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The Self-Care Guide for Hustlers

July 13, 2021 | Janelle Christian

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to up a person’s hustle game. In 2020 many of us set up home offices for the first time and had fewer reasons to leave the house, so it became normal to put in long hours toward a career (or fun new side gig) to stay busy. While challenging ourselves has many benefits, it’s also important to stay mindful of when this constant hustling goes too far — especially as we prepare for the workplace model to shift yet again in the coming months.

I have been using four key steps to help my ambitious clients avoid burnout in this situation. Use this exercise to help yourself visualize — and achieve — a thriving work life that balances your physical and mental health with those rockstar career goals.

Step 1: Define success. Understanding your personal definition of success is foundational to this entire exercise. Is being nonstop busy the ultimate goal? (I doubt it.) Or is it a temporary means to a glorious end? (More likely.) Get curious about what will satisfy your long-term desires and goals. For ideas, look at the people you admire most in your network or industry. Talk with them, if possible, to see if the view from the outside is as accurate closer up. Then, set your sights on this big vision for yourself as you chart a thoughtful path to get there. 

Step 2: Ensure value-alignment. Even when working toward your dream career, your values and priorities must be in sync in your day-to-day experience for you to sustain your hustle long enough to reach your goal. Check in with yourself to see if your daily work routine is serving you in this fundamental way. If you place high value on connection with others, for example, then an isolated workday is unlikely to keep you motivated for the long term. If you care most about personal accountability and you often have to cancel plans with loved ones to finish work assignments, then you’ll likely grow dissatisfied or resentful of your job.

Step 3: Set clear boundaries. Boundaries are especially important for the overachievers among us, who like to do all the things all the time and put enormous pressure on ourselves to perform. Without smart boundaries, our schedules can quickly go from open to booked, our workloads from reasonable to overwhelming. To keep these natural tendencies in check, consider finding external systems to help nudge you in a healthier direction. Examples include setting an alarm for the end of your workday, adding “delegate at least 1 task” to your daily to-do list, or using innovative apps and tools to help you focus on the high-priority tasks without interruption.

Step 4: Communicate. The final — but arguably most important — step is to vocalize your plans to the other people in your everyday environment. This will help manage their expectations when interacting with you, plus it might help you instinctively feel more accountable to yourself. You can then refer to this conversation when a boundary or expectation isn’t met, so that the gap is clear without surprises or hurt feelings. If repeated attempts to set boundaries with a colleague are unsuccessful, then consider ways to respectfully create distance with this person, if possible.

Prioritizing your long-term wellness can be tough when the day-to-day pressure to keep hustling is high. But taking a moment to reflect on what matters to you most and setting a plan in motion will help keep you thriving in your career and in your personal life. 

To learn more about how Fringe PD helps high-achievers navigate the systems they work in to achieve their goals, visit www.fringepd.com/services or get in touch www.fringepd.com/contact