As an entrepreneur, you’re more likely than the rest of the population to fall victim to the “Hustle Culture”. As the name implies, hustle culture promotes constant working and devoting most of your time to the pursuit of “success”. In the hustle culture, success is only measured in tangible, material and monetary terms.
Entrepreneurs who have bought into the hustle culture often take to social media to brag about being “always on”. They boast about taking no breaks, having no time for leisure, no weekends off, and not getting enough sleep. You might have come across a certain image on social media captioned “Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.” These kinds of images and their “inspirational” captions perfectly show the philosophy behind the hustle culture: workaholism.
One survey found that approximately half of all CEOs get less than six hours of sleep per night. But there’s a price to pay for relentlessly striving to build your business and acquire more money. Hustle culture is costing plenty of entrepreneurs their physical and mental health. While it is important to do the best you can to succeed, the hustle culture does more harm than good to entrepreneurs and employees.
“Hustle culture is about being a human doing rather than a human being, which is dangerous in many ways,” says April Wilson, MD, the chair of the preventative medicine department at Loma Linda University Health in California. Hustle culture promotes an unhealthy lifestyle full of exhaustion, toxic competition, stress, and burnout.
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Here are some tips on how you can be a successful entrepreneur without falling prey to the hustle culture:
Drunk people outperform the sleep-deprived
Stories of how successful entrepreneurs barely sleep might inspire you to do the same. However, you will have better chances of succeeding if you get adequate nightly sleep. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, the short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep to work are quickly washed away by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation for days to come. In fact, the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation are so great that drunk people outperform those who are sleep deprived.
Matthew Walker, a famous neuroscientist and sleep expert says that CEOs who undersleep are also underperforming. In a viral TED talk, he argued that getting adequate sleep is essential for anyone seeking success. To prove his point, incredibly successful entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates have amassed their wealth without compromising on their seven to eight hours of nightly sleep.
In addition to nightly sleep, the occasional daytime nap might also boost your mental acuity. Numerous studies have shown that short daytime naps helped improve cognitive test scores. One study published in Chronobiology International found that the ideal length for a nap was 30 minutes. When you feel overwhelmed, just take a 30-minute power nap!
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Loss of family
What matters to you even more than making money from your business? At the top of that list, you will probably include your family. One of your key motivations to succeed in business might be to give your children a better life than you had growing up. But if you devote all your time to hunting for the next dollar, it could eventually cost you your family. Even though money might buy your kids and spouse all the material things they desire, nothing can replace spending quality time together.
While building a business demands all the time you can spare, you have to find a way to be there for your family. This might mean waking up or leaving work a little earlier to be with your loved ones. In simple words, you have to become better at time management, productivity, and setting boundaries.
Learn how to delegate some of the day-to-day tasks of running your business to your employees or out-sourced service providers. Delegation is a major key in maximising your productivity and keeping yourself sane during tight deadlines and huge workloads. Determine which tasks are a priority, which ones need your personal touch, and which ones can be entrusted to someone else. Understand the individual strengths of each member of your team and delegate tasks accordingly. You can occasionally step in to check that tasks are moving along as planned. Ideally, your business should be able to run smoothly even if you took a week or two off.
72 per cent of entrepreneurs have mental health issues
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“Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live.” It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to skip meals, eat unhealthily, and skip workout because they’re too busy building a business. This is probably why many entrepreneurs have mental health issues - since physical health plays a major role in mental health.
But your business’ greatest asset is you. If you’re too sick to work, you will probably end up closing the business. By getting adequate physical exercise and eating a healthy diet, you keep your body healthy and better able to handle the demands of the entrepreneur lifestyle. While no one expects you to be an athlete, you should at least engage in a basic level of physical fitness.
By nature, entrepreneurs are a competitive bunch. But while a little competition might make you perform better, it often gets out of hand when it becomes a battle of egos. Entrepreneurs who have bought into the hustle culture might feel the need to sabotage their business competitors. They might even find themselves getting involved in illegal practices to outdo the competition.
Remind yourself why you started the business. What is your vision? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? Learn what you can from your competitors but avoid being drawn into unhealthy competition. You might even benefit from collaborating with “competitors” every now and then.