Constantly Hustling? Time to Stop!

Remember how hustle culture ruled the pre-Covid world? Notice how it’s creeping back in? It’s time to go with the flow and stop hustling

Hustle culture is dead: it's time to stop hustling and go with the flow

We get it, the world is changing and is forever changed, yawn. There are countless articles about The Great Resignation and the impact of the power base shifting from employers to employees. Work environments have changed and will remain this way, presentism is out and hybrid autonomous work styles are in. We get it, enough already – stop hustling about it! 

But have you changed? Like really changed?

Does this sound familiar?

  • Getting to the end of the week or day or midday and wondering what happened to your plan?
  • Missing appointments, running late for meetings, getting caught up and lost in things you really shouldn’t be doing more than usual.
  • Wondering how in the world, before Covid, you managed to prep your lunch the night before, keep a tidy house, fit in the right amount of busyness and chill. Plus exercise! How did you use to fit in exercise?

The new world needs a new plan

The world has plunged straight back into full throttle mode, Covid is here to stay and so now we’re all simply just getting on with it. But there was a 2-3 year period where life was fundamentally interrupted – if you’ve picked up your old faithful “plan of attack” and are trying to dust it off, you’re likely running into some false starts. It’s because the eye-rolling articles are right: things have changed … but what no one is really talking about is how we must evolve our work style with it.

My plan for “taking charge” and getting back on track was to revert to type. Fuel up on coffee, clear the evening schedule and tackle those emails and life admin tasks head on. The plan was to get on top of the to-do list, write a weekly family / home plan and a work plan and then implement it. There! Done. Easy.


Toddlers don’t follow plans, work will flip itself on its head and you forgot to account for the fact you just brought a puppy. The old world had clear boundaries: work was work and home was home. Now everything demands your attention at once.

Hustling just doesn’t cut it anymore and you really can’t control everything. You can’t simply rewind the clock and apply old methods to a new world.

The hustle culture is dead

Hustle culture “refers to the mentality that one must work all day every day in pursuit of their professional goals.” Hustle culture became a way to get on top of the never-ending list: you simply worked harder. It saw a particular rise in popularity among the younger working generations following the Global Recession in 2008. People felt like they needed to work longer hours and/or start a side business to meet their goals and get ahead in the tough economic climate. 

It worked until it didn’t

Hustle culture suited a time where work was the number one priority and terms like flexible working, part-time hours and work/life balance were talked about but rarely genuinely achieved. Working harder, not smarter did work – to a degree. But at what cost? A confused sense of what work/life balance actually meant, becoming desensitised to the hour commute to work and back each day and feeling exhausted most days. The hustle culture rose in popularity to validate that people were working toward a goal and the only way to get there was through blood, sweat and tears.

What’s the opposite of hustling?

So if hustling is out then what is in? There are certain industries like procurement where you feel like you’re always at the mercy of others. Be it sales calls, demanding clients, pushy stakeholders or urgent supplies that need sorting. Being in procurement is being in demand!

There are subtle ways to shift your mindset that can help you feel more in control.

How to shift from hustle to flow

For me the lightbulb came on when I realised I can’t do everything anymore. I can’t stay up until midnight and get everything done, there is always more.  The old world had clear boundaries: work was work and home was home. Now everything demands your attention all at once and the list is endless, you have to go where you’re needed but apply some structure so you don’t get lost.

Top 5 tips for easing out of hustle culture and into flow

1. Understand you won’t achieve it all

For fire types like me and people dedicated to the hustle, this one is hard. There is clarity when you finally stop chasing a zero-sum game. Become really clear on what matters and relax: the world wont stop if everything is not done.

2. Get into the flow mindset

How do you define being productive? It shouldn’t be about doing all of the things, but rather, the things that add the most meaning to your work. There is usually a mix of time-bound critical items and non-time bound strategic items, pick a couple and extend the deadline to be simply called “today.” That way, if you don’t achieve it, it stays on your list until it’s done.

3. Embrace the blurred lines 

It’s ok if some of your workday has some life admin tasks in it, there are certain things we all need to achieve; bills to pay and emails to respond to. Again, pick a couple of items at a time for the day and stick to it.

4. Make sure your plan is centred around you and not others

It can be easy to get trapped in the servitude mindset where you find yourself running around after others. Rember your value is in regards to the service you provide. It doesn’t make you a servant. Check your boundaries and be clear on your priorities.

5. Let it go 

Remember the example from earlier? Not making lunch, not exercising, missing meetings? Let it go. You’re not meant to fit it all in. Okay, well maybe set a reminder so you don’t miss meetings but the rest? Let it go. Think of windows of time and weekly achievements not “ I must do x,y,z by 2pm”. Chose “if I exercise 3 times this week that will be great” and take the opportunities when they present.


I loosened my control-freak ways for a week and I found when I gave up my rigid structure I found more pockets of time for reflection, when I chose to take a break instead of pushing through the next task I had spontaneous conversations that achieved more in 30 minutes than what I had planned to achieve in that time. 

Your challenge

The increase in popularity of the hybrid working model demonstrates that people are loving the ability to be more flexible with how we approach work and life. But not all of us have the flexibility muscle. It’s time to limber up and flex as life flows.