Overwhelmed at Work and Home? You May Be Living on ‘Contaminated Time’


“There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”

“I’m crazy busy.”

“My to-do list is a mile long.”

If you’re like most Americans, you likely say one (or all) of the above statements on a regular basis.

A few years ago Brigid Schulte—a journalist for The Washington Post and a mother of two—did too. “I kept waking up in a panic at 4 A.M. worrying—not only about all of the stuff on my to-do list that I hadn’t done that day and how much more there was to do,” Schulte says, “but also whether I was missing my life even as I was living it.”

And then she started to wonder why she—and so many people she knew—was living this way. So like any good journalist, she started doing some research, which led her to write what she calls an “accidental book”: “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time.”

“It’s a journey to understand what happened to leisure in America—why I, like so many, felt so compelled to unthinkingly overwork and overparent and overdo,” she says. “And how I could begin to create time for what philosophers and psychologists say are the three great arenas that make for a good life: work, love and play.”

Since this balance is what everyone is seemingly searching for these days, we sat down with Schulte to find out more about trying to live a less overwhelmed life.