I used to run every morning. What started as a health habit quickly turned into an obsession—one where I would beat myself up if I didn’t get 8 miles in under one hour. One day at the gym, a coworker of mine saw me running on the treadmill and later earnestly asked, “Kate, what are you running from?”
That question sticks with me to this day. It cut through all the excuses and good intentions that shrouded a deep-seated fear. So what was I running to avoid?
I was running from the fear of losing my identity. Because at the time, my status was how far I could run, how strong I could be, how much I could do in a day, how much I could accomplish in my life.
Without those benchmarks, I feared I was nothing at all.
We as a culture have collectively decided to brand our work ethos. If you aren’t #hustling, what are you doing? If your product/service/identity is not selling in your Etsy shop or being liked on Insta, and you aren’t committing yourself to all of this 24/7 (pics or it didn’t happen), does it count?
At what point did we all agree that busyness is next to godliness? What if we as a culture stop being busy and just start to be?
Sometimes we stay busy to avoid confronting who we are without all the doing. So before we break our bad habits and start getting busy with purpose, I want you to ask yourself this: why is who you are and what you do not enough? Are you only as valuable as your last accomplishment? Ask yourself what matters most to you—not what you think makes you more attractive, desirable, or successful in the eyes of your neighbor.
It all starts with prioritizing what is important to you, finding ways it already shows up in your life, and being grateful for it. That’s how you break free from being a victim of your schedule and become the master of it.
This month, we are kicking off a new relationship with our productivity. We won’t be defined by our to-do lists, nor will we be managed by the fear of not living up to the expectations of those in our periphery. We will get back to being driven by curiosity and purpose and by the will and desire to make a difference, not the obsession with checking off benchmarks and KPIs.
This month, we are kicking off a new relationship with our productivity. We won’t be defined by our to-do lists, nor will we be managed by the fear of not living up to the expectations of those in our periphery. We will get back to being driven by curiosity and purpose and by the will and desire to make a difference, not the obsession with checking off benchmarks and KPIs. We will explore a different way to work, one that aligns our paychecks, our values, and our skill sets with the path of least resistance. We will get comfortable with the discomfort of the unknown, with pressing pause just when we feel the instinct to go too far, to worry too much, to become enveloped in an obsession with what our jobs say about who we are as a person.
In August, we’ll be sharing stories about what happens after the work (or “work”) is done. The time after we tackle our to-do lists. Stories about when to set boundaries, and when to drop them. Essays on why some of us need to be busy. And thought starters on how we can collectively change the larger perception of where we find our value. Sometimes the most #productive thing we can do is absolutely nothing.
As myself and our contributors talk about their stories around the hustle, we want to hear your stories of how the hustle culture and gig economy has affected you. What does “busy” personally mean? And what do you do when the work is done? Like “done” done.
We hope you are curious and willing to join us as we begin exploring the terrifying idea of being still in a culture that views busyness and the #hustle as a badge of honor.
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BY Kate Arends - August 1, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.