Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

Roll Call After Dark Book of the Week: ‘Overwhelmed’ by Brigid Schulte

 Roll Call After Dark Book of the Week: Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte

Amid the clutter, try not to get “Overwhelmed.” (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

“I’m a work in progress myself,” Bridgid Schulte, the author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time,” says. The Washington Post scribe is well aware of the pressure people are under, because she lives the same D.C. vida loca.

“Different groups want to talk about different things. But the big things, everyone wants to talk about,” she says, singling out that “busyness is a huge thing people want to talk about.”

Schulte is quick to point out her book is not all doom and gloom, with busy people all ending up with smaller brains because they’re stressing themselves to death. She details bright spots both domestic and foreign, whether it’s flex-time at the Pentagon or a cultural watershed in Denmark.

She says the biggest change between the time she began the book and when she finished were her own expectations about what she could accomplish, what she could blow off and what she could share. “I’m still working on it,” she says.

What about life in Washington, D.C., where what she dubs the cycle of responsiveness is particularly acute? She encourages people to do their best to change the culture of where they work and how they live. If it’s not a situation where the culture can readily change, to consider changing oneself. This might mean some emails don’t get returned late at night, which is probably OK. Consider what’s a priority and what isn’t. Most of the time, expectations come from within, not a boss or spouse.

Perhaps we could all benefit from taking a page from another book, Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Rule No. 1, you may recall is simple: Don’t panic.

“I do take time to step out of the craziness,” Schulte says. “I really try to just be where I am.”

Sounds like a good Rule No. 2.

Schulte drops by the Roll Call Book Club on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Complimentary copies of the book are available first-come, first-served. Register for the event, sponsored by Hooks Books Events and Sprint, at roll.cl/schultebookclub.

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