It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?
The constant hustle. The endless grind. The relentless push to overachieve.
Every other social media post seems to have some self-improvement quote floating over a well-dressed celebrity, hustle-guilting you into working harder.
They tell us to never stop, never surrender.
They tell us to wake up at 5 am, exercise, side-hustle for a few hours, then put in a full workday and side-some hustle some more before hitting the sack.
Just recently, this showed up in my Instagram feed – A quote by Dan Pena telling me that I’m “poor” because I don’t work 100 hours a week, skip vacations, ignore my wedding anniversaries, and push back Christmas.
Dan Pena, a business mogul worth $450 million does it. Other Internet celebrities do it. So shouldn’t you too? Isn’t this what it takes to drive your life to the next level?
Maybe so. But that’s not the world you want to live in.
Sure, $450 million sounds nice, but a 6 or 7 figure income would be just fine. Especially if it came with 8 hours of sleep, a happy family, and dedicated time for your passions.
It’s time we ignored the advice of those who live out of balance.
It’s time to kill the overwhelm, the constant hustle, the endless grind, and the relentless push to achieve more for the sake of more.
It’s time to learn a new way to hustle hard, stay productive, while still sleeping like a baby every night.
1. Get The Fundamentals Right First
If you don’t get the fundamentals right, you have nothing.
Big, hairy, audacious goals are great.
Make a million dollars. Write a book. Scale a mountain.
These goals inspire us to achieve more – to be more.
But without your family, immense wealth means little. Without a purpose, writing a book will be a grueling endeavor. And without your health, climbing Mount Everest will be next to impossible.
These things – your family, your purpose, your health, your finances, your spirituality – they are the fundamentals that you have to get right, before and above all else.
Ask yourself what you want to get out of life? How do you want to spend your time? What does “healthy” look like to you? What does success mean to you and your family?
Only when you have answers to these questions can you align your activities for maximum productivity and happiness.
2. Let The Wrong Things Get Out of Balance
To live a productive life, you have to let some things get out of balance. The wrong things.
It’s easy to say family is important, but it’s hard to let go at 5 o’clock and spend time with them. It’s common knowledge that your health should come first, but it’s hard to skip Netflix to make room for exercise.
When we try to balance everything equally in our life like a juggler spinning plates, we reach days end feeling like we were busy, but didn’t get anything done.
Some of your plates, the unimportant ones, need to fall.
Things like email, social media, and unnecessary meetings. These things keep us busy, but are distractions from work that matters.
Once you’ve brought focus to the fundamentals — the tasks that further your goals, improve your health, deepen your relationships, and expand your knowledge — get comfortable with letting the rest fall out of balance.
When you’re working on things that matter, everything else can drop and lay broken on the floor.
3. Compound Your Value Over Time
The surest way to move faster toward your goals is to compound your value over time.
Compound interest on a penny is almost magical.
Start with one penny, then double it daily. On day one, you have one cent. On day two you have two. On day three you have four. And on day 20, you have over 1 million.
Similarly, if you learn something new and useful to your goals, you’ll always operate at a higher, more knowledgeable level. Learn even more and you’ll move faster yet.
Over time, by continually learning and investing in yourself, you will compound your value exponentially.
Things that were once impossible will become the new norm.
4. Treat Your Work Like a Marathon
Whatever your effort, it must be sustainable.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Working 100-hour weeks may be approved by hustle-mongering Internet celebrities. It may even be necessary on occasion. But it’s not sustainable in the least.
Sprinting too hard for too long doesn’t lead to productivity, it leads to burnout. The time it takes to recover will set you back days, maybe weeks.
Hustling is not about burning the candle at both ends. Productivity isn’t about staying busy 24/7.
No, hustling and productivity are about taking action, working on what matters, and producing results consistently over time. So pace yourself.
You can’t produce results if you’re a burned-out mess worn ragged by overexertion.
5. Make Your Todo List Drop-Dead Simple
If you’re like me, your todo list grows faster than a magic beanstalk.
It’s not messy. It’s not complicated. It’s just long.
Whenever you have a free moment, you find yourself scanning it over, looking for something to do while in between tasks. Unfortunately, this is doing two things:
It’s killing your productivity.
It’s sapping your energy.
Every task you read becomes a decision point– should I do this or not? Every decision you make takes time and ever so slightly drains your willpower.
By the time you’ve reviewed 10 tasks, you’ve wasted valuable energy and minutes in your day. Not to mention, you’ve probably reviewed these 10 tasks a hundred times before.
So simplify your todo list by prioritizing it.
Give every task a due date and a priority (high, medium, and low is fine).
With a dated, prioritized task list, you will no longer suffer the fate of those who decide what to work on over and over.
You’ll look once, take action, and get $%@# done.
6. Harmonize Every Aspect of Your Life
Two singers in harmony is one of the most pleasing sounds to the human ear.
Two singers out of harmony is grating.
Similarly, allowing the different aspects of your life — work, religion, family, etc. — to influence other aspects of your life will give you a feeling of satisfaction like no other.
Where you can, harmonize your life.
That doesn’t mean work while at the family dinner table. It means let your children teach you how to be a better employee. It means let your spirituality teach you how to be more patient with your family and colleagues.
When you harmonize different aspects of your life, you will feel the energy from one carry through to the next. You will see how one activity can help you in another.
And, you’ll be getting more done with less effort.
7. Give Yourself Enough Energy
Some tasks give you energy.
Others drain it.
While 24 hours constrains everyones’ day, your energy level can mean the difference between crushing it or watching cat videos on YouTube.
Having enough energy starts with getting enough sleep and eating the right foods. From there, be aware of how your activities either recharge or drain you.
For us introverts, crowds sap our energy while time alone recharges it. For some, commuting to work gives them time for energy-building thoughts and ideas. For others, it sucks the life out.
Being aware of how you feel and what tasks give you energy (and what tasks don’t) allow you to maximize your day.
Everyone has administrivia that must get done. Weaving those routine, energy-sapping tasks between reinvigorating tasks will allow you to move through your day with ease, get more done than most, and still have time and energy for fun when the workday ends.
The Hustle-Guilt Ends Here
Despite what the Internet celebrities say, you’re not poor, and you never were.
They tried to hustle-guilt you with stories of how their 100-hour workweek, their skipped vacations, and their relentless grind earned them the posh, millionaires' life.
But you never needed the posh life. You never needed that kind of money to feel happy, successful, fulfilled. You just needed to stop the overwhelm.
And you can.
You just needed to find some balance to your day, having time to spend with friends and family and a bit of time to yourself.
It’s entirely possible.
You just wanted to get the fundamentals right; have a respectable work routine, improve your health, invest in your relationships, expand your side hustle, and grow your finances.
You can, you can, and you can.
Because, despite what the Internet tells you about being maximally productive, they don’t understand your needs, your desires, your dreams. Their advice is for the hustle-monger who doesn’t care about missing Christmas with their family or an anniversary with their spouse. They are dishing out a recipe for personal disaster.
So ignore them.
Ignore them and let the things that don’t matter get out of balance. Invest in yourself to compound your value over time. Harmonize the different aspects of your life and work on things that give you energy throughout the day.
Ultimately, by doing these things while remembering life is a marathon, not a sprint, you’ll have the motivation and energy to crush every day, work on what matters, and still sleep like a baby every night.
Ready to crush it?
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