Hustle is good right? That’s how things get done. Those who hustle are the ones that succeed. People hustle in their 9-5 jobs. Then they have their side-hustle. Employees hustle to keep their boss happy. And entrepreneurs hustle to get the clients in the door. Hustle—it’s what we do, right?
The truth is, hustle really isn’t a black or white idea. The answer isn’t all or nothing. Hustle, itself, is not good or bad.
That might not be what you were expecting to hear. You may be thinking I’m crazy. Or you may be feeling relieved because you’re exhausted, burnt out, and just want to hear that it’s OK to slow down for a little while.
While there are plenty of times in business when it’s necessary to hustle—after all, the early bird gets the worm—there is a such thing as hustling too much. Here are five signs that you’ve crossed the line from hustling in a good way to simply overworking yourself.
1. Work-life balance is a joke to you
If you spend so much time working that you don’t even think work-life balance is possible for you, you’re hustling too much.
Now let me address a common comeback that entrepreneurs and leaders have to this. Yes, there are times when your business is going to require extra attention from you. There are times when it’s going to seem like your life is a little more business than personal. But this shouldn’t be the constant state of your life.
If you’re in the middle of a big project, reorganizing your systems, getting the right hires in place, or other one-off situations, you may have to focus on your business a little more. You may have to hustle a little harder. But you shouldn’t just accept that it’s always going to be like that. You work through whatever the situation is and then take control of your schedule once again.
2. You have no self-care routine
When is the last time you worked out? Got 8 hours of sleep? Ate balanced meals for the entire day? Did something you enjoyed just for fun?
If you’ve been hustling hard for too long, you may even have a hard time answering someone when they ask you what your hobbies are. Because the truth is you quit all your hobbies years ago in an effort to get ahead. You thought you’d get back to them someday, but month after month has passed and you see no end in sight.
Or, how about these questions: Are you tired all the time? Are you gaining weight or losing weight quickly? Do you feel lethargic? Are you getting sick more than normal?
If you’re working yourself too hard, your physical health can take a hit.
Having a self-care routine is important for your physical, mental, and emotional health. It doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s just doing the things that are good for you. Make time for yourself. Unplug and disconnect for a period of time. Get in touch with yourself and take time to relax.
3. Things seem harder than they used to
If your hustle has moved from good to bad, you may find that the tasks you do seem harder than they should. You can’t focus as well. You’re making mistakes that you never used to make. It’s hard to think through a challenge to find solutions.
When you hit the point of burn out, your productivity level drops right along with your work quality. This may be something that your boss starts to notice. It might be something your clients start to pickup on. And it’s probably something you know is happening but you just didn’t know why.
4. You’re a grump
When you’re working too hard, and not practicing self-care, it tends to show up in your mood. You might find that you have less patience with your family, friends, coworkers, or clients. You get irritated easier than normal. Or, you may be flat out looking for a fight with everyone that comes in your office doors.
Grumpiness levels can vary, but if you find you’re in a bad mood more often, it could be a sign that you’re working too hard.
And on a side note, if you find that you’re spouse or kids are grumpier with you than normal, it could also be a sign that you’re spending too much time at work. Are you missing their activities? Showing up late for dinner? Or breaking out the laptop every evening after work hours? This can put your loved ones in a grumpy mood as well. Instead of thinking that it’s their problem to deal with, take a minute and look at if you’re the cause of it.
5. You can’t pull away from your devices
When is the last time you set your phone down and walked into the other room without running to check it if you thought you heard a notification? When’s the last time you didn’t check your email after work hours? Or how set an out-of-office responder for vacation and followed through on not looking at your inbox?
If you are addicted to seeing every little message that comes in the moment it comes in, your hustle may have crossed the lines from good to bad. It’s become an addiction and it’s not healthy.
So, what’s your answer?
Are you working too hard? If so, there are a few things that you can do to take control fast.
- Take control of your schedule. Set hours for each day and then don’t work outside of those hours unless it’s a real emergency.
- Do a digital detox. Spend a day (or longer) without any devices. Go outside. See the world. Be present with your family and friends.
- Delegate more. If you have a small business, it might be time to make some hires. If you have a team of employees, you might need to let go of some control.
- Put systems in place. Learn to work smarter, not harder.
- Prioritize the work that actually needs your attention. It’s OK to realign and let some things go.
- Eliminate distractions. Don’t check social media 18 times a day when you’re supposed to be working. Limit how many times you look at your inbox. Set aside work time when you don’t take phone calls.
- Lower your expectations. You may simply be trying to do too much at once and you need to adjust your expectations on yourself.
And of course, if you’re struggling, our SPEARity team is ready to help. A SPEARity business coach in Milwaukee can help you learn how to apply the SPEAR program to your business to help you regain control and get back to enjoying life and business.