunch and came back to try to download it one more time. That’s when I missed my train and was late for work.

I spent several train trips home reading this book. I was visibly emotional more than once during the early parts of the book. I related to so much of what Ms Schulte was talking about: the fragmented bits of time (called Time Confetti), the feeling that nothing was truly getting done. The Overwhelm. My sadness turned to anger as I read – and related to – the data, stories and anecdotes spelling out what I’ve believed for a long time: the way we work – and by extension, live and play –  is wrong, and we can do better.

I was relieved when the end of the book didn’t end with big promises of a new life, if only you did the following three things. It didn’t read like a self-help book and it didn’t feel overly academic or dry. It was readable and relatable, which explains my occasional crying jag while reading it.

I am so grateful to Ms Schulte to writing such a thoughtful, readable book on something that is so close to my heart at this stage in my life. I am a serious fangirl of her work that I’ve seen and read online. I’m still working on how to apply what I’ve learned but isn’t that always a work in progress for all of us.

Here’s some further reading:



Sean went out last night. After I put Flora to bed, I had the evening to myself. There were a million things I could have done. Should have done. Instead I sat in my chair, had my dinner, watched TV, and played around online. A typical evening, productivity be damned.

I feel like I’m barely holding on to my life. Most nights after Flora goes to bed, I just want to sit and relax. Those few hours after her bedtime and before mine are the only hours I have complete control over my time. The only time in my day where no one wants anything significant from me.

My house looks like a bomb went off most of the time. Since we’re considering selling it in the next few months, I feel worse about the state of my home than I usually do. Sean has started decluttering his stuff (something he’s needed to do for years) and has begun organizing some general repairs we’ve been putting off. I’ve packed my books for storage in my mum’s basement but I’m having a hard time keeping up momentum to work through my decluttering.

There’s just so much to do. Going through our life’s accumulations to decide what comes with us and what gets passed on. Getting rid of enough stuff to make a trip to my local second-time-around shop worth the effort of packing it. I joke sometimes that I should just set the house on fire (with everyone out of it and safe of course). I know that is a horrible, irresponsible, hateful idea, but sometimes disaster feels better than actually doing the work.

Sean is the catalyst of this project. I am grateful that he doesn’t go into overwhelm like I do, but his methods are making me crazy. He has several half-finished decluttering jobs in progress throughout the house. I can’t work like that. I need to make a list, prioritize it and check the tasks off as I complete them one by one. The problem is I feel too overwhelmed to even make that list. My mental list is somewhat formulated, but I need to commit it to paper (or screen) so I can get the satisfaction of checking those tasks off when they are done.

My mum (bless her) has offered to come up and help us. It embarrasses me that I need that help. I know if I did a little bit each night, I’d make progress. I’m just so depleted by 8pm that I need to just decompress for a bit. Then when I’m finally relaxed, I don’t want to get up and start working again. I want to keep relaxing.

I need to figure something out because stuff needs to get done. What do you do?

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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