Hustle culture and its ethos of excessive productivity have become so normalized that their adverse effects go unnoticed. This constant and excessive pressure to work nonstop, "grind," and relentlessly chase success takes a toll. The keyword here is, “excessive.”
Though drive and ambition can be positive, the extreme hustle mentality is problematic. It pushes people to sacrifice vital components of wellbeing like rest, health, boundaries, and life balance. I mean, hustle culture is capitalist culture! Hustle culture props up capitalist goals by glorifying nonstop work, prizes over purpose, and wealth over health.
The “hustle & grind” mindset leaves people prone to quick burnout periods, decision fatigue, being less productive due to exhaustion, high levels of stress, and a myriad of anxiety symptoms. These symptoms are all common when rest and life balance are neglected.
Here are some tips we’ve gathered to help with the effects of hustle culture:
1. Find the root of your thought patterns.
Oftentimes we have an internal monologue (think inner voice) that runs through our thoughts when a situation triggers some feelings. Next time, try listening to those thoughts like they’re happening at a distance. Observe them non-judgmentally, as if they're happening externally. This mental separation lets you analyze them with more clarity, to objectively find the underlying roots behind it. Ask yourself the following questions:
What are the thoughts?
Why are they popping up?
Have you heard these before either from someone or from somewhere?
What is it about these thoughts that lets them sit in your mind?
2. Take a look at your goals, task lists, and how you spend your time.
The hustle culture effect tends to mean there is an over-accumulation of tasks and projects. List all of them out so that you can get a picture of where you spend your time. Sometimes having a visual can make it easier to see that there’s a little too much going on. From there changes can be made to create a schedule that keeps you, and your health in mind.
Another component worth addressing is time management. The push to constantly be working and turning every situation into something profitable creates a hectic and anxiety inducing schedule.
Here are some tips addressing how hustle culture affects time management:
3. Prioritize & organize your tasks.
Make a list of all of your tasks and projects. Assign them a category as either a necessary task (housework, work, rest, etc.) or as a goal (personal projects, side hustles, etc.). Take the goals and order them from most to least important.
Next, go through your necessary task list and write down how many hours each task takes per week. It can help to use a blank 7-day calendar so tasks can be recorded more accurately. Don’t forget to include time for rest, and full sleep hours. This should give you the basic framework of your week.
Based on your weekly calendar, add any blocks of time you would like to spend on your goals.
Remember to take some time to dig into any triggered thoughts that bring up that internal monologue that urges you to work around the clock. If you need some guided questions, feel free to run through the questions listed under Tip #1.
4. The Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a technique used to give structure to getting tasks done. What makes this technique particularly useful is its built in rest period.
Essentially for any task you are working on you spend 25 minutes focused on the task and 5-10 minutes taking a break. This lets your brain know that there is an end point, and a break coming up which should help with both procrastination and overworking.
5. Build rest into your schedule.
Yes, we’ve mentioned this in a few of the other tips, but it is worth its own bullet point space. Rest does so many good things for us such as:
Helps consolidate memory
Soothes the nervous system
Decreases anxiety, depression, and stress
Lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) in our body
Helps with muscle aches and pains
So, it might be a bit of a mind shift, but building rest into your schedule is actually productive and necessary for the long haul.
Scheduling self check-ins is also a useful strategy so that you can spend some conscious time mindfully seeing how you’ve been feeling.
Bonus tip: Include buffer zones in your schedule. Meaning add another 10-20% time block to each task so that when something goes over time or you hit a snag or you’re feeling under the weather, you’ve already accounted for that time. This can also help enforce any boundaries you’ve made to avoid the hustle culture burnout and anxieties.
Anxiety has a way of sneaking into various facets of our lives, and causing some discomfort. Learning some coping skills, and other ways to calm anxiety can make a world of difference. Soothe your nervous system and upgrade your mental health toolkit with the Reclaim Program:
The Reclaim Program is a 5-week, interactive online program, rooted in culturally responsive care, designed to give you the tools to overcome stress and anxiety and reclaim your mental health. Through interactive sessions rooted in elevating your lived identity, our program helps you calm your nervous system and quiet racing thoughts. Whether you're new to therapy or a lifelong convert, the Reclaim Program meets you where you are to help you feel grounded, re-energized and in control of your mental health.