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Hustle Culture Is Hurting You

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

You must have heard statements like, “The grind must never stop” and “Good things come to those who hustle” to encourage people to keep hustling.

So much importance is given to productivity that leisure time is frowned upon. Putting in long hours of work is celebrated. But is this good for us? We’ll look into it but first, let’s see what hustle culture is.

Stop Hustle culture in your organization

What is Hustle Culture?

Hustle culture refers to a culture that encourages people to work all day without rest. It prompts people to move faster and work more by perpetuating the belief that working more and harder will make them successful.

Ross Simmonds, founder and CEO of a content marketing agency called Foundation correlated one’s success with hustling by saying, “The hustle brings the dollar. The experience brings the knowledge. The persistence brings success.”

This culture, which came into existence around 1970 and became more popular in the internet era, not only involves working at a faster pace, but it also involves working more than the stipulated office hours.

But is it humanly possible to go on toiling without rest? Are people like Ross Simmonds setting up unrealistic standards? Let’s delve a bit deeper and check out some of the effects of hustle culture to answer these questions.

Impacts of Hustle Culture

Here are some of the impacts hustle culture has on people:


Hustling leads to burnout. Now, what is burnout? According to the World Health Organization, “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

What happens when you experience burnout? You feel exhausted, your work efficiency goes down, and you develop cynicism related to your job.

Burn out syndrome

Sometimes you might not even know you’re burnt out until it's too late and you’re too exhausted to work. Note that burnout doesn’t look the same for everyone and often resembles more serious mood disorders.

Sleep Procrastination

Sleep procrastination

Sleep procrastination or revenge bedtime procrastination refers to delaying sleep due to stress or a lack of free time earlier in the day.

The term “revenge bedtime procrastination” arose from a Chinese expression that expressed frustration tied to long, stressful work hours that left no time to engage in leisurely activities and enjoy oneself.

People who engage in this behavior get short hours of sleep. It’s not like they don’t want to sleep, instead, they are trying to make up for the lack of personal time by staying awake at night.

Does this have any negative effects? Of course, it does! It results in sleep deprivation, degrades thinking, memory, and decision-making, and causes irritability, anxiety, etc.

Affects the Quality of Work

Working for long hours decreases the quality of your work. Your body and mind need rest and working long hours is exhausting. Our brain is not built to focus on one thing for a long period of time so we can’t focus on a particular work for extended hours.

Taking a break now and then makes you feel refreshed and helps you focus better. So, don’t listen to the gurus who go on and on about the grind, and take that break. You need it and deserve it too.

Health Risks

Health risk due to depression

Working for long hours without rest poses a lot of health risks high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat, cardiovascular disease, depression, etc.

We all know that you won’t be able to work well or give your best if you’re unwell which means hustle culture would only negatively affect your work in the long run

Now, let’s go back to what Ross Simmonds said. According to him, it’s hustling that brings money and success. You might’ve seen a lot of CEOs and founders such as Elon Musk, Shantanu Deshpande, etc., echoing the same thing.

But if that were the case, wouldn’t the factory workers, construction workers, etc., who work hard for long hours be richer and more successful than hustle culture gurus? What are we missing here then? Well, the answer is really simple.

When you work for their companies, your long hours bring in the currency for their company. But what about entrepreneurs who have startups? Well, they also need breaks. The negative impacts are not worth anything.

A WHO study published in the journal Environment International in 2021 found that overwork killed 745,000 people in 2016. So even if we believe for a second that success can only be achieved through hustling, how can we enjoy the fruits of our labor if we are not well and alive?

Now, that we have looked at the negative impacts of hustle culture, you might’ve realized that it is not worth the hype. So what can you do? Lead by example and TAKE breaks. Say NO to hustle culture.

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