The past year has changed the way we work, especially with the shift to a virtual workforce. Personal and professional lives are now blended together with at-home offices. Technology has also made it possible to stay connected with each other 24/7; messages and emails come flooding in at any time and we feel inclined to respond, even if our workday has ended. Social media has also amplified the way we communicate. With hashtags such as #HustleHard and #RiseandGrind trending, we have succumbed to a mindset that promotes busyness as an ultimate win.

What is Hustle Culture?

Hustle Culture is a term that glorifies productivity and puts pressure on people to continuously be busy in order to be successful. This culture creates a workday that never truly ends. Whether it is having a fully booked schedule or constantly jet-setting off to back-to-back meetings, hustle culture is a mindset that promotes society to grind and exert ourselves at maximum capacity that matches the digital world around ourselves. It emphasizes that by constantly working harder and faster, we will be able to achieve our goals and fulfill our dreams, without needing to catch a break. 

Hustle culture has been echoed in our own lives and throughout the media. For example, Nike has released an ad campaign with the slogan, Rise and Grind. In addition, offices are beginning to adapt hustle culture into their physical spaces, such as WeWork, who has neon signs saying “Hustle Harder” plastered on the wall. When the message to continuously work harder is exaggerated in our daily lives, it becomes difficult to shake off the message. 

Being Busy vs Productive

Simply being busy does not equal productivity. An individual who is busy may have a dozen tasks on their to-do lists everyday with virtually no breaks in their schedule, but it may not equal productivity. This individual may feel overwhelmed with their workload that they are unable to complete their tasks at optimal effectiveness. Productivity is the act of completing a task – one does not have to be busy in order to be productive. 

In fact, being constantly busy can add up to a heightened amount of stress, which can lead to burnout, chronic fatigue or anxiety. Being overly busy can also negatively impact your interpersonal relationships; you could be too busy that you have no time to allocate towards fostering your relationships, or are exhausted from your own busy lifestyle that you have no energy to input towards your relationships. Overall, being busy has detrimental effects on both your emotional and physical health.  

Setting Boundaries - Golden Nugget
Setting Boundaries - Golden Nugget

Breaking Up with Being Busy

As being busy can have negative effects, it’s time to break up with being busy before it escalates into a bigger problem. Tune into your emotional intelligence (EQ) competencies for guidance on how to break the cycle of busyness. Below, we have highlighted three strategies on how to not fall victim to hustle culture, with help from your EQ competencies! 

1. Setting Boundaries

It’s time to start saying no – set your boundaries at work so you can set your personal limits and thresholds into place. For example, turn off your notifications for your work emails after hours, so you are not constantly checking your inbox once an email comes through. Setting your boundaries can help with your work-life balance; make sure you are not overworking yourself just for the sake of working. 

This is where your EQ competencies, assertiveness and self-regard come into play. Assertiveness is all about openly communicating your thoughts and defending your personal rights. By informing your team of your boundaries, they will be aware of what works best for you and be sure to not overstep your boundaries. In addition, self-regard is being confident and taking your own needs into consideration. Put yourself first and prioritize your emotional well-being by setting limits on how much time you devote to work. Know that by setting your boundaries, you are not being demanding, rather you are setting yourself up for success.  

2. Find Purpose and Meaning

With busy days ahead, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of living on autopilot. Are you just going through the motions of your everyday routine that each day feels the same? If you find yourself unmotivated and unhappy, it’s time to dig deeper to discover purpose and meaning within yourself. 

This is where competencies such as Independence and Self-Actualization will become your best friends. Break the habit of simply being busy, and declutter your calendar with tasks and events that give you energy. Independence is the ability to be self directed, free from emotional dependency. By being independent, you are comfortable in going against the grain; what you believe in may not be the popular choice, but you know that it is the best option for yourself. Self-actualization is the capability to find meaning and purpose to add value to your life. With these competencies by your side, you will be able to dive deep to find what truly matters and gives purpose in your life. 

3. Recharge Whenever Necessary

Lastly, find ways to recharge and tackle hustle culture. Instead of having no breaks in your day, start inserting breaks within your workday to refocus and take some time for yourself. You will come back refreshed and ready to take on your tasks, instead of feeling constantly drained from working non-stop. 

Use your EQ competencies – Emotional Self-Awareness and Emotional Expression to assist you with recharging. Emotional Self-Awareness is about acknowledging your emotions. By being self-aware, you will be able to take note of when you are in need of rejuvenation. In addition, Emotional Expression is the ability to openly express your feelings. Finding ways to express your emotions constructively can help you ease the tension associated with an overly busy lifestyle. For example, telling someone you trust about how you’re feeling or recording your thoughts in a journal can help alleviate your stress and anxiety. Remember, self care is not selfish, but is regularly required in order to unlock the best version of yourself. 

The Results of Breaking Up with Being Busy

When you break up with being busy, you will see impacts on your emotional well-being. Your emotional intelligence competencies will support you through this break-up, and as a result, your stress uplifts, your motivation increases, and your days become clear with purpose and intention. It’s time to squash the belief that being constantly busy is an ideal lifestyle. Instead, fall in love with a life centred around your values, with a schedule that works best for you. 

Are you feeling stuck and falling victim to hustle culture? Don’t worry – I am happy to chat with you to help you #GetUnstuck. You can book an appointment with me here

If you are interested in learning more about emotional intelligence, check out my Online Mastery class, where you will learn about all 15 emotional intelligence competencies.  

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