Celeste Headlee: From Overwork To Well-Being: A New Path



According to the most recent statistics, 42 percent of the global workforce feels burned out at work today – a higher percentage than before or during the COVID pandemic.

The World Health Organization defines burnout as work related stress that produces feelings of exhaustion, negativity & cynicism related to a person’s job & an overall lack of engagement.

One consistent theme of this podcast is that taking steps to support employee well-being has become an essential leadership practice simply because how people feel at work, & about their work, proves to play an enormous role in their productivity.

In her uber-bestselling book, “Do Nothing: How To Break Away From Overworking, Overdoing & Underliving,” journalist Celeste Headlee suggests much of our stress may be self-imposed. It’s our relentless drive to be productive that ultimately undermines our well-being. Ironically, our constant focus on producing is really a false efficiency given the harm it does to our mental and physical health.

Headlee’s prescription to anyone who’s ever experienced burnout is perhaps counterintuitive. She encourages us to embrace moments of idleness, rest, and reflection. By taking time for ourselves without an agenda or profit motive, she says, we can redefine what truly matters.

Headlee’s book draws from history, neuroscience, social science, & even paleontology to challenge long-held assumptions about work, time use & hard work. It reveals that many of our habits are harmful & developed relatively recently in human history, which means they can all be broken.

In this conversation, we explore our our obsession with productivity and discuss ways of achieving a much healthier balance between doing and being. These include prioritizing rest, leisure, and investing time in meaningful connections. Surprising to some, by following Celeste’s guidance, you’ll actually end up achieving more.

If you’re interested in learning how you can better thrive in life – and in how you can support your own team’s flourishing, please listen in!

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.