In today’s time, we as a society have glorified the idea of being ‘busy‘. People that are seen constantly stressed, buried in their work are viewed as more accomplished than someone not swamped by work and worry.
Today’s hustle cultre views these so called ‘hard-workers‘ as the image of the ‘perfect employee‘ and holds this standard of being busy on a pedestal.
Is being busy actually bad?
No, it’s hard to say that everything about hustle cultre or being busy is bad. But it’s definitely a point to note that these do glorify the idea of constantly being on the go and working and have even made it the norm for today’s generation to constantly be working and measuring their own self worth by how much they’ve accomplished.
Think about it, how many times have you criticized yourself because you didn’t do ‘enough work‘ or you didn’t ‘work harder‘?
How many times have you actually been happy on a day off and been glad that you took care of yourself?
Have you ever felt miserable for taking the weekend to rejuvenate and work on things that make you happy instead of working extra?
According to the standards we’ve created for ourselves, anyone who isn’t busy and doesn’t spend every second immersed in work simply doesn’t stand up to these standards and is just termed as ‘not hard working‘ or simply ‘lazy‘.
This outlook of society makes us judge our own self worth by the amount of work we do and the labels society puts on us.
Glorifying the idea of always being busy tends to make us much more about self and can, in a sense, make our thoughts and actions even more selfish.
We tend to get more stuck in our own little world excessively brooding about our own work and our own problems which obviously have a negative strike to our mental health but also end up in us neglecting close friends and family.
Cancelling plans last minute, not being present for special occasions and being missing from important moments tends to become ‘normal‘ for busy people.
Now, once or twice these actions may be ignored or forgiven but constant occurances tend to leave cracks in relationships which might eventually leave you feeling lonely and distant, unable to maintain those relations.
The current idea of busyness doesn’t necessarily put in ‘quality of work’ as an important factor, instead, ‘quantity of work’ becomes the deciding factor.
When we place priorities in the wrong areas it does end up being counter-productive and instead of actually getting things done we might only be wasting precious time.
It’s necessary to keep track of how and what you spend your time. Know if the time you spend on doing something is actually for something ‘productive‘ or is it just being busy.
How to know if you’re actually productive or just busy?
Being ‘busy‘ isn’t something you’re forced to do, it’s a life choice – something you make and continue.
Know that being efficient isn’t about the number of hours you spend doing something that may or may not have a positive outcome. Efficiency is about the number of positive results you get on doing things.
Think about the things you do on a daily basis that you think are ‘productive‘ – does it actually give outcomes that help you grow? Does it help with things you’re struggling with/find difficult?
Being busy is just about passing time doing things that seem productive,while actually, using time for things that support growth is real productivity.
Answering emails is one such task that might seem and feel productive but it has more cons to pros. It doesn’t matter how many times a day you check your email, you can always expect more to be there eventually. It always makes you feel productive but in reality it just gives you that extra stress that hampers with actual productivity.
It’s often advised to check your emails only once or twice a day to allow some actual productivity instead of spending hours each day in ‘pseudo-productivity‘.
But why is it that we fixate ourselves in pseudo-productive work?
When we’re constantly under stress and lose work-life balance (which is a consequence of hustle cultre) we tend to mess with our attention span, and the constant pressure from work and personal life harms the cognitive bandwidth.
Even though having narrow cognitive bandwidth might help you hyperfocus on something, it also has its cons – popularly termed as Tunneling.
Tunneling, according to dictionary.apa.org is defined as
"a psychological state, typical of people concentrating on a demanding task or operating under conditions of stress, in which a single, narrowly defined category of information is attended to and processed. "
In the most simple terms, tunneling is being extra focused on things that are right infront of us that may not be so productive, which is caused by extreme stress in our lives.
A definite point of importance is that when we become so fixated in our own lives doing ‘productive’ work, we tend to have less time for things that actually matter, like our own physical and mental health.
We tend to have less time for decisions that affect us, instead we make impulsive decisions because taking cautious, calculative steps isn’t an option anymore.
So how can we get rid of busyness and make time for things that actually matter?
• It might make us feel important to be constantly busy and get that validation from society. But remember that the same busyness has long term effects on your health.
These long hours of stress and lack of sleep and completely ignoring self-health can lead to problems like headaches, insomnia, fatigue, seizures, etc. When you make changes in busyness, you will only have positive changes in your physical and mental health and will improve relationships with people you’ve been pushing away.
• Take a deep dive into the work you’re always busy doing – then think if spending all that time and resources is actually a wise decision. Spend time doing things that you actually find valuable – does it feel productive?
• Learn to ignore the voices, views and opinions of society that promotes hustle cultre and being busy. Keep in mind the actual goal you have, that which you strive for. (I know it’s so much more easier said than done, but give it a shot!) Challenge the idea of being busy and go for what you believe you want to do.
• Understand the importance of saying no to things that don’t serve purpose to your life, instead, spend that time on things that drive you and things you find yourself excited to do.
• Sometimes you can find true satisfaction in doing less. You could do hundreds of tasks a day but they won’t necessarily bring you happiness, but even doing one task that drives you can be the source of your happiness.
• Encourage yourself and people around you to get the image of being busy out of their mind and instead set being productive as the idealistic mindset.