Side hustles can change your life.
*Inserts huge caveat*
But don’t let the second word “hustle” fool you. Too much hustle leads to burnout, and burnout is stupid. Why? You’re a useless human when you’re burned out. How do I know? You’re speaking to the burnout king.
I once held the record in my 20s for 7 years without a single annual leave day.
“You’re lazy. Who takes holidays? LOL.” That person is dead. I don’t think like that anymore because it’s just not worth it.
Let’s not worship people who work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and think it’s cool. Instead, let’s make these activities below go viral.
A hard stop to the end of the workday
For many of us the workday is 24/7. Before I quit my job earlier in the year, I was getting invites to meetings at 11 pm on Saturdays. One of my bosses got angry at me.
“You missed an important meeting. You need to check your phone more often.”
The meeting I missed was due to our company getting hacked (publicly). There was no outcome to the meeting other than to restate the fact we got hacked. There was nothing I could do about it, as I can barely find the power button on my desktop computer.
On Monday I got the official correspondence and sent it to clients. Not one of them replied or cared, as expected. A company being hacked is like a natural disaster. Bad stuff happens.
From that moment on I set a further hard stop. No calls or emails after 6pm, and definitely no weekend meetings. People got the message.
When you switch off for the day turn off your devices. Being on call 24/7 stops your brain from relaxing and decompressing from the day’s events.
Mental health days
It’s no secret I endured severe mental illness. Later in my life mental health days became a thing. I embraced them. Co-workers called me a snowflake.
We’re not snowflakes for needing mental health days. A tired, frustrated brain is highly unproductive. It’s better to reset yourself and come back to your work fully recovered and a lot more productive. What looks like lost business profits because of free days off is actually higher company output in the long term.
Mental health days aren’t for snowflakes. They’re for smart, highly-effective, driven, action-orientated weapons of mass destruction.
Work that has meaning over work that pays a lot
Hustle culture encourages us to work hard for money. Screw that.
Work that has no meaning — other than to make a boatload of money — will burn you out faster. Humans are driven in the long term by why we do what we do, according to Simon Sinek.
The downside of meaningful work is it requires you to think more. You can’t think deeply when you’re brain is exploding from back-to-back meetings all day. So high-quality work needs rest, and mediocre work needs enormous amounts of time.
How you spend your time decides which category you fall in.
A busy calendar and a busy mind will destroy your ability to do great things in this world — Naval Ravikant
A minimum of 4 weeks holiday per year (8 weeks if you’re a badass)
Holidays are where you zone out. For many of us, holidays are where we jump on planes and travel the world. This might seem silly. It’s not.
When you travel to new countries you experience new cultures. That changes how you work and interact with others. If you want to be more relatable, and less like a hustling zombie, you need to get out there and meet people who are nothing like you.
A friend of mine took it a step further. When he got a promotion at a new company he sacrificed more money for 8 weeks of holidays a year instead of 4. Now that’s badass.
Time away from work enhances your work. Read that again.
8-hours sleep per night. Sleep-ins on Sundays.
The productivity snobs stay up until all hours of the night. They think it’s cool. Not really. Humans that don’t get enough sleep do damage to their bodies according to science.
Sleep is a productivity enhancer. When you wake up after a good night’s sleep, you’re on fire once you get going. When you wake up tired from not enough sleep, all you can think about is going back to bed.
Thoughts about going back to bed are a distraction worse than phone notifications that interrupt your workflow.
If you want to go to the next level then sleep in on Sundays. Give yourself a reward for a week full of hard work. Rewards like this are a form of motivation no amount of money can buy.
Have rewards to look forward to.
Work that generates outcomes over time worked
The amount of time you work doesn’t matter. That’s a factory worker concept that should have died with the industrial age.
We’re now in the internet age that has infinite leverage. Leverage means the number of hours you work doesn’t matter.
It’s the outcomes you achieve while you work that count. It’s the reason good copywriters can demand over $100,000 for a short email. The time it takes doesn’t matter. It’s the skill they’ve developed and their proof of work that attracts the fee.
Cliche (but true): work smarter not harder.
Friends over dead bodies
Hustle culture makes us see those around us as competition, like we’re all in some make-believe war and leaders are Generals. LOL. I once worked with a bad boss who believed this fantasy.
Those around you aren’t dead bodies you have to walk over to achieve results. Nope. They’re your friends.
Ask some of the top writers on this platform. They’ll tell you my motto: we rise by lifting each other up. That’s why I give away my best stuff for free and support those who have similar goals. I’m not interested in hoarding all the good stuff for myself. Maybe I’m stupid.
The best part about an online business is the friends you make in the process, not the money. Few people understand this and it leads them to focus on the wrong goals.
Make friends. Friends become collaborations. Friends help each other. Friends grow their results together. Friends don’t see jealously, only opportunities.
It all boils down to this
Hustling too hard leads to burnout. When you’re burned out you’re in a sh*tty mood. Sh*tty moods are highly unproductive.
I’ll leave you with this killer strategy from Eric Barker: “Think a little less about managing the work and a little more about managing your moods.”