Close up of the gears for a bicycle pedal with the words: When Hustle isn't Bad...

When Hustle isn’t Bad

I’ve been hustling a lot lately, being really productive.

And I’ve gotten a lot done. Like a lot, a lot.

I’ve crossed things off my to-do list.

Attained a few goals.

I am generally feeling good about all the things I’ve accomplished. I didn’t achieve the goals because I felt some sort of lack – like I needed to get these things done to be worthy of something.

I was doing these things because each action I took affirmed who I am. Each goal I reached confirmed who I am growing into.

That feeling of taking action to affirm who I am feels powerful!

The hustle and the productivity are byproducts of the actions I am taking as affirmations of who I am and who I am growing into.

I am backing myself with every line through an item on my “to-do” list.

Hustle and productivity have gotten a bad reputation. I’ve given them both the side-eye myself because I want no part of a system that requires me to hustle until I am dead. Yet, at the same time, I have things I want to accomplish.

Hustle and productivity, when mixed with rest and nourishment and throwing in some self-compassion, is probably the most motivating recipe I’ve ever encountered.

I’m allowing myself space to savor the moments and celebrate each step. I’m resting and doing other things when I need to give my brain a break.

Hustling doesn’t always have to be bad.

When there is only hustle, that’s when it can get nasty. Sometimes it happens gradually, and we don’t realize how much it has taken a toll on us until we find ourselves sitting in front of a computer screen, paralyzed by the number of tasks still left to do and the overwhelming desire to not do any of them.

And we still try to power through.

That’s when the hustle gets bad.

Here is how I incorporate rest, nourishment, and self-compassion into my day.

I have a master “to-do” list. One that I keep hidden from myself most of the time because I don’t want to see the big, long list of things.

The night before, I select a few items (three or four, depending on how time-consuming and/or energy-demanding they are).

I write them down on another sheet of paper, so I am only shown the selected items I need/want to accomplish during the day.

I work on things for a maximum of 45 minutes. Between 30 and 45 minutes is ideal for me to work on the same task. My brain doesn’t like to focus any longer than that. It can, though. I’ve gotten into a flow state that can last an entire day, where I forget to eat and barely go to the bathroom. I’m still grappling with how healthy flow state really is even though it is coveted by most creatives.

After 30-45 minutes of working, I take a break where I stretch, make tea, eat something, meditate, etc.

Maybe I take a couple of longer breaks where I walk and/or run if the weather is decent.

I go outside at least once during the day.

I practice awareness. I am not good at it yet (same with meditation), my mind loves to wonder, but I practice being in the moment and noticing what is happening within my body and environment. This exercise is perfect for creatives.

If I don’t get everything on my list for the day completed, I practice self-compassion. I don’t beat myself up when something doesn’t get completed. Instead, I recognize that it happens, I congratulate myself for the work I did get done, and look forward to continuing the list tomorrow.

In my ebook, Goals, but Different, I write a lot about practicing self-compassion while working toward goals. It is a living ebook, which means I update it as I learn new ways of working toward goals with self-compassion. So once you purchase the guide, you’ll always have access to the latest version as long as I have a good email address.

I want to hear from you!