Overwhelm and disconnection

Out and about, I meet a lot of people who are very overwhelmed in their work. Never quite being able to do it all; not quite knowing what tasks to focus on. And these are smart, really good hearted people.

Over time, I have started to notice a pattern. A lot of these overwhelmed people are also very disconnected. What I mean is that they are not plugged in to community. Via social media, via in-person relationships in their residential neighborhood or the neighborhood of their business, or both.

This isn’t necessarily related to introversion versus extroversion. There are ways for introverts to form networks and plug into community without having to be fake extroverts. Ask me how I know this <wink>.

Of course if a person feels overwhelmed they’re not exactly going to feel like reaching out to other people. That might just feel like another task on top of everything else that they’re already overwhelmed by.

The thing is to see community as essential. Plugging in is non-optional. Plugging in is what prevents overwhelmed, and I would venture to say that a lot of the people who were overwhelmed are overwhelmed because they are not plugging in.

People like that can be exhausting to deal with because they tend to know little or nothing about upcoming events, aligned organizations, or relevant local resources. I say exhausting because for those of us who are connectors, we feel obligated to keep them connected too because they are part of our network.

None of this post is to try to make anyone feel bad. And we all have our skill areas. And areas where we’re more willing to apply attention than others. That said, everybody needs community. And if you are overwhelmed, I will suggest to you today that you look to plug into your immediate neighbors, and follow your local social-media channels that announce events and resources.

There are a lot of you exhausted, goodhearted people out there trying to do great work for the planet. Get out of your own way: Plug in. It may seem like extra work at first but I promise you it will very much lighten your workload while also adding joy to your life.

Short list of easy ways to plug-in:


• Follow your city government’s Facebook page or Twitter account etc. (And if each department has its own account, you could follow those too if you like).

• Follow your neighborhood association / neighborhood watch’s Facebook page.

• Join NextDoor

• Sign up to get text alerts from your city government


• At the bare minimum, at least meet all of the neighbors adjacent to you. Ideally more.

• Same goes for a business, meet at least your immediate neighbors but ideally the whole street or whole block.

• Joy in your neighborhood association or neighborhood watch and attend the meetings. If you are a business, join your merchant’s district and attend the meetings.

— There are a lot more ways you can plug-in, but this is at least a start. You’ll reduce the workload on yourself and also on other people. And you might really meet some people you like!