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Avoiding hustle porn and toxic productivity

Avoiding hustle porn and toxic productivity

Published: 
June 17, 2022
 by 
Matt Johnson
, Last updated: 
June 17, 2022

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Hustle porn and toxic productivity are pervasive in tech and startup culture. Yet it's counterproductive. Here's why you should ignore it.

A toxic trend in tech, finance, and elsewhere glorifies overwork. Peddled by influencers and sometimes ingrained in company culture, employees are judged by hours put in over output. Anything less than 60-hour weeks means you aren't committed enough. This culture exerts external pressures to overwork which becomes internalized, making you feel guilty when you're not meeting ridiculous expectations.

However, hustle porn and toxic productivity are both wrong and counterproductive, reducing productivity and leading to burnout/Here's why you should ignore it and how.

Hustle porn peddlers probably overestimate the number of hours worked

For one thing, people who espouse hustle culture are often full of shit. Studies show people overestimate the number of hours they work by between 5 and 10 percent. The higher the number claimed, the more likely the person is to overestimate. At the extreme end, those claiming 75 or more hours per week overestimate by roughly 25 hours.

So when someone tells you they're working insane hours, take what they tell you with a grain of salt. And don't feel like you're doing something wrong if you aren't working those same number of hours.

Working too many hours is pointless

For those putting in insanely long hours, that time is almost certainly wasted. A Stanford study found that productivity declines sharply after working 50 hours a week. After working 55 hours, productivity drops so much that any additional time is almost certainly pointless. So even if you work 75 hours, you probably aren't getting more done than if you put in 55 hours.

In addition, studies show managers cannot distinguish between employees who work 80 hours per week and those who just pretend to.

Toxic productivity leads to burnout

Being solely focused on work and success makes you more likely to burn out. Long hours, ignoring physical and mental health, deterioration of relationships outside of work - all these factors make you susceptible to burnout. Whether you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, or employee - you can't do an excellent job if burnt out. It's a marathon and not a sprint. Don't lose out on long-term success by being too focused on the short term.

Time away is time well spent

Hustle culture and toxic productivity make us feel guilty for taking time away from work. However, employees who utilize their full vacation time are more productive and satisfied with their jobs than those who don't. So, don't feel guilty for taking that time away. Ultimately it helps you be better at your job.

Not every day can be productive

We can't always be on. Some days it's impossible to be productive. Maybe you're struggling with a personal issue. Perhaps you have a headache. For whatever reason, you just don't feel like being productive.

If you can avoid it, don't force yourself to work. Acknowledge that today isn't your day, but that doesn't mean tomorrow won't be. You are allowed to have off days.

Here's how to avoid feeling guilty if you aren't productive

Timeblocking and other productivity techniques to help you get more done in less time

Most people are inefficient with their time. In fact, most people are at work for 8.8 hours but get less than 3 hours of actual work done.

But what if we could maximize our output to get more done in less time. There are lots of productivity systems and tools that can help you do just that. Timeblocking with Taskable is just one example of optimizing your output by blocking time in your calendar for your biggest priorities. Productivity expert Cal Newport estimates you can get 50% more done in the same time with timeblocking.

"A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure."

So, rather than spend time at a desk not getting much done, make the most of your work day, so you have time for other things.

Check out more resources on timeblocking with Taskable

Find a place that values your output, not time at your desk

Wall Street is famous for new associates sleeping at their desks while working 20-hour days. But all of that is complete nonsense. As we've shown, these poor associates are wasting half their time at work putting on a productivity display but probably not actually getting meaningful work done.

Unfortunately, some workplace cultures value time spent at your desk over actual productive output. If you have the luxury, avoid these environments and instead find a workplace that emphasizes your results over productivity theater. Good founders and managers don't care about how many hours you put in as long as you are available when needed and producing enough good work.

June 17, 2022
by
Matt Johnson

Ready to try Taskable?

Unified tasks and calendar for all day productivity