It’s high time we end our fascination with the “grind”. With the market place having shifted so dramatically in the past few months, it seems like a perfect time to take a careful look at how we live and work and to ask ourselves better questions as we move forward.
For the past few years, the hustle and grind has become commonplace both in traditional corporate settings and in the entrepreneur space. Proponents of this culture wear their burnout like a badge of honor, only they usually haven’t admitted to the burnout part just yet.
With the 4am miracle mornings and the “always on the clock” selfies from the park as they take business calls when they’re supposed to be with their families, you can sometimes see the false posture of fulfillment right in their eyes.
“I’m up before you’re up and I’m still up hustling long after you’ve gone to bed” they proudly proclaim, not thinking people will notice as they post about adrenal gland fatigue a few short weeks later.
I think there’s a better way. I believe this because I’ve played the hustle game, got the burnout and don’t ever want to go back.
From my experience, there’s a time and place for hustle. Putting in a long day here and there isn’t bad as it can move stalled projects forward. The trouble is that the “here and there” becomes more and more frequent, especially if there are immediate and noticeable benefits.
Before long the hustle becomes the norm, families are neglected and quality declines. On the front end, we act like this is not the pattern thought we know very early on the way things will end.
The far better way, in my experience, is highly focused and very strategic uninterrupted work sessions with no distractions. During these periods which can be as short as fifteen minutes and as long as 2 hours, can often produce far better work and in greater volumes than the typical all-nighter or overtime work sessions.
The most important factor is that the work session be totally uninterrupted. There can be no buzzing cell phones, no messenger app interruptions, no knocks on office doors and no multitasking.
Once the work session starts, nothing can stop it save for fire, flood, tornados or other potentially life-threatening events. The focus session doesn’t stop until the time goes off. This type of work has been popularized by programs like the Pomodoro technique but we want to take it a few steps further.
Just like we start and stop the work sessions at precise times and give 100% focus, we need to be doing the same for our families and our own self care time. The anti-hustle doesn’t work if we neglect the things that we claim are most important to us.
To switch focus from the uber ego driven grind to the others focused anti-hustle is literally the key to happiness in an overworked and under rested work. I imagine a very small percentage of the world’s children will fondly remember how hard their parents hustled and a much larger percentage will happily celebrate how it made them feel to have their parents present and sharing life with them.
It’s time to show up for the things that will matter long term. Don’t worry, you’ll still get more than enough great work done to impact your world professionally.