The Toxicity of Hustle Culture: Why Balance is Key

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The Toxicity of Hustle Culture: Why Balance is Key

When Covid haltered standard living, we were told to stay productive, keep our spirits high, find a new hobby, and ‘hustle’. ‘Toxic productivity’ or ‘workaholism’ would be on par with hustle culture. Constant activity is addictive, and many people participate in this cycle. Trust us, the answer lies in living a slow and meaningful life.

What is hustle culture anyway?

Hustle culture is a toxic system that has working people believing ‘grinding’ all hours of the day is the only way to success. It is especially prevalent in corporate workplaces and within the army of freedom-seeking entrepreneurs.


 You may recognise things associated with hustle culture as:


”I rarely sleep, I have no time for that.”


“I’ve had a million cups of coffee to stay awake and focused.”


‘That girl’ on social media, who promotes toxic productivity with aesthetically pleasing posts.

Some other examples of Hustle culture include:

Tip: Stay aware of the accounts you follow and consume on social media- you may want to do a bit of a clean-up and start consuming content that inspires and motivates you (in a healthy way).

What is the problem with Hustle Culture?

Hustle culture is counterproductive

An intensive lifestyle can lead to burnout, cause wellbeing problems, and even exasperate mental health problems. Hustle culture is notorious for claiming that the only way to succeed is relentless work. As a result, you end up struggling with motivation because you are unable to concentrate.

It creates competition between people

Everyone – both at work and in their personal life unhealthy competition due to Hustle Culture. As opposed to this, people should help each other succeed and create a sense of fluidity at work and online. The goal of healthy competition is to push you out of your comfort zone and to help you strive to reach your potential, not the opposite. Healthy competition is not comparing yourself to others.

Balance is key

Balance is the ticket to success. So simple, yet so hard to achieve. The human body is not designed to be stressed and overworked. It would take thousands of years for evolution to catch up with our modern and unnatural lifestyles.

The goal you’re trying to reach doesn’t exist

It seems like there is usually a goal when we are caught in this vicious cycle, right? Do you want freedom? Increased finances? A well-earned break? An early retirement? Once you achieve ‘freedom,’ you are suddenly flooded with an unpleasant sense of guilt. You feel like a prisoner inside of your freedom. Hustling seems to give you that sense of purpose, which should come from a balanced life, not just from working. Wouldn’t you say that productivity enables you to be rich in life, rather than trapped? Perhaps you hustle to increase the number of zeros in your bank account. What use is money when you have no time to spend it on what you’re working for? We encourage you to review your ‘why’, as it will help you live a more meaningful life.

Success is subjective

Hustle culture tends to shame people for their ‘regular 9-5’s’ and to shame people for not giving their 100% effort all day every day. If you’re happy, you’re successful. If you don’t like something, change it. Everybody’s path is different and what matters is your growth, the lessons you learn, and your experience. Remember, there is no end goal, you will always want more. Take this opportunity to practice mindfulness.

a man reading a Hustle Culture article

So, how do we escape Hustle Culture?

Start with becoming aware

Are you feeling defeated by work? Have no time to rest? Once you highlight and acknowledge that you are in the cycle of hustle culture, you can recognise that and begin to move past it.

What do you want?

This could come as a deep question for some, but to be happy you should have a ‘why’ and honour that by setting yourself goals. Why are you at your current job? Why are you applying for this job? Why have you started this business? Are your actions in line with your why?

Celebrate your accomplishments

Often, write down your accomplishments. Big or small. Keep a journal to reflect on your day and how the events that occurred aided your growth. (They are valid).

Practise mindfulness and affirmations

 It may feel a little strange when beginning to practise mindfulness and affirmation, though you will get used to it with persistence. Whether this being through a meditative practise or just going about your daily life, try to practise mindfulness by acknowledging everything happening in the present moment. By using your senses, observing sensations and emotions, this will help when you’re overwhelmed by letting your body and brain know there is not a threat, thus aids you to slow down.

What does your ideal day look like?

 Do you want more freedom? Schedule in something fun.  This will keep you motivated and focused. Take small steps into creating your ideal day, whether that means talking to your team leader to chat about ways you think you could maximise your productivity. Don’t be afraid to talk to management, most companies will be open to it as will leave them a good reputation by allowing more flexibility for their workers.

See yourself as more than your productivity

 It’s important that you don’t rely on a certain area of life to predominantly feel whole.

Take breaks

 Taking breaks is crucial, by breaks, that doesn’t imply endorsing yourself into technology, take mindful breaks it will give your mind time to breathe.

Set yourself hours

 Whether you are an entrepreneur, work a 9-5, or are job seeking, setting yourself hours and sticking to them is crucial. Knowing not to work over your set hours will create boundaries and will give you well-earned free time. This includes not checking your emails and not overcompensating because you weren’t as productive in the day as you wished. This means being compassionate as yourself and to follow the advice you would give to a friend.

Let’s hear an insight from one of the team members:

 “I’m Amy from Phoenix Learning and I think with the rise of social media, it is becoming more and more difficult to avoid the pressures of hustle culture. If I am ever feeling overwhelmed or that I am not being productive enough, I have a day off social media and remind myself that what people post online is not an accurate representation of their lives. It is important to remember that everyone works at different speeds, so it is unfair to compare yourself to anyone else. Here at Phoenix Learning, we urge you to ensure that you find time to decompress from work and social media.”


We hope you now understand hustle culture and these tips have helped you, if they did, please feel free to share this post on your platform to help others.

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