You’ve had those days, weeks or months…. Maybe even years. You know the ones I’m talking about too. A project deadline is looming or your side hustle is calling.You’ve worked a full day, but there’s always one more email to send, one more meeting to prepare for, one more case to write a brief for, one more patient whose notes need to be updated or one more report to wrap up. The next thing you know the entire office is deserted and it’s been dark for more than a while. It’s the pride of entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate execs alike… The hustle mentality.
Both Elon Musk and Marisa Mayer (Google, Yahoo, Lumi Labs) are both very outspoken that the secret to their successes have been working 120-130 hour work weeks, sleeping under the desks in their offices and not bothering to take breaks to eat or even use the restroom. Just to put it into perspective, there are 168 hours total in every 7 day period. With this information being very public and the fact that each of them have net worths that are quite enviable to say the least, you’re probably thinking you need to do the same thing in order to get ahead. But do you, though?
I’m going to go ahead and tell you that you don’t, but I’ll get more into why in just a minute.
What is the hustle mentality?
Gone are the days where it is lonely to be at the top burning the midnight oil… because everyone else is doing it too! It’s no longer merely the CEO’s and Entrepreneurs you see hustling all the time while never taking breaks to go to the bathroom or eat. This hustle mentality can be found everywhere from the Starbucks baristas working double shifts while going to school full time to the moms homeschooling multiple kids and running successful Multi-Level Marketing Companies and everywhere in between. My husband and I own and run multiple businesses and we’ve been here ourselves; most days working from before the sun came up until well after the sun went down again.
It’s become a badge of honor for there to no longer be a separation between your work you and your homelife you. You aren’t you, the ____________ by day and you, the _________________ by night anymore, you’re the first phrase all day, every day and twice on Sundays. You’re either expected to (also read choose to) be available at all hours, have projects done at breakneck pace, stop what you’re doing every single time an email comes through and in general work for the sake of working nearly 24 hours a day. All while you sacrifice your mental health, relationships, physical health and body composition while you do it. Do you think Elon and Marisa were treating their bodies like they wanted to be Warren Buffet’s age one day while they got no sleep and didn’t eat drink or pee for the sake of getting projects done? I wonder who was watching/ influencing/ playing with/ guiding and loving the 9 kids they have between them while they were sleeping under their desks at the office.
Why the hustle mentality isn’t moving your forward
The truth of the matter is that it’s been proven that you aren’t any more productive when you do that, nor are you more productive if you were to stay at the office like Musk and Mayers and work longer. I’m not saying outliers don’t exist, but I can personally testify to the fact that when I was working 15-17 hour days I wasn’t getting anything of consequence done in my businesses. John Pencavel studied worker productivity in 2014 and his findings showed that not only are workers no more productive working over 55 hours per week than they would be working less than that, but even the productivity shown between 50 hours per week and 55 hours week was marginal at best. What that means is that there is literally no point in you working yourself to death every day because you aren’t getting anything done that’s truly moving you and your team forward.
Think about it for a second. How many times have you worked a full 8 hour day only to come home and go straight back to work? Maybe you eat and put the kiddos to bed first, but then the next thing you know you’re back on your laptop tweaking a presentation, answering emails to put out fires in overseas portions of the company, tracking the progress of your teammates and stewing over important or difficult decisions that need to be made. Ok, now think about how productive you actually are in getting things done during that time? Are you half working half scrolling through social media? Are you truly engaged and present in those activities or are you merely going through the motions?
What the hustle mentality is actually doing to you.
More and more data is coming out every single day: 8 out of every 10 American’s considers themselves stressed, the World Health Organization has deemed stress to be a global health epidemic, 40% of people consider themselves more stressed than they were last year, 80-90% of the things doctors are seeing patients for every day are either a direct result of chronic stress or are made worse by chronic stress and the American Institute of Stress has named is America’s #1 health problem.
Even outside of what the data shows you can look to your own life to easily see if stress is playing a negative role in your life. Do you regularly experience headaches or stomach aches? Are you emotionally exhausted all the time? Are you wired and ready to go at 10 pm but lethargic, drained and require a 5 shot expresso to get going? Is your job performance suffering due to lack of motivation? Are you preoccupied while you are at work and can’t seem to mentally stay in the game? Are your relationships both in the office and out of the office suffering? Do you feel you have to say no to social engagements or miss things your kids are doing because of work? Have you stop making your health a priority and don’t eat, sleep or drink water?
I hate to break it to you, but none of those things are optimal and they definitely aren’t helping you feel good every day, keep chronic disease at bay, maintain a healthy weight or be killing it at work.
How to break the hustle mentality.
In order to break the cycle of hustle and how it’s holding you back, you’ve first got to become aware of where you’re holding yourself back in your normal work day. It’s time to have a come to Jesus meeting with yourself about where you’re spending your time (or losing it). If you are aware of where you’re spending (and losing) your time, you can also be aware of how to use that time more efficiently which, then lead you to accomplishing tasks more quickly and with more quality.
Next I want you to reignite a passion you have outside of your work. What are your hobbies? When was the last time you actually did one of your hobbies? A 2019 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that peop/e who lack meaning and purpose in their lives are at higher risk of disease or death. What are you passionate about? What is meaningful to you? Find those things out for yourself and then add them into your life. I promise you that regardless of your job title, you can and should take the time to bring activities into your life that create joy, meaning and purpose for you.
Then I want you to start focusing on how you’re treating your body. This means properly hydrating and getting half your body weight plus 15 in ounces of water every day. Create AM and PM routines that help you get organized to those transition times are more efficient, less stressful and allow you to get more sleep. You can’t crush the day if you’re tired and lacking energy. Next comes the food. Getting in more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and quality meat sources actually changes your internal physiology and when you are healthier inside, you’ll also be more present and productive in everything you do. Live the 80/20 rule with your food and keep the majority of what you eat in the quality department and then let yourself have some fun with your food sometimes.
None of what I’ve suggested is going to be easy for you, but I do promise it will be worth it. Changing your mentality from one of GO, GO, GO with little to now downtime to focusing on increasing your personal well- being is a big shift. Start with creating awareness and then begin chipping away at some healthier habits and some much needed time away from the office. You can have the best of both worlds and have a thriving, successful career AND maintain positive relationships and good health.
Pencavel, John H. (2014) : The Productivity of Working Hours, IZA Discussion Papers, No. 8129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn