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How to Leave the Hustle Behind and Focus on What Matters Working hard is a virtue, but too much of anything can become toxic.

By Jennifer Spencer Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Do you wear your "busy badge" proudly for all to see? Do you believe you are a better employee or business owner because you work 50-plus hours each week and answer email around the clock?

Our society has developed a mindset that business owners and company leaders needs to be busy working and hustling all the time in order to be successful. So, we do just that. We spend long hours in front of our computers or on our phones, and then we brag about it.

But, do you have to operate that way to be successful? The answer is no. In fact, there is a smarter way to work. There is a better way to focus and create sustainable results.

Consistency is key.

We could all hustle 18 hours a day if we wanted to, but none of us would be able to keep it up without sacrificing our sanity, family or health, at some point. We would eventually suffer from burnout, and our businesses would suffer too. But what if instead we strategically focused on simply being consistent -- even if that meant showing up a lot less than we currently are?

Related: Live a Healthier Life by Making Consistency Work for You

Think about it. If you follow a blog, wouldn't you rather have one great post published biweekly than a bunch of mediocre ones put out at once, followed by nothing at all for months on end?

If you have a favorite restaurant, wouldn't you rather they master a few great dishes than have a full menu of new "so-so" items? And if you are a business owner, wouldn't you rather see long-term, sustainable growth than months of alternating feast and famine?

But is it possible?

Must we hustle around the clock to see success? You may have to look beyond the headlines to see it, but you can find many examples of entrepreneurs who are successful without giving up their entire lives.

One such example is Jonathan Goodman, seven-figure business owner of the Personal Trainer Development Centre. Goodman focuses on consistent and conservative growth instead of pursuing a headline about being an overnight success. When you look at his stats, you won't see any impressive spikes. But what you will see is repeatable and consistent growth over time. And he got there by playing the long game and by showing up consistently in his business without letting it interfere with his life.

The trade-off of the hustle.

Entrepreneurs always seem to be chasing something bigger, and they want it right now. Most will stop at nothing to get it. Sounds inspiring, right? But what happens behind the scenes? What happens to business owners who work 18 hours a day?

While you see a lot of sexy stories revolving around the need to hustle your way to success, what you don't see is traded to achieve that success: the failed marriages, the declining health, the lost happiness and the lives teetering off-balance.

And what you aren't told is that the hustle is mostly unnecessary. The hustle isn't focused on results -- just activity. And all of that activity -- being busy merely to be busy -- isn't what is necessary to create sustainable results.

Related: Being Perpetually Busy Is a Kind of Laziness, Tim Ferriss Says

Goodman says, "Most people will be better served to figure out themselves and how they work best, find their place in the business world, and enjoy long-steady growth vs. trying to blow the roof off today, right now, without giving much thought as to what they are going to do tomorrow."

Goodman believes that life isn't meant to be about the hustle. It is about the joys of spending the small amount of time we have on the planet with the people we love. And he lives by that belief. Goodman is proof that you can create a lifestyle that allows you to be productive and successful in your business and be more present with the people who matter most.

How to leave the hustle behind.

Are you ready to follow in Goodman's footsteps and start leading the life you dreamed of when you first started your business or career? Then you have to get really serious about making changes and leaving the hustle mentality behind.

Identify your priorities.

In order to cut down on your endless to-do list, you have to first identify the activities that drive the success of your business … and the ones you enjoy doing. Everything else is fluff. The old saying is true: 80 percent of your success is driven by 20 percent of what you spend your time on. So spend some time identifying that 20 percent and focus your time there.

Remember to prioritize what truly matters in your life. People, health and happiness are far more important than your business.

Work smarter.

We live in an incredible time. We have access to tools and information that business owners wouldn't have dreamed of even ten years ago. If you are smart about technology, you can use it to your advantage. Have it do the work for you. Automate as much as you can and watch the hours open up in your schedule. Delegate to online workers and virtual assistants. Get creative. The tools are there.

Create a schedule with boundaries.

Just as Goodman has prioritized his health and his family (wife and baby boy, Calvin), you can too. But you must be intentional about it. Create boundaries in your life and build them right into your schedule. If you want to walk out of the office at 5 pm, stop checking your email and answering phone calls at 4:30. If you want to exercise at lunch, make your calendar unavailable during that time. The more structure you build into your daily work routine, the more balance and joy you will find in life.

Related: The Secret to Increased Productivity: Taking Time Off

It is easy to get swept up in the idea that we can trade hours for success. But our time is our most precious asset, and we give it away much too freely. The never-ending hustle sounds exciting, and it is constantly being shoved in our face as the new normal. But as an entrepreneur, you have choice. There is always a different way to run a successful business -- implement the one that leads to a balanced and fulfilled life.

Jennifer Spencer

CEO of Energent Media

Jennifer Spencer is the founder of Energent Media, a digital marketing firm for tech startups. She is passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world.

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