How Much Hustle Is Too Much?

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These days, it seems there is a widening gap in our country. No, I’m not talking about the gap between Hillary and Donald supporters, though that gap may continue to grow even as the country attempts to unite under a Trump presidency. The gap I am referring to is the gap between those who hustle and those who do not; those who work multiple jobs and those who barely work at all; those who apply some elbow grease and those who dally; those who apply themselves to the fullest and those who lead a lackadaisical life of leisure.

Let’s call them The Hustlers and The Spectators.

These two groups are what we might label diametrically opposed; one values pushing oneself to the limits in search of accomplishment, while the other seeks to avoid so at all costs.

I’ve found myself in both camps at distinct times in my life. While it’s worth noting that we all go through natural seasons in life, sometimes the life of a Hustler or Spectator is a conscious choice. We weigh the benefits of both paths and choose to reap what appears to be the most enticing rewards. Sometimes life decides for us.

For the sake of discussion, let us simply define a Hustler as one who engages in one or more of the following:

*Works more than 40 hours per week

*Holds more than one job

*Actively seeks side jobs and extra gigs to earn additional money

For the most part, I am surrounded by Hustlers. Teachers seem to be routinely bashed as glorified babysitters by those on the outside, but they are among the hardest-working and most-underpaid professionals. Most bloggers manage to squeeze out time to remain dedicated to their craft despite other full-time work, family demands, and the ever-present call to rest. And let us not forget the hardest workers of all, mothers, who are always on the clock.

This saturation of hustle all around me has provoked a great deal of thought over the past several weeks. It has led me to ask an important question:

How much hustle is too much?

When it comes to a side hustle, we weigh the benefits and choose the most rewarding path. But how much hustle is too much?

The Benefits of Extreme Hustle

Last week, from Thursday morning until Sunday evening, I found myself in either work mode or sleep mode. My time was used very efficiently: work at the day job, real estate showings, phone calls, scheduling, and a charity event. Much to my disappointment, I didn’t have time to devote to the blog.

Some may consider this use of time to be a bit extreme, but I see many benefits of this brand of extreme hustle:

*Less time to blow money on stupid things

*Increased opportunities for fulfillment

*The chance to make a difference for others

*Remain mentally sharp even as you age

The Downsides of Extreme Hustle

On the other hand, to be transparent, I was running on fumes by the time Sunday evening rolled around. All of the hustle and bustle had finally caught up with me. Fortunately, I have always been able to adapt and recover quickly after burning both ends of the candle. Others may not recover so quickly, leaving them susceptible to the downsides of extreme hustle:

*Too much stress

*Decreased happiness if your hustling does not align with your gifts and interests

*Less time for family, recreation, community engagement

The Answer

As with most questions related to personal finance, the answer is best decided by the person who matters most: you.

I believe everyone should have a side hustle these days, as the benefits outweigh the negatives. But exactly how much time should be devoted to that side hustle is a very personal matter.

Working too much can actually be bad. We all have our limits. It takes a sadistic person to torture himself with never-ending work. It should not be a point of pride to be too busy to do anything other than work, eat, shower, and sleep, in my opinion.

Four Signs You’re Doing Too Much

A) You forget things- a lot.

B) You have lost touch with most of your closest friends.

C) You have rearranged your personal schedule for work multiple times in the past month.

D) Your efficiency severely lags. If you find yourself frequently multi-tasking (which has been shown to be a myth), it might be time to re-evaluate your level of hustle.

Readers, how much hustle is too much? How do you evaluate your use of time?


7 thoughts on “How Much Hustle Is Too Much?

  1. It’s interesting that your four signs that you’re doing too much also are four signs you have a newborn in the house – lol!

    Like you said, how much hustle is too much is really dependent on the person and their family situation. For me, if I’m starting to lose sleep because of stress or if I’m starting to miss too many workouts at the gym, I know I’m pushing things too hard.

    1. That is really interesting, Jon! I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right. 🙂

      Losing sleep and missing workouts are great indicators of too much hustle. I may have to add those in!

  2. My biggest recommendation to you is to hustle your pants off while you’re still young FSH cos it’s much harder to do as you get older. Apart from increased family commitments which will demand your time (too much side hustling is a sure fire track to divorce), there is also the wear and tear on the mind and body. You said that you recover quickly from a busy week which shows that you’re young and reasonably fit. Once you start getting older, it starts to hit you like the morning after a big night out.

    I say go for it but just know when you’re hitting your limits. It’s pointless working your butt off for weeks only to end up sick or mentally burnt out for a period.

    Sorry FSH, this isn’t aimed at you but at anyone who’s burning the candle at both ends. I’ve done it and am now pleased to put that all behind me. Thanks for a great post FSH.

    1. Very wise advice, as always, Martin. For most people, I believe the ability to stay in full-on hustle mode is limited to specific chunks of time. I certainly don’t plan on doing this forever. I have pushed too hard in the past (working about as much as I am now and also trying to train for a marathon, for example), and it didn’t go well. I’m looking forward to the time that I can ease up a bit and put extreme hustle behind me!

  3. WOW it’s like you read my mind on this one. I took on far too much work over the last two months, coupled with my full-time job it left me extremely worn out. I had to take a week off from anything but the day job last week. My mind was ready for a rest and it has done me the world of good. I love to keep busy, but sometimes you have just got to sit back and relax and let your batteries recharge!

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