To Hell With The Hustle
Let me tell you why I refuse to hustle.
I once believed anything worth having had to be very hard to get. The battle to get to the top of the mountain was as essential as being at the top, no matter if I really wanted to be climbing that particular mountain or not. I could put my head down and plow through any hateful task, finish it, and do it well. It was in me to reach my goal, even if I’d given very little thought as to whether or not I was gunning for it for the right reasons in the first place.
But let me tell you – I hated the battle. Long hard hours, absolutely abhorring the topic I was studying to get that pass or the weekend hours at the office detesting the work I was doing to get that promotion. This is just adult life, I consoled myself. We hustle to achieve our goals and once we achieve them, life will be all rainbows and flowers and so much easier, right?
Imagine my disappointment and confusion when I passed that exam, got those promotions, and had the house, family, dog, cottage…. but each and every day wasn’t rainbows and flowers and they certainly weren’t easier. Things continued to be hard. I still felt overwhelmed. There was still constant clutter in my life.
That’s when I began to wonder if perhaps I had been going about things all wrong. Perhaps I’d been putting way too much emphasis on the things I should be doing, and not nearly enough emphasis on what I wanted to be doing. Maybe the rainbows and flowers would be part of the process of achieving goals had I actually chosen the right goals. Maybe, no matter what all of the experts say, I could achieve my own version of success in life without the hustle. What if the work didn’t have to be hard because I was working on and towards something that I found fulfilling?
With that in mind, I began the process of creating my formula to eliminate hustle from my life. I understood there was always going to be work to do that wasn’t going to be fun, but I promised myself I would no longer plow through the hateful responsibility of the day before I allowed myself any of the fun. I was going to create a formula to manage my responsibilities so that they would no longer consume me, but I could continue to stay on top of them, all while being able to start climbing a mountain or two I actually gave a shit about climbing!
Today I’ll share with you the one rule I follow in all areas of my formula so I can create habits of my responsibilities and leave my energy for the stuff that really matters!
Slow it Down and Chunk it Up!
I’m just going to dive right into a practical example that will clearly show what slowing it down and chunking it up looks like.
If you’ve been following along with my blogs, you likely already know that I really despise spending any of my free time cleaning my home. This would be all fine and good, except that I’m also a crabby bitch when our house is cluttered and downright dirty. You see, I want to have my cake and eat it too! I’d love for my bathroom to sparkle and smell fresh without me getting down on my knees to scrub around the toilet, all the while cursing the boys who can’t seem to learn to hit the bowl no matter how much I threaten to make them sit down to pee!
It’s not in the budget at the moment to pay for someone to clean for me (because as soon as it is, I will be wisely spending my dollars on that service, let me tell you!) So, my formula contemplates the cleaning of our house in tiny little chunks that I can manage to do without feeling resentment for losing that time on that task.
I split my chores up and spread them throughout the week. In fact, I even take it a tiny bit further. If it’s a big, overwhelming job (like going through my daughter’s room to find clothes and toys to give away which we do once a year), I follow these basic steps to break the job up into reasonable chunks (don’t worry – I’ll show you how these steps apply to virtually any responsibility you can think of at the end of this post):
- Start with a brainstorm of all of the parts of the job that need to get done (clean out storage closet in her room, clean out her clothes closet, clean out her dresser, clean out her toybox, clean out her bookshelf, go through her hair clip and nail polish baskets.)
- Put the list in the order that the tasks should be completed if the order could possibly matter.
- Decide when the task should ideally be complete. In this example, since we typically do this overhaul of her room just after Christmas (because we’re desperately searching for more space for her new things), the timeline I give is to have it done before she returns to school from her two-week break.
- Schedule the tasks out throughout the time period to various days, contemplating other commitments in the schedule and ensuring the tasks are spread out enough so that they don’t feel overwhelming.
Ideally, I’d love for the tasks to be chunked down small enough that they take 15 – 30minutes max. At the end of any day, typically I can convince myself to spend up to 30 minutes on some responsibility just to have the joy of getting it off my list.
Let’s contemplate how slowing things down and giving yourself a reasonable timeframe to complete some responsibility, and then chunking it into manageable pieces might also work for other responsibilities you could encounter in your day to day.
Like for example – laundry! Laundry is an annoying, ongoing nuisance if you ask me! But breaking it up to one load per day and putting away the clothes only when my basket is full, is a manageable approach to this annoying task. I actually wrote an entire blog on our “Laundry Problem” if you’d like to check that out for further details about my solution.
How about the tedious task of tracking personal spending? This is a job that can feel overwhelming if left too long, but I believe is an essential part of personal financial success. To keep it doable and less annoying, I track our expenses every 3 days. This keeps the job time to 10-15 minutes only, but it allows me to have all of the information necessary to ensure bills are being paid on time and that we aren’t spending more than we should be.
What about a massive work project? If you ask any of my coworkers what it’s like to work with me, I’m sure they can tell you that I’m very deadline driven. If you give me a date to have something done by, only extenuating circumstances would make me miss that date! But that’s because I’m so good at slowing things down and chunking things up to make deadlines SO much easier to manage. As an example, our year end audit preparation process could be hairy if not properly addressed. I know our auditors will be coming in around March 15th. I also know that they will send us the list of things that we need to have ready for them early in February after they’ve presented their audit plan to our Board of Directors. This means I’ll have approximately 4 weeks to prepare. Even if you don’t prep for a financial statement audit, I’m sure you can understand the tedium of the work! So, I could leave everything until the two or three days before the information is due (and wake up those mornings absolutely dreading going into the office) or I could chunk up the work over the four weeks and chip away at it a bit at a time.
You see, this method of approaching responsibilities that are not necessarily the most glamorous or exciting allows the responsibilities to be knocked off, being completed both well, and on time and it eliminates the overwhelm or the dread of spending significant hours on tasks that in the grand scheme of life, are just not that enjoyable.
My formula truly is all about having a slow, easy, existence. I want to be able to manage my responsibilities without dreading them or allowing them to consume too much of my energy or brainpower (even if it’s just going towards hating them!) And over the years of using this method of slowing and chunking, I’ve become really, really good at it. I can take just about any obstacle in my way and break it down into tiny steps, pick out a realistic completion target deadline (if one isn’t obvious) and spread the chunks out so that they are reasonable and the goal seems achievable. This is my forte. My area of expertise.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed with some annoying responsibility that perhaps you’ve been putting off over and over again for weeks now, shoot me a message or comment below and let me know. I bet in no time we can have a plan in place that is both acceptable and doable and shortly that looming thing that you’ve been putting off will be moving forward and you’ll be feeling oh- so much better!
So, remember ladies – S L O W I T D O W N, chunk it up and refuse to buy into the nasty rumor that the only way to achieve success is to hustle!
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