I haven’t been taking the time to do nothing lately. Even though the world has given me plenty of time to slow down, I’ve been stuck in a go-go-go mentality.
In our society, we’re taught that if we’re not being productive, we’re being lazy. This fear of laziness can affect our mindset towards relaxation without us even noticing it.
But if you don’t give yourself time to decompress, you’re more prone to burnout. The problem with burnout is that it negatively affects your creativity, motivation, and mindset – the things you need to do good work in the first place.
In this post, I’m sharing the negative side of the hustle mentality and practical tips to help you slow down without guilt.
What Is Hustle Mode?
Defining Hustle Mode
Justin Anderson defines hustle culture as “the belief that one must spend every waking moment fully exerting themselves to become successful.” If we’re not doing something…ANYTHING, we start to feel like we’re being lazy.
I’ve always tried to juggle a million things at once. Back in 2016, I was working a full-time job, getting my master’s degree, and blogging on the side. More recently in the past two years, I was trying to juggle my own business, contract work, and coaching a dance team.
There was a point when it all became too much. I thrive with variety in my work life, but not THAT much variety. I felt like I was constantly in hustle mode up until very recently.
At least in the U.S. where I live, there’s a huge emphasis on the hustle culture. I was talking to my friend recently who said her coworkers will email her at 10 pm. I remember one of my old coworkers used to send emails at 2 am.
Hustle culture is romanticized. We hear stories of people grinding late at night until their hard work finally pays off. We think we need to do the same and use it as inspiration, even when we’re struggling.
I’m all for creative energy, and I recognize that it comes in waves. Sometimes I stay up late doing work because I’m inspired, but it’s not part of my routine.
It’s rare to hear a success story that involves a solid balance between work and personal life. Instead of trying to mimic everyone else’s hustle, I think it’s important to try and achieve better levels of balance. I’d like to believe it’s possible to be successful without hustling yourself to the ground.
The Problem with Hustle Mode
Burnout is real and it affects your creativity, motivation, and mindset. If you’re in hustle mode, you might be making things more stressful for yourself because your mind is constantly in a state of overwhelm.
Hustle mode doesn’t give you much time for self-reflection or the opportunity to learn and implement new things.
There’s also the issue of feeling pressured to stay busy because other people are telling you to. Just because you have free time doesn’t mean you need to fill it to the brim with activities. There is beauty in slowing down and doing nothing.
During quarantine, you might have felt pressure to take on new hobbies and learn new skills. If you feel inclined to do that, that’s great. But if you feel called to relax, that’s what you should do.
I like what D’Shonda Brown said in this article: “I see classes, seminars and webinars galore about how to “properly” use your time during quarantine and how to keep yourself busy and productive. Truth be told, I think that’s the issue. We shouldn’t feel like we have to do something just because we can.”
Do you need to slow down?
One way to know that you’re stuck in hustle mode is if you feel useless when you’re not doing something. Do you feel guilty if you take a break or don’t get your to-do list done?
If you want to figure out if you’re overworking yourself, click here to find out if you might be dealing with burnout.
5 Tips To Pause and Slow Down
How do you counteract hustle mode? Here are some tips that have helped me to slow down:
1. Notice when you’re inspired by hustle culture
When you’re scrolling through Instagram or reading books for personal growth, notice if you feel inspired by someone’s hustle. It’s obviously not a bad thing to be inspired by other people working hard. But you also need to be smart about your strategy. It’s important to do things with intention, not just because you think they should be on your to-do list. Think about ways you could find a better balance between action and relaxation.
2. Check yourself when you think “I need to do more”
Where does this thought come from? Are you trying to prove something to someone? Realize that you don’t need to do EVERYTHING. You’re already doing enough. If you can train your mind to stop thinking you need to do more, you won’t feel as overwhelmed.
3. Adjust your daily routines
Create space in your day that separates your workday from personal time. Do something for yourself in the morning before jumping into emails first thing. At the end of the day, do something that signals it’s time to let go of work (take a bath, go for a walk, etc) and try not to do any work after that.
Related Post: How To Create A Daily Self-Care Routine
4. Schedule in blank time
Add a blank timeblock to your schedule at least once a week (better yet, once a day). You don’t have to include any particular tasks or plan it out to a T. Block it off and know that it’s your time to spend doing anything but work. Something that’s been helping me is taking a weekly tech detox every Sunday. On these days, I no longer check emails or do anything work-related, which has given me some much-needed balance in my life.
