We are currently living in the era of ‘hustle culture.’ Hustling, in and of itself, is not a bad thing– it demonstrates drive, motivation, work ethic, and immense dedication. However, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to pursue a life of endless hustle. It’s become a competition of who can be the unhealthiest and simultaneously the most productive.
At university, I often found my peers bragging about their work ethic, in coded statements like: “Guess how long it’s been since I’ve slept!” and “I haven’t eaten anything but ramen and coffee the last two days.”
Sometimes, life does need to be like that for a few days to get an important project done. But, humans were not meant to live in a constant state of work; our bodies are created to alternate between states of hard work and full rest. We shouldn’t feel like we are only productive if we feel overwhelmed.
Gone are the days of no sleep. Say hello to the new barometer of productivity: emotional and physical healthiness!
Create Clear Goals
“Quality over quantity” certainly rings true in all parts of life, especially in work. Stop overworking yourself.
Set three big goals for the week, then create subcategories of smaller goals to reach these targets. The idea behind this is that you should put most of your energy into accomplishing a few big things to produce your best work. While not irrelevant, all other tasks should take up less of your energy and are considered more as background noise.
Take it back to your schooling days! Some supplies that could help you stay organized and on track include whiteboards or chalkboards, planners, and calendars. You can opt for the more modern version via apps, or buy physical copies from your favorite local shops. Etsy is the perfect place to start looking for new goodies from small businesses (Small reminder that if you are financially able, supporting small businesses during the pandemic can make a world of difference).
“Stop and smell the roses” is a popular cliche that exits our immediate memory amid our hustle and bustle.
Making your office a desirable space to exist in is an easy way to boost work productivity by “stopping and smelling the roses” throughout the day. In this era of working from home, it’s important to keep your workspace as separate as possible from other spaces of lounge and rest. You can do this by setting your desk towards a window, turning your back to the rest of your room.
Decorate your space with literal roses you’ve Gestured yourself (flowers increase levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin), a plethora of plants (helps reduce carbon dioxide levels, oxygenates the air, and has even proven to increase productivity by up to 15%), art from local artists, etc. The options are endless! Experiment with what boosts your serotonin levels.
In every assignment you receive, assess the necessary time frame– one that is realistic and honors your boundaries. Realize that you cannot throw yourself away every time you receive a new request. While it is possible to crank out five blog posts in one day, I know that this will only take a toll on my cognitive processes and physical health.
Instead of thinking about how quickly you can accomplish work requests, realistically think about what you have going on in your life at that moment and how long you need to produce the best work possible. Communicate all this with your co-workers so there is no clash of expectations in delivery time or quality.
In most assignments, nobody is asking you to prove how quickly you can work. You are allowed to have time to eat, sleep, walk your dog, visit your mom, and catch up on a Netflix episode.