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Break Free From Hustle Culture: A Guide to Fighting Off Toxic Productivity

Being driven and motivated to achieve your aspirations is what makes a success story but the current advent of hustle culture takes it a step too far. If you haven't been living under a rock then chances are that you scroll through your social media daily and come across numerous posts that urge you to work till you drop dead and to do it all with a smile on your face. Hustle culture can turn things that are supposed to feel inspiring into outright condescending if you fail to stand up to its standards.  

A recent survey reports that over 52% of the respondents have experienced burnout in 2021. The figure is even more frightening amongst the youth as 59% of millennials said that they're currently suffering from burnout. It can't be denied that the intense pressure perpetuated by society to have your life figured out by 30 or less has a part to play in it.  

 So how do we stay on track with our goals while preventing physical and mental breakdowns? Keep reading to find out ways that can help you hit a healthy work-life balance.  

  • Focus on Quality over Quantity  

No matter how great your attention span is, you're bound to find your mind wandering off if you work hours at an end. It is true that there's a sense of pride associated with working an enormous number of hours, but is it really helping you earn more money or feel more fulfilled holistically? Probably not.  

Instead of working for let's say 12-14 hours a day, bring down your work hours to 6-8. Try to pour yourself completely into your task in that limited period of time. This will not only increase the quality of your work but also leave you with an ample amount of time to relax later on. This might be hard to accomplish if you're working in a corporate setting with fixed work hours so an alternative could be to take a 10-15 min break after every hour you spend working.  

  • Set Boundaries  

I find it much easier to stick to plans when they're set in stone I.e. specified and so do most people. Decide a time each day after which you will not be working depending upon your workload. This also includes not checking work emails or discussing things related to your life in the office.  

Saying no to people can be challenging but you're not liable to be bombarded by tasks at 8 am on a weekend. So find a cordial way of declining unprecedented work until and unless it's a high-priority project. 

  • Build A Life Outside Work  

A major reason why people take things too far is that they start associating their self-worth with the number of assignments they finished in a day or how many hours they spent on their office desk. You're worthy no matter how productive you were today.  

A great way of not making your work the center of your universe is to participate in a more holistic lifestyle. Build healthy relationships and commit yourself to a new hobby. When your work isn't a crutch for your self-confidence anymore, it's much easier for you to look at it from an unbiased perspective and balance out the energy you spend on it.


  • Catch Up on Sleep  

We all have a propensity to make it look like we're staying afloat even when we're not. As a result, even when we're too busy we try our hardest to not cancel on our social obligations, whether it's a friend's birthday party or calling your girlfriend. Thus the primary area left to take the toll of our lousy self-care habits is our bedtime.    

Never sacrifice sleep for work. If you can't make time for it in the day then either you've got too much on your plate or you need to plan your tasks better. Lack of sleep makes you more fatigued, agitated, cranky, and finally - less productive. It defeats the purpose you set out to fulfill hence, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.


  • Establish Your Priorities  

I've been a workaholic for most of my life and anytime I'd find myself doing nothing it'd instate a sense of guilt in my mind. It's because I had never prioritized my mental well-being, unlike my career goals.  

Making self-care and break times a priority is crucial to hitting an equilibrium. This doesn't mean that you excuse not working hard in the name of rehabilitation. Draw up a schedule and segregate your work throughout the week in such a manner that you're never behind on deadlines but have adequate time to spend with your family, friends, and by yourself.  


If work stress seems to be getting too unbearable for you, visit Iamears. Iamears provides a safe space for you to vent out all your feelings and concerns anonymously and receive advice from experts on the platform. You can interact with people going through the same problems as you and receive support from the community.  

As intimidating as it can be to watch people around you ace their goals, do not let peer pressure derail you from what feels right to you. There's a reason why we were taught the phrase "health is wealth" quite early on in our lives. In the bigger picture, having a routine that's mentally and physically sustainable for you will not only help you fulfill your current objectives but also warrant long-term contentment.