Reviewed – End Overwhelm Now: A Proven Process for Taking Control of Your Life

I came across this book as I was researching my own book about entrepreneurial overwhelm and burnout. This is a truly excellent book with lots of great strategies and ideas for ending overwhelm. The author’s premise is that overwhelm is created by our response to stress – and that we can make a different decision than going to the place of “I can’t do this.”

One of the gems was her 4-step process for organizing thoughts in a way that is empowering and encouraging problem solving. These questions are:

  1. What is the specific outcome you want to accomplish?
  2. Why do I want to complete this project?
  3. How will I achieve this outcome?
  4. When should this project be completed?

Answering these questions requires being specific about accomplishments, being willing to find help, reducing projects to small steps, and putting aside non-urgent projects. The author also writes a lot about changing your self-talk from “I’m so overwhelmed that I could die” to “I am empowered and have done difficult tasks in the past.” This is a wonderful empowering read that I’m sure will be of use to anyone experiencing overwhelm.

Reviewed: The Productivity Project

I listened to the audio version of this book and couldn’t have enjoyed it more. The book details the author’s one-year quest to become more productive. He identifies the three areas of life he needed to manage – time, attention and energy – and learned how to focus on his most important tasks. Although The Productivity Project is heavily based on research, his experience applying the concepts is both entertaining and informative.

One of the many things I learned from The Productivity Project is that we expect more of our future selves than we do of our current selves. This is why we believe that we can save for retirement, pay off debt or lose weight in the future, even if we can’t do it now.

The author’s experiments included some traditional productivity ideas – such as cutting out stimulants, improving hydration and getting regular exercise. Along the way he also tried more difficult experiments, including eating only soylent (powdered food) and trying to spend a week in isolation. This is a truly excellent and motivating book that would be especially helpful to entrepreneurs.

Reviewed: Making Peace with Your Adult Children

I read many parenting books when my children were young and figured I was done with this genre. Nope. I discovered there are challenges with adult children too, as I redefine my role from the all-powerful mother and they insist on living their own lives!

This book covers many aspects of parenting adults – from mundane problems (such as them not returning phone calls) to more difficult issues (such as substance abuse). The author uses lots of examples. She has a gentle tone and solid, do-able advice. She also describes situations from both the parent and the child’s perspective … so you gain some understanding of the pressures felt by your child. Dr. McCoy also describes how to frame your opinions so that they don’t sound critical.

Not only did this help me think about my relationship with my children, but it also helped to gain a new perspective on my relationship with my parents and in-laws. I think that this is an extremely valuable book for anyone who has adult children or is an adult seeking more understanding about their parents.

Reviewed: Look At You Now

This is a memoir of Liz’s experience after getting pregnant at age 17. A child of privilege, she was used to a good lifestyle (although things got slightly worse after her parents’ divorce). When her stepmother recognizes that Liz is pregnant, her mother decides to send Liz to a home for unwed mothers. This home turned out to be a locked facility that was run like a prison.

Liz’s mother invents a story about Liz being out of state because she is ill. She makes Liz promise not to disclose her pregnancy and only her mother, father, stepmother and boyfriend know where she is. She is told to spend her time, give up her baby for adoption, and move on with her life. Until writing this memoir, she kept the secret for 26 years.

I read this book at one sitting. The story fascinated me because it captured the perspective of an innocent, naive young lady who blindly followed her mom’s decisions. Although the other girls at the facility were from the foster care or criminal justice system, they were also young (one age 13) and unprepared for motherhood. I also found it interesting how Liz was thrust into such unfamiliar surroundings without family support – and that nobody in her previous life ever asked where she was.

I decided to share this book due to the current political debate around contraception. Look At You Now shows how unprepared these young women were to become mothers. Most of these young girls chose to keep their babies, despite the fact they were incarcerated, because of their need for love from their children. Look At You Now demonstrates the consequences of teen pregnancy and a teen mother’s need for support throughout the process.