Now that I’ve shared with you about my stroke, I want to share some ways I’ve made life better for myself.
You see, I didn’t want to return to the hustle culture that defined my life for so long and wanted to intentionally design a better life for myself. I actually didn’t realize how far I had come until I was around a table with some friends recently and two of them seemed to be engaged in trying to one-up each other as to who was busier. One friend said, “oh, I start responding to clients the minute I wake up and don’t stop until the minute I put my head down on the pillow.” The other said, “I think I have you beat. I pick my phone back up after putting it down, because that’s when I remember all the people I promised things to and I can’t sleep until I get it all done.” When I was in my c-suite job, I would have joined them, because I probably had them all beat with the way I worked around the clock and pushed my own to do list and family time to the back burner. Instead, I walked away being thankful that I don’t do the hustle culture anymore.
Do you want a better life and freedom from the hustle culture? Big changes are difficult and take time, yet they are so rewarding. Taking steps, even small ones, add up and pretty soon you’re getting to that better life you’ve always wanted.
Here are some steps I’ve taken to stop the hustle culture in my life and get to a better life…
1: No work Mondays
Ok, so I know this isn’t an option for everyone. It’s one that I get to choose for myself now. I block my schedule and don’t work on Mondays. If I do work on Monday, it’s because I’ve made a conscious decision to do so. In fact, just this week, I wandered into my office to write a thank you card to someone. When I was finished, I almost turned my computer on to send a couple emails. I paused and reminded myself that I don’t work on Mondays and I got up and left.
In case you’re thinking this doesn’t work in corporate America, I coach a client who was drowning in work. She noted that her company offers unlimited time off, yet she has only taken three days off this year…THREE DAYS!! I asked her what she wanted to change and she said, “I don’t love Mondays, especially Monday mornings. With my kids home from college this summer, I would love Monday mornings off to organize my week, get groceries and start my week off differently at home.” She blocked out all her Monday mornings at work and told her assistant not to schedule anything that morning. She also told one of her closest colleagues about her goal and asked her to hold her accountable if she slips. This week was her fourth Monday she’s had off and she told me it’s revolutionized her life. She has a meal plan that her kids can follow and help with, so she has a meal to come home to every night. She said her days are still chaotic and she feels like they will be anyway, so she’s glad she has calm at home right now.
2: Clean desk Fridays
I still work sometimes on Fridays and I carried over a practice I developed when I first started in the c-suite. When I am in a healthy work environment and not being forced to work around the clock, I would block a couple hours on Friday afternoon to wrap up any work that I had outstanding. This way, I could turn off my computer for the weekend and not have any unfinished business hanging over my head. For me, this gave me space to be present with my family where I wanted to be and I didn’t feel tied to work and unresolved things nagging at me all weekend.
3: Schedule family time
I am a big planner and yet I have always failed to plan time with my family. As my daughter has gotten older, I realized that family time didn’t happen as naturally as it did when she was little. I sat down with her a while back and scheduled family time during the week. She has the shared calendar on her phone so she can see when we have family time and doesn’t make commitments with friends that interfere with our time.
If you don’t like scheduling family time, you can try what one of my clients does. Every night at 8 pm she chases her kids and husband out of their rooms and into the living room where they spend an hour together. She grew up in boarding schools and missed having family to bond with during the week. She knows that if she doesn’t make an effort now, her kids will grow up without a family bond, too.
4: Develop a mantra
My final tip is to develop a mantra for yourself that “I don’t do hustle culture.” I have recited this mantra to myself when I’m sitting at my desk about to schedule work on a Monday or turn on my computer on a Monday; I’ve said it to myself when I see the family time reminder pop up on my calendar; and I’ve said it to myself when I hear friends boast about how they are playing the hustle culture game.
I could go on about ideas for leaving the hustle culture behind. The point here is to get you thinking, and then taking whatever action you can toward a better life. What’s one step you want to take today to leave hustle culture behind?