Among entrepreneurs there’s a hustle culture. If you’ve spent any time on social media and blogs in the past, well, ever, you’ve definitely seen the headlines:
“The World Belongs to Those Who Hustle”
“Why Hustle is Essential to Success as an Entrepreneur”
“Why Hustle is Key to Career Success”
…to name a few. There’s an attitude of, if you’re not working 12 hour days, then you’re not working.
Honestly, I disagree with this sentiment completely. Working hard is important, yes, but continuously stretching yourself thinner and thinner to make ends meet is not the key to success. How do I know?
I was the hustler – I worked seven days a week and long hours. I thought if I was a martyr to my business I would be different and break through the crowd. I took on too much work and put my sanity on the line for bad-fit clients (my coach actually called me a “client hoarder”). I couldn’t let go, even when it felt like playing whack-a-mole trying to stamp out various fires all day every day.
My business stalled, I gained weight, and I wasn’t even serving my clients well—let alone my family. I physically shut down and was the shell of the entrepreneur I wanted to be. It’s time for entrepreneurs everywhere to walk away from the toxic hustle culture that pervades so many business spaces.
Stop Hustling Harder and Work Smarter Instead
Quite simply, hustling leads to burnout, and burnout doesn’t allow any of us to reach our full potential. I pose an alternative: working smarter. You and your business will be far better served if you work within your zone of genius and fuel your body and mind.
Working smarter means identifying and focusing on priorities. You don’t need to do everything all the time—less is more when it comes to creating a healthy work-life balance. In doing so, you’ll be able to put more effort into what you are doing and you’ll be amazed by the incredible results.
Another piece of advice that’s a key facet of working smarter is finishing what you start. We all hate busywork, so stop doing it. Focus on one project at a time and finish every project you start (when it’s worthwhile, of course). This is backed up by science, too – research shows that 98% of people focus best when working on a single task. For that very reason, I’m a huge proponent of task batching to get more done in less time, all without sacrificing the quality of your work.
The last thing I always tell myself is “done is better than perfect.” Rather than futzing for hours to make something absolutely perfect—and we know there’s no such thing as perfect—I’ve allowed myself to just finish things. Done is always better than perfect and it frees up more of your time to focus on your larger business goals.
How to Avoid Burnout
I’m in the process of course correcting from my hustle harder days. Where I used to work 12+ hour days, toiling away at my desk, now I set clear boundaries with myself and my clients. I shut down my computer when I’m not being productive. I set aside family time to be with my loved ones.
How do I accomplish this? Well, I’m outsourcing work I don’t want or need to do to experts. This enables me to focus on what I love without the stress of unappealing tasks. If you’re not used to outsourcing, or it’s not in your zone of genius, don’t sweat it! I’ve put together a brief guide on finding and hiring the right talent for your team.
Another way I’m taking work off my overflowing plate is by transitioning clients who are no longer serving me. Part of this involves really tuning into my ideal customer avatar (ICA) and actively pursuing relationships with clients and vendors that match that ICA. I’ll be watching closely for red flags as I’m considering new opportunities from now on, too.
I also spend time each day planting seeds and pulling weeds from my business. What that means is I complete one boring, uninteresting task (pulling weeds) and I plant one seed. When I plant a seed, this is a small action with huge growth potential. You don’t need to pull every weed and plant every seed in a day. But with small, consistent efforts towards the bigger picture, you’ll start to see massive changes.
Working smarter gives me peace of mind, makes my family happy, improves my client relationships, and helps my business grow the right way. If you’d like to learn how I help entrepreneurs like you grow their business without all the headaches, let’s get in touch.