Hustle culture – a desirable or a toxic lifestyle?

We are living in a time when overwork is praised and people admire the “hustle and bustle”. Especially in today’s highly competitive and fast-paced lifestyle, hustle culture is becoming the norm for more and more people in the workforce.

The group of people that are most influenced by this lifestyle is no other than the Millennials themselves, specifically the fresh graduates and singles. It’s all about how busy they are, and how many million things they’re juggling at the same time. Hustle culture is sometimes even considered the standard for people as it is disguised as being productive or hard-working.

What is hustle culture?

Hustle culture means devoting as much of your time to working – hustling as possible. There is no break but constant working hours. Work is done anywhere you go: in the office, at home, at a coffee shop, or even when you are hanging out with your friends.

 “Fundamentally, hustle culture is about work dominating your time in such an unnatural way that we have no time to live our lives,” says Joe Ryle, the Director of the 4 Day Week Campaign.

Basically, you have no time for anything outside of work. Other aspects of your life such as hobbies, family time, and self-care often take a backseat. 

Hustle culture is harmful 

Hustle culture isn’t as great as it’s made out to be, and here are some of the reasons why:

1. It’s physically and mentally damaging

A number of scientific research have proved that overwork can have negative effects on your health and wellbeing. 

A 2017 research study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine revealed that working 61 to 70 hours a week increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 42%. Another study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine found that jobs with high demands and low personal control can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 45%.

Long-working hours elevate the risk of poor mental health, such as depressive symptoms, worsened emotional well-being, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. This leads to work disability and reduced quality of life. 

In a study by Mental Health Foundation, there is 1 in 6.8 people are experience mental health problems in the workplace.

>> Read more: Is it OK to take a nap during work hours?

2. It’s not really productive

Research has shown that increased stress levels lead to reduced professional productivity. In order to produce quality work, employees must achieve personal satisfaction rather than simply increase their workload. Data has also proven the positive relationship between wellbeing and productivity. 

According to Havard Business Review: “In organizations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time.”

Therefore, if workers are put in a constant state of stress, they will eventually fall behind at work, leading to low productivity. 

3. It’s actually tricking you

“The vast majority of people beating the drums of hustle-mania are not the people doing the actual work” said David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founder of Basecamp, a software company. The people who achieve the rewards for being swamped are not the hustler themselves, but rather their managers, and the owners of the companies they work for. 

Even if you are paid for overtime, will it make up for the stress and anxiety you got while working? How can you enjoy your work accomplishments when you don’t even have time for yourself? 

Hustle but better

Like machines that have their own maintenance time, we ourselves should spend time to recover from work and enjoy quality time also. The smart thing to do was not to work longer, but to work efficiently in less time. Therefore, we could have time to look back and enjoy our fruit of labor. So, what are better ways to get things done?

1. Work smart than work hard

Again, the best advice would be not to engage at work as many hours as possible but rather work smart. Reducing the time of accomplishing a task helps you to have more time to double-check and make sure of its quality. The more time you spend on one task the easy for your mind to wander off and it won’t do you any good.

Overwork isn’t the stepping stone for success, efficiency is. And imagine how much a business would save if people worked more efficiently, instead of lengthily. Just saving on overtime pay would be significant.

>> Read more: Time management: The key to happiness in the workplace

2. Embrace a work-life balance

Use your vacation time. Schedule an extra day off. Aim to work productively during your work hours, then leave the office behind. Spend your downtime with friends and family, and schedule time for exercise and hobbies. Anything but chasing a deadline or obsessing about work. 

Doing so will allow your mind to rest and recharge, and when you get back to work, your mind will be fresh and ready to come up with new and unique ideas. Creativity helps the organization develop and grow. According to research by IBM, creativity is the most crucial factor for a corporation’s future success. So the more creative workers are, the better.

3. Get support

We should never feel ashamed to ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness so don’t hesitate to seek out mentors, assistance, or advice. We all struggle, and we all need support. When you reach out for help, it often strengthens your relationships — both personal and professional. And that’s a good thing. 

>> Read more: Burnout – Who Should Take Action?

With all of these being said, not everyone realizes that they are a part of this toxic culture. However, working hard is not a bad thing. We should teach ourselves to do things smarter, not harder. That means knowing our limits, setting boundaries, and putting our well-being as a priority. 

The JobHopin Team