There’s been a lot of talk lately about the “Hustle” and how you must work hard and fast and long hours to get anywhere in your career. While I appreciate that you must make an effort to move forward in your career, I’m convinced that hustling is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
It seems to me that hustling feels like you are always behind, always in a rush, always working toward some unattainable goal. Without slowing down and taking the time to assess the process, think through next steps, and reflect on what works and what doesn’t, we are just treading water. And while the status quo may work for some time, in the long term, it’s really not going to help anyone – yourself, your colleagues, and certainly not your clients.
When I feel like I am hustling, I’m more likely to waste time, make mistakes, and get burnt out. If I am doing the right work effectively, rather than the wrong work efficiently, I get much further much faster. It’s a matter of separating out the right work and executing the work thoroughly and accurately.
In my experience, it’s so much better to take the time to do the research up front, to ask the tough questions, and to work effectively, rather than efficiently. Efficiency is great, but if you aren’t doing the right work, the value of that efficiency is null.
Here are some questions to ask to make sure you’re doing the right work:
- Does this fit my/our mission?
- Does it benefit the business or its consumers directly?
- Is it cost-effective?
- Will this make money?
- Will this save me time/money/resources in the future?
- Am I the best person to be doing this work?
- Could my time be used better doing something else?
With those questions in mind, are you doing the right work? When you feel like you’re running in place, perhaps that’s the best question to ask.