Hustling has become synonymous with the fast-paced and demanding world of startups, the pressure to work long hours and prioritize work over personal life has become the norm. This mentality, known as "hustle culture," refers to working longer hours, not taking off days, sleeping less, constant focus on success, and missing out on personal time. Despite this, hustling is glorified on every platform while ignoring its toxicity.
As an ambitious entrepreneur, I value hard work and understand how it feels to work on your passion projects, but I also endorse cultivating work-life integration. Hustling might give excellent results in the short term, but in the long run, it can be detrimental to your health and relationships.
Work-life integration is crucial for both individuals and organizations, but how do you achieve work-life integration in a startup? Since a startup is a growing organization with limited resources, scaling operations, shifting job roles, and additional responsibilities the pressure and workload make it quite challenging to integrate personal and professional lives. However, systemizing your work avoids burnout and makes you more productive and effective. It will boost your performance and give you an edge over your competitors.
How do you achieve work-life integration in a startup?
Pushing a startup to success is quite challenging and requires a lot of hard work. But achieving work-life integration is not difficult. Here are some steps you can take to avoid exhaustion and attain a quality work life.
How a person should manage work-life integration when working in a startup-5 smart tips.
Hustle culture glorifies working longer hours, but you must define your work hours and discourage messages and emails after hours for effective work-life integration. Humans need sleep and rest to function adequately. Unplugging after a day’s work will recharge you and help you perform better the next day, whether you are a leader, founder, or employee.
Follow a routine and set specific hours for leisure activities, family time, and work, and stick to that schedule. Use technology to help you by setting reminders to relax and switch your phone off during non-work hours. Learn to say ‘NO.’ Helping someone is great, and some overtime in startups is also reasonable, but you need to establish a boundary. Do not encourage unreasonable work requests.
Find the best time to work
We all have a few productive hours a day when we can work to our full potential. Try to get most of the work done during those hours. For some people, it's early morning hours but for others, a night routine might work better. You are the best judge of what suits your lifestyle. Eliminate all the distractions during that time to get focused work done.
Startups do not have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, which may lead to confusion and doubts in the team. You must communicate to your employer or the management that you are overwhelmed and overworked. They might delegate some of your tasks to someone with less responsibility. Ask for a flexible work arrangement that suits you, like remote work or a compressed work week. In the post-Covid era, flexible working has become a norm, and most employers are willing to offer that flexibility.
In addition, share your feelings with your friends and family, as they are your support system and will help you relax and achieve your goals by taking over some personal responsibilities if you are going through a critical professional phase.
Set short-term and long-term goals
Set SMART goals- specific, measurable, attainable, and time-based. Smart short-term and long-term goals give you a direction to work without overwhelming you. You can focus on one step at a time instead of worrying about the bigger picture.
Practice daily self-care
After you sign off from work, indulge in an activity that relaxes you. It can be a long walk, a yoga session, or socializing with friends. Practice focused breathing for a few minutes every day to de-stress your mind. Find time to pursue your hobbies and passions.
Ask yourself, is sacrificing your health and relationships worth having it all? Is this a real success? It isn’t right, because achieving success by giving up something else causes resentment and frustration. You must find a way to align your ideal lifestyle with your career goals without falling into the trap of hustle culture. Your child won’t turn 1 again, your aging parents won’t be there for long, and your health won’t allow you to climb a mountain at 80. Identify your priorities in life and then find a system to integrate them all.
Follow a flexible approach
When you choose to work in a startup, you are putting yourself in a position that demands extra work. Despite that, setting boundaries is your prerogative. Hustling once in a while for crucial projects is acceptable, but refrain from making it a habit. Be mindful of when you should give additional time and when you can take time off.
It's quite natural to fall for the hustle of a high-growth startup, especially if you love working. But it's practical to avoid the hype and focus on other facets of life too. Success is an all-inclusive term that should include your mental and physical health, along with your career and relationships. Leaving behind one thing to achieve another is not success.
Define your personal success, set boundaries, set goals, take time off, and encourage flexible work arrangements. We hope these tips help you overcome the hustle culture and achieve work-life integration. Taking your startup off the ground is a marathon, not a sprint. Train yourself accordingly.
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