5. Journal it out
To better understand your relationship with hustle mode, you may need to dig deeper into your mindset around self-worth and productivity. Here are some journal prompts to write about:
- What about being productive makes you feel good? How do you feel if you’re not being productive?
- Who inspires you in the business/work world? What type of lifestyle do they lead?
- What would your ideal work-life balance look like?
- Do you feel like you need to DO something to be worthy? How are you worthy outside of work? How are you valuable in this world beyond your work?
New to journaling? Guide my Master Your Mindset Journaling Guide.
Do you have the hustle mentality? What needs to change so you can slow down?
I hope this post has encouraged you to step away from the hustle mentality or at least try to find a balance between being productive and letting yourself relax. Let me know in the comments if you can relate!
Love this. I can definitely relate to over committing; I too am a masters student who holds multiple jobs while trying to blog on the side. It is so hard to say no, but lately I have found myself taking time for me and it has been amazing. I love how you promote and validate slowing down, I think that is something people are typically given the guilt trip for but it’s important for our mental health. I also like your detox Sundays and I am going to give that a try. I have been trying to build my blog and I find myself on my laptop and phone for hours a day connecting with others and I worry I will get burnt out quickly. Again, great article and thank you for validating downtime.
Thank you Catherine for the post! I do not know where to start. First, yes, I can absolutely relate. One of my greatest fears in life is boredom. I, like you, am working 13 hour weekdays and in a masters program. I am also blogging but I will admit that it’s due to my Personal Branding class. A work-life bqlance, we preach it at work religiously but our actions say otherwise. In our society, I feel like said balance is promoted in retirement. It if you do it early in your career then you aren’t doing what “it” takes to be successful. Writing this comment may be the most relaxing thing I do this week ?
Catherine! Your writing is always fantastic and so informative!
I literally JUST wrote about this topic as well (as I had a Whoops! moment in the kitchen) and needed to learn to just press pause and slow down.
I absolutely love your points and your take on slowing down. Keep on being your wonderful, radiant soul!
This post is what I’ve been looking for without looking deeply! And those prompts are just amazing, I’ll hope I’ll manage to balance my life :)
Great tips! I’ve found that setting a “hustle schedule” helps. At the beginning of balancing my blog with my corporate 9-5, I constantly felt the pressure to fill all of my free time with my side hustle. This approach definitely leads to burnout and doesn’t make you any more successful. I now pick two mornings a week before work where I focus my energy on my side projects. Mornings are when I feel most creative and inspired. I allow myself to have weekends off from everything to recharge.
I’m guilty of the hustle mode. Last weekend I watched a black and white western in the middle of the day. Not my usual, but I needed a break. Good article Catherine.
This is a great post! Thanks for the tips. I am feeling overwhelmed lately with my business and this has helped me realize I need to give myself a break! Since the pandemic, I have been non-stop hustling at home. Thanks for the guidance and the reminder to just chill for a second ;)
Thank you for this post, Catherine. I keep rereading it just to remind myself to take it easy sometimes. With so much information and so many opportunities I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it all ?
Wow. I love this. Every other article I’ve been reading lately has been more on pushing yourself/ doing your best/ hustling. And it’s been overwhelming, tiring, and also depressing. Reading this has been relieving. Thank you for this. :)
I would also like to share this thing that keeps me relaxed or distracted whenever I feel anxiety coming up whenever I’m working all day. I use this massage gun https://tawapro.com/massage-gun/ that I got from a friend. I don’t know what it is but I think it keeps my blood pumping. I hope this can also be useful to other workaholics who spend a lot of time stuck in front of their computers :)
I personally still struggle with the little daily routine things. I love morning routines when I do them, but somehow don’t make them stick. They should be way more standard for me with online school and online business combined and the responsibility of keeping my mental health on track.
Such valuable tips! At the end of 2020 I was feeling so drained and tired of the system I had built for myself. It was a go-go-go attitude and I wasn’t taking my self-care seriously. I’m so glad I can now do that for myself. I want to take a weekly tech detox. I actually don’t do that and I think I’m going to make an effort to do so going forward.
I’m so glad this was helpful, Ilakkiya!
Excellent advice, thank you!
Thank you so much for your blog post! I was typing “why I feel like I am not doing enough when I am already doing a lot” on Google, and your blog post is popping up! I feel this now that I am not alone in this journey of these feelings. As a go-go-go mentality person, I need some pause as you said. I’ll take your suggestion and see how I can apply! God blessed your heart! <3