Overworked and Overwhelmed | Scott Eblin

Summary of: Overworked and Overwhelmed
By: Scott Eblin

Introduction

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no surprise that many of us feel overworked and overwhelmed. In his book ‘Overworked and Overwhelmed,’ Scott Eblin delves into the reasons behind our increasingly hectic lives, from the economic downturn of 2008 to the rise of smartphone technology. The book not only identifies the causes of stress but also provides practical tools and strategies to help you beat stress and lead a more balanced life. The summary below will explore these ideas in more detail, touching upon the fight-or-flight response, mindfulness, establishing routines, physical movement, cognitive strategies, the importance of friendships, and the power of gratitude.

The Underlying Causes of Stress

Life has become increasingly stressful over the last decade, and there are numerous reasons for this. The economic crash of 2008 meant that many companies had to restructure their workloads with fewer staff members, resulting in individuals taking on more responsibilities. The launch of the smartphone, which quickly took over the world, has also played a significant role in increasing stress levels. Smartphones provide convenience and fun, but they also make us always available for work-related activities, resulting in an overwhelming 72-hour work week for some. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 33 percent of Americans experienced acute work-related stress in 2013, and 48 percent reported an increase in stress levels over the previous five years. Stress can negatively affect our health, leading to numerous trips to the doctor. However, there are solutions to beat stress, which will be explored in this book.

Combat Work Stress with Mindfulness

Do you get the urge to run away from work when it gets too much? This is a sign of work stress, triggering the “fight-or-flight” response, which can damage your health due to hormonal imbalances. The best solution is to practice mindfulness, focusing on breathing or meditation. Regular meditation can even shrink the amygdala responsible for activating stress. By learning to beat the stress response, we can improve our mental and physical wellbeing and plan our day better to minimize stress.

Long-term Strategies for Stress Reduction

There are quick fixes for stress, but the best way to minimize it is by developing a long-term anti-stress plan. One way to start is by creating a supportive daily work rhythm. For example, Hilton Hotels CEO Chris Nassetta wakes up at 5 am to have two hours to prepare for the day ahead. It allows him to think through his tasks without worrying about upcoming meetings, increasing his focus and productivity. Flexibility is also key, as you can adapt your expectations and schedule to fit family time whenever the chance presents itself.

The Power of Routines

Developing and sticking to routines can help boost productivity and happiness, both in personal and professional life. The key is to remember three words: cue, routine, and reward. By establishing cues that trigger specific routines and rewarding oneself with enjoyable activities, one can create healthy and efficient habits. Additionally, implementing feedback systems can improve professional relationships and increase team satisfaction. Doug’s story illustrates the power of taking feedback to heart and developing a mechanism to address the issue. By cultivating routines and feedback mechanisms, individuals can achieve fulfilling personal and professional lives.

Beat Work Stress with Exercise

Stress at work can take a toll on your health and productivity. While it’s easy to accept it as a part of life, the key to beating work-related stress is through exercise. Regular exercise, even if it’s rhythmic and repetitive like walking, jogging, cycling or yoga can significantly reduce stress. It helps eliminate stress hormones from the body, and the psychological effects of movement interrupt obsessive thoughts that go hand-in-hand with stress. According to professionals’ one-year study, exercising regularly on a treadmill enabled them to interact more, experience less stress, and increase productivity. However, exercise routines differ for everyone, so it’s essential to find what works for you. Opt for something you enjoy doing the most, be it walking, jogging with friends or developing an exercise routine in the office. Exercising regularly is the key to beating work-related stress, and it’s time to take action today.

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