Rise and grind.

Wake up. Hustle. Repeat.

We’ve all seen the memes. But is it the best way? And if not, why are we buying into it?

What is hustle culture?

It’s the standard set by our society that says you can only succeed by working constantly and the idea that taking a break equals laziness. The focus is more on being productive all the time, rather than what is being produced.

We’ve all had the boss who gives us the side eye for clocking out at five on the dot, you know, when we are supposed to, instead of staying late like the rest of the “go-getters” who may or may not actually be getting work done.

Why do we worship the hustle? There are a few reasons.

Fear. We work hard because we are afraid it will never be enough. That WE are not enough. Fear makes us hustle because we think if we don’t, we won’t get that big promotion or the competition will outpace us.

Lack of self worth. We link our worth to our work, so if we work more, then WE will be more. But we are not our work. We are much more than that.

It’s become normalized. Our brains are becoming accustomed to the constant state of working and the idea that hustle equals guaranteed success. After all, if the online gurus are saying it, it must be true, right?

We are becoming so acclimated to hustle that when we do try and take a break, a nap, a vacation (watch your mouth!), that we feel guilty and the attempt to rest is unsuccessful, or worse, we end up bringing our work with us.

What’s wrong with working hard?

There’s a big gap between being productive and grinding yourself into the ground. Working towards a goal and for a purpose is important, but we shouldn’t have to always feel like we are choosing work over everything else in order to succeed. Workdays can be productive AND restful.

Zoha Abbas, value-based business coach and creator of The Ownership Method, helps her clients build their businesses without burning out.

 “There’s a false idea that success is impossible without hustling,” Abbas says. “It becomes a trap that keeps you running in circles based on the lie that you’re actually going somewhere.”

Hustle culture is not productive or sustainable in the long run. What kind of work output do you think someone who is burnt out will have? It’s also toxic to our work cultures and has negative effects on our mental and physical well-being.

“It’s mentally, physically and emotionally draining and I’ve seen so many people become depressed and physically sick because of the pressure and stress of continuing to hustle,” Abbas explains.

What can we do differently?

What if I told you one way to be more productive is by taking a nap? Radical, right? Not really, and here’s why:

We need fuel to be productive and rest is fuel.

Take into consideration this productivity equation:

Did you know that some of the most common causes of work related stress are long hours, heavy workloads, and tight deadlines?

Stress really puts the kibosh on productivity.

You know what helps with stress? Being well rested.

So stress decreases productivity, and rest decreases stress, therefore rest increases productivity. Those algebra classes we took DID pay off!

“The more you can give yourself space and time to rest, dream and reconnect with yourself, the more you will find your own ways of creating success without hustling,” Abbas says.

Our brains resist rest because we are stuck in a hustle culture mentality. And it’s worse now because many of us wake up and we are literally AT WORK.

Work / life blend is important and not just to me, but to your team. For the first time in history there are 5 generations in the workforce simultaneously, with GenX and Millennials making up 68% of it.

Guess what motivates them? Quality of life aka work / life blend.

How can we work towards abolishing hustle culture within our organizations and workplaces?

  • Rethink how success is defined as an organization and COMMUNICATE those new definitions often. We can’t say we value “work/life balance” if we don’t define success as more than just performative workaholism.
  • Reward RESULTS not hours. Working 60 hours a week does not make you more productive. It increases the chances of burnout, mistakes, and apathy in the workplace.
  • Examine how your culture is perpetuating busyness, and work towards creating the opposite. Encourage mindfulness, slowing down, and quality over quantity instead. Build in rest into your work culture.

Because hustle culture has become so normalized, your brain will resist attempts at dismantling it. Do it anyway. We should not have to sacrifice our well-being and quality of life for a warped definition of success.

Now turn off the lights, would you? It’s nap time.