Lately, I’ve been amazed at how many stories are being shared of people quitting their jobs.
Because of having time to rethink their existence during the pandemic, some are stepping back from how work is typically done where I live here in the US. More people are looking for employment that takes into account their emotional needs and family life.
However, “hustle culture” involves more than just where you work. It’s a mindset. Often while I’m working by myself, I usually have to deal with a storm of negative thoughts. My mind tells me, “You’re too slow!” or “You’re not doing enough!”
These inner voices don’t reflect reality or have my best interests in mind. They are the product of living in a culture that’s all about “Do more, fast!” As an INFP, I’ve found that letting these voices push me around comes at a huge cost.
First of all, I’m an introvert, so processing time is essential. The “Do more, fast” mentality forces me to skip from processing to action. The result is low-quality work and stress. Rushing feels almost like being forced to eat in a hurry. Yes, I can do it, but it’s not good for my digestive system. Yes, I can skip to the action, but it’s not the best choice for my nervous system.
If you’re also an HSP, being rushed into action can feel even worse because the pressure causes over-stimulation. Trying to match the pace of this internal voice day after day can burn you out, even if you work for a flexible employer or yourself.
And then, as an INFP, I’m an explorer. For INFPs, the function of extraverted intuition is second in command, and it’s all about taking in new information and connecting ideas with each other. Doing more faster doesn’t match well with exploring and discovery. One is pressured and hurried. The other is open, serendipitous, and needs time to form connections.
So, in short, these internalized voices from hustle culture can cause stress, burnout, and low-esteem.
But fortunately, many are realizing that trying to do more doesn’t always equate to doing things better. So with all this in mind, I believe that it’s important to decouple myself from the messages of hustle culture, especially since they are at odds with how I process information and aren’t good for my mental health.
So here are some concepts that I’m finding helpful in training my mind to let go hustle culture and accept my natural flow of work as someone with the INFP personality type. I hope these ideas can help you too if you feel caught up in the pressure to hustle.
Switch to a healthier pace of work
Problems happen when we try to match the pace of other people or technology. When we try to keep up with others, we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to them. Not everyone works the same way, and I love how the MBTI explores that. Working differently is okay, and working in a way that considers your natural approach makes work more enjoyable.
Also, rushing to keep up with social media and other technologies is a losing battle. We are humans, and those are machines. As I’ve been dealing with my own burnout, I’ve come to realize that my life is better when I let the machines do what they do best, and I continue doing what I do best.
Some things that have helped me to slow down to a more realistic pace of work include:
- Making time for thinking. I am more creative when I have time to let my mind wander instead of rushing from one task to another. Taking breaks between tasks has been very helpful.
- Taking restful breaks. Taking breaks is better than breaking down.
- Accepting that slow work is deep work. Focus on the quality, not speed.
- Take a nice lunch break. Lunchtime is a great opportunity to go outside, enjoy a novel, or do something creative that’s not about work. Commutes are also prime times for slowing down if you have an employer.
Accept What You Can Do
I often struggle with feeling like I need to do more when what I already do is enough. I also face the internal war between “how things are usually done” and how I need to do them.
Accept your pace of work, and realize that not everyone works the same way. And that’s good. Here are some other concepts that have helped me to focus more on working at my natural pace:
- Doing serialized and small projects. Smaller projects allow me to work at a slower pace, but still put out enough projects so that I don’t fall off the radar.
- Focus on how you make income. If you’re running your own business, ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this?” As an online writer, I’ve decided to spend as little time on social media as possible. Writing projects and blog posts add more to my income because don’t get lost in time as quickly as social media posts. So, think about what tasks contribute to your income. This will keep you from feeling rushed because you are reducing the number of things you have on your plate.
- You are enough. This phrase is starting to sound so cliche now, but when it comes to accepting the way you work, it’s important. The pace at which you work is enough. Your way of doing things is fine if it’s effective. And your definition of success is enough.
Appreciate what you accomplish
Sometimes I lose track of what is me because of seeking more productivity and accomplishment. I want to be productive like so-and-so and do what “that person” does.
But the truth is I have my own track record of accomplishments, and so do you.
In my journal, I keep a list of accomplishments big and small that I wish I could brag to others about. Not only does this keep me from annoying my friends and family, but it’s a nice way to review what I’m capable of, and reminds me to think more about my style of working instead of comparing myself to others.
So this is how I’m working to release the grip that hustle culture has on my life. Does anything in this article resonate with you? If so, feel free to reach out via Twitter or Email. I would love to know what you think!