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Why Hustle Culture isn’t peak productivity

Hustle culture: it's been on the rise for years, and more and more people are feeling the pressure to adopt it. But hustle culture - the process of working non-stop and abandoning all hopes of a work/life balance – simply isn't sustainable.

With more people than ever aspiring to be entrepreneurs, chronic workaholism has become startlingly romanticised, and those taking breaks often feel guilted on social media into putting in more hours. But hustle culture could be hazardous: damaging the health of those who adopt it, and seriously impacting the quality of their work.

When only work means success

It all links back to the big dream: rising from nothing, launching the next Facebook, and becoming fabulously wealthy and independent. It’s something we’ve all thought about, and we’ve all been taught success stems from hard work. But too much hard work seriously impacts the quality of our lives: 55% of Americans feel stressed and angry about their lives. Around half of US CEO’s suffer from insomnia and lack of sleep.

And hustling doesn’t just impact our rest: it encourages a no-exercise, no-relationships, no-holds-barred pursuit of glory that’s contributed to a whole new slew of lifestyle disorders and preventable conditions.

The saddest part? Most people working non-stop don’t even have a goal in mind: they just feel guilty whenever they even think about resting. If work = success, then meeting friends for coffee and indulging in the occasional sleep in becomes detrimental to the goal, even when it’s sorely needed. If we’re always choosing the hustle, we could be giving up the valuable things that ultimately contribute more to our happiness and well-being.

Working non-stop isn’t sustainable.

I’ve had weeks during which I’ve slept four hours a night and done nothing but work. Likely everyone has: there are always going to be times when we need to put in extra work, hit our targets, and just get it done. But, for me at least, the week after an intense work week is exhausting. I run at ½ productivity, and I genuinely need time to recover from what I’ve just put myself through.

The idea of those four-sleep-hour-weeks over and over and over doesn’t just sound unsustainable, it sounds impossible. It comes as no big surprise that where 7% of the general public deal with mental health disorders, 30% of business founders do (and 50% of those end up completely burnt out).

Hustling results in toxic competitiveness

A little workplace competition can help push your business forward: but too much of it, and you’ll end up with uncooperative, siloed employees who refuse to support one another or work in teams.

When employees start feeling the need to out-hustle each other, they burn out faster, feel increased stress, stop enjoying their work and become poorer teammates. With teamwork being essential to business success, too much competition can be a killer.

The bottom line?

If you want productive, satisfied employees: make sure they leave the office on time. The same goes for you; as business owners, we often have to put in extra hours, but it’s important we take time to decompress and enjoy the fruits of our hard work.

The goal shouldn’t be endless wok: it should be celebrating work well done, and rewarding those who take care of themselves and the business.

- Lena Klein

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