Subtitle: Maybe if I write this out I’ll take my own advice or something I dunno.
What is: hustling.
Hustling is when you bust that backside and get things done in a fast-paced, excellent way, keeping up energy and pace while doing so. If you rode the New York City subway anytime during the warmer months this year, Vitamin Water had a whole campaign about their difference elixirs supporting your hustle. Casper mattresses support your hustle. In fact, I think the only services not promoting a hard working culture were like, the antisocial Seamless/GrubHub ads and the StreetEasy ads targeting gentrifiers but I digress.
New York City freaking hustles, mmkay.
An anecdote: I have an intern. He’s from the Netherlands and goes to school near Amsterdam. He’ll be going back to the Netherlands at the end of the month. One of the big things he noted about New York was that the pace was very fast and very frenetic. Now, he’s a great intern and very hard working, but he was feeling himself getting thrown around in the tornado of people around every midtown corner. I’m not even going to go into his exhausting run of the NYC nightlife or the amount of unnecessary pressure he gets at work because we’re understaffed. He’s survived to this point and even enjoyed the experience enough to come back, but a few key things I’ve heard from him and other transplants got me thinking: there’s always a better way of doing this stuff right?
So here are 5 things to help you keep up with your life, whether or not you’re trying to live it in the tri-state or not.
1. Schedule things big and small.
It can get really easy between work and having a social life and a side project and networking and tweeting at Mark Ruffalo in the hopes that he notices you and your dedication to the environment to forget small but important things like your gas bill, the layer of dust on the unused portion of your desk, and the laundry piling up. Not to mention it’s harder to leave time for things that can save you money: finding deals and coupons, buying groceries and doing meal prep for the week, fixing the small issues with your appliances before they get so bad they have to be replaced, etc. Once you have a decent feel for your rhythm, make sure laundry is scheduled, bills are scheduled, apartment maintenance is scheduled. Sunday Food Prep is a thing: write it down.
This. Includes. Your. Downtime. I can’t stress that enough. If your calendar has barely any space, in that space remind yourself to not work. Which brings me to…
2. Don’t try to do things during your downtime.
Hey, none of this working through your lunch break when there’s no emergency crap: that’s how you wreck your health, eating habits, and psyche. Take your breaks confidently, and don’t acquiescence to coworkers when they ask you to talk about work stuff while you’re trying to get rid of your headache on the lobby couch or making yourself chamomile tea to soothe the nerves. Not taking an actual break leads to burnout. Walk away from your laptop, your desktop, your sticky notes, and your emails when you have downtime. Talk to that one coworker you actually have something in common with and take pleasure in that stretch when your face remembers how to laugh. Take a nap if you have a nap room and you need it. And remember that thing you used to do when you didn’t feel the pressure to do things? Try doing that and relaxing.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others.
We like, created a term for this right? FOMO or whatever? The Feeling of Missing Out. Yeah, banish those thoughts. There was this super cheesy Facebook post that was circulating my feed the other day about how everyone is on a different path and on different timelines– and it was probably the only true thing I saw on my feed that day (fake news is the new epidemic, right?) Long story short, it doesn’t help to look at an abstract of someone’s life and go “oh man, my life sucks. Why aren’t I traveling/being promoted/beautiful/getting married/having fun” while forgetting what you are doing that’s awesome. You know this, I know this. Sure, it can be fun living vicariously through other people’s cool experiences, but at a certain point it’s not even helpful at an aspirational, competitive level. It makes you feel like you need to front, when really beyond the few seconds of “oh, that person is cool” it’s your authentic self that draws the people you love and trust. It bogs you down with doubts and insecurities about yourself that you don’t need, especially if you’re trying to live.
4. Insight is better than hindsight.
But like, why aren’t you traveling when it’s something you really want to do? Is it because you’re paying off your student loans with a job that doesn’t pay well while juggling rent and eating? Why don’t you have that cool job you want? Are you holding yourself back? Is there something you could do to achieve those goals?
Figure out what your assets and liabilities are. Celebrate those assets: that awesome work ethic, a cephalopod-like ability to multi-task, that one weird finger you have on the pressure point of whether the new trendy restaurant is going to last or not…and see if you can use them to minimize your liabilities. If you can’t afford to travel, find out ways to toss a few dollars into savings for that dream trip. If you’re just stretched on money, research opportunities to earn a little bit more to bolster your cash flow. If you just straight up don’t have time, make it. Schedule (haHA) time into your day and see if you can’t let a few things go for a week or two for your mental and financial health. And on and on. I’m not going to go as far as to say there’s always something to be done, but for us first-worlders, that’s the general rule. And you end up regretting much, much less if you can just take care of the problem now.
5. Ask for help.
The independent soul in you is screaming “NO! NO HELP.” However, people need people. I advise you go read No Man is An Island by John Donne and then see if you can argue with me. I’ll wait.
Did you do it? Good, well, you should ask for help if you’re struggling with anything. You should ask for help if you’re having trouble juggling all the things you need to juggle. You should ask for help if you don’t know the first step in getting the promotion you want. You should ask for help if your financials are all out of whack and you don’t know how to straighten them out. You should ask for help if you don’t know where to find cheap flights to travel on. You should ask for help if you’re doing too much at work. You should ask for help if you find that you don’t know how to relax anymore, or if you’re finding it hard to sleep, or if you’re feeling sad or anxious. Ask. For. Help.
In business school, I learned that your network is everything professionally. This, unlike some of the other things I learned, is still true.
It’s not shameful or bad to admit you need help, and no one you trust is going to think less of you for simply asking. I mean, if you didn’t at least want a little help, why are you reading this?
The Pomelo Girl