Hustling Smarter (Not Harder)

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Ever get that feeling when reading something that those words you are seeing were written especially for you? That's the impression I got when I read Shoug Al Nafisi's contribution for this month's issue of Entrepreneur, in which she warns us to be wary about the rather thin line between being ultra productive vs. mindless activity. This past month has been a very busy time for us at Entrepreneur, yet we kept pushing through, tackling one struggle after the other. Looking back at it now, it seems almost a wonder that we didn't keel and fall over in the process.

The funny thing, though, is that while I was indeed aware of the overwhelming workload we had pending, it was only after I read Shoug's article that I realized that somewhere along the way, we had seemingly lost control about what we were being subjected to in terms of work. Sure, we were getting everything done as per our standards, yes, but we had also stopped considering our personal welfare in the process. The signs of this were plenty to see- but only when I made an effort to look for them. For instance, it had become a norm rather than an exception to work from home while sick, when ideally we should have just taken the day off. Another example: those times when we cancelled our personal plans without a word of protest, just so that we could use those extra hours in the day to get some work done.

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Then there was my personal Achilles heel: my senseless wanting to be nice to people led me to say "yes" to things that were simply adding to my workload- and yet again, I was doing this without properly considering its consequences on me. Shoug's words were especially haunting: "The facts may show that you're able to complete all the tasks you want to, but then lately, you've been feeling pressured, anxious, and have had difficulty sleeping. Before you know it, you'll feel the tug and pull, and you will be dragged down, completely drained."

Now, that last line was like a wake-up call of sorts: after emailing Shoug with a dozen mutterings of gratitude, I did a self-evaluation of sorts and considered the hole we had dug ourselves into thanks to our utter lack of mindfulness. While we had all signed to be a part of Entrepreneur well aware of the busy-ness of this job considering the mandate we had set for it, the realization came that overextending ourselves and burning out is, well, not going to help anyone. This is something that you entrepreneurs out there need to understand- yes, being a hustler is a part and parcel of your lifestyles but don't let it overrun yourself entirely. The core of your business is you and your team- so don't work yourselves into a rut.

This is the same principle I have decided to put in place for myself and my team: be it by saying no to things that may sound good but will drain us out, or by simply committing to making time for ourselves as we get through our work load- that's how we're going to get ahead, and not burn ourselves out. Of course, this is easier to say than do for us Type- A personalities at Entrepreneur but hey, we won't know until we try. Wish us luck!

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