How to hustle right

One of the best hustlers I have ever seen was a Flamenco dancer in Seville.

A Flamenco dancer in a small Sevillian bar - she was mesmerizing!

A Flamenco dancer in a small Sevillian bar - she was mesmerizing!

She came out half an hour before her performance began, and wondered the packed bar in her full costume, chatting to people about where they’d come from, whether they’d seen Flamenco before, what they were most excited about. She made wine and food recommendations, and posed for photos.

Then she danced for 90 minutes, non-stop. It was incredible, as it should be… but this isn’t a post about Flamenco. Afterwards, she took 5 minutes to cool down backstage, and then went back to mingling with her crowd. She did not ask for money. She talked dresses and dance moves and heels and wine. She made every visitor feel like she’d given a bit of herself to them - they hadn’t just seen a dance, they’d talked to and posed with the dancer!

I chatted to her for a while when the bar had emptied. I asked her how she kept it up every day - and she told me that she didn’t.

I would have no magic if I worked all the time. I give my all when I am here.

You can’t hustle all the time.

Nobody can. And trust me, I tried. Gary V was in full flow when I started my first business, and I believed every second of it. I knew that success was in my hands, and that if I wanted this, I needed to give blood, sweat and tears to make it happen. I worked ENDLESSLY. On the train to and from my 9 to 5. When I got home, until I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. Instead of having breakfast, when I was drying my hair. At weekends, and on bank holidays. It teaches you a lot. It is consistent, and it shows dedication.

But with hustle comes burn out.

Your brain and body can’t cope with working flat out all the time. It works for a while, and then you’ll start to get ill. There’s a strange relapse where you feel fantastic, and then awful. Your anxiety will worsen from tiredness. It’ll never feel like you’re doing enough, that you’ve spent enough time. And if something isn’t working, you’ll think you just didn’t give enough.

There has to be a balance. Here’s how to find yours.

I am not saying that you should buy your #antihustle t-shirt and start planning to work three day weeks. I’m not saying that your business will magically take off if you only invest small amounts of time. I’m saying that you’ll be healthier and happier if you plan carefully and use the time you have well.

So, think of all the time you’ve got - 24 hours in a day. Take out how much sleep you need, and any prior commitments that you currently have, like meeting your business coach once a week or working a part-time job or volunteering. What is left is your free time. You need to split that between downtime and working - and it might not be able to be an even split, but there does need to be room for both.

For me, back then, I spent 8 hours at my job. I commuted two hours each way. I slept for 6 hours a night. Before the change, I was spending the remaining 10 hours (including the commute each way) working on my business. After, I spent 6 hours working, and 4 doing something else. Seeing friends, reading, watching TV. I gave myself Sunday morning as additional time for my business, but took Saturday completely off to rest my brain. My business got better. I got better.

Spend less time, but use it wisely.

It does take some organisation to fit everything in to a reduced time. I had to start properly planning out my time, and making sure things like content creation were done efficiently. I made the time I was using social media A LOT more effective. It was trial and error for a while, sure, but it was such a good change.

Don’t feel guilty.

It’s a bank holiday in the UK today. I’m not working - I take most of them off, unless something is urgent. I take most weekends off, too. I hold myself to mostly office hours in the week, but I can take an afternoon or a day if I need too. I make sure I’ve given myself time to go for a walk every day, to keep my head straight and make sure I’ve been outside!

This works for me - and it means I get to enjoy my business and my life outside of it. Your balance might look different, or it might be quite similar - it doesn’t matter. What matters it that you’re hustling right. Be more efficient, get things done, cut out the things that are a waste of time - and yourself time and permission to step away and let yourself be regularly, too.

So, here it is. Permission to walk away today and let your brain breathe - and then work out how to hustle right when you get back. Enjoy it!

Katy Elle Blake