Pareto — a principle also referred to as the ’80:20 rule’, named after an Italian economist. The principle suggests that a few vital factors (i.e. 20%) are responsible for the most results (i.e. 80%).
As I sit back in my chair, thinking of what to write for this blog post, I am exhausted. I have just woken up from a 3 hour nap and I will most likely go to bed after this as well. There is nothing admirable about my energy level. There is nothing heroic in being tired. If you happen to know anyone who generally describes what they’re doing in life as “hustling”, they probably feel this way all the time.
“Hustling” has literally become the most misused word since the word “literally”, which as David Cross points out, now literally means the opposite of what the word originally meant. Maybe it’s the fact that I listen to a lot of rap, but I think rap culture has really made it cool to seem like you’re constantly working. Songs like “Hustlin” by Rick Ross and “Hustle Hard” by Ace Hood (both great songs by the way) are really just punching you in the face with the message that if you aren’t working every waking moment of every day, you’re going to be a failure in your life. And to me, this attitude in today’s culture has basically lead to the biggest generation of “wheel spinning” most likely seen in history, because lets be honest everyone: it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.
Now let me be clear: I’m not crapping on people that legitimately have work to do. If you’re deathmarching on a late project that absolutely positively needs to get done – please disregard this post. You’re probably too busy to even read this. What I am saying is that if you’re working on 6 different spec projects while working a 40 hour a week job and freelancing on the side, you’re fucking up and you’re fucking up big time. Why? There’s absolutely no way the quality of your work and the development of your skill is meaningful in the long run. There just is no way that can be the case.
When I first left university, I was cut off financially. This is pretty normal for a lot of people, so this is not one of those sob stories. Anyways, out of necessity, I got myself 4 jobs: working retail full time, did freelanced in graphic design for a furniture company, blogged and handled social media accounts for an affiliates company and interned in a social media role for 2 days a week. I worked as hard as I physically could for somewhere around 4 months and it took a massive toll on my mental health and the relationship I had at that time. Sure I had money, but I was miserable and most importantly, my work was not what it could be. Granted, it was definitely better than anyone else they could have hired, but it was definitely not my best. This doesn’t even include the Ira Glass theory on taste. It was only when the internship opportunity (25% of my total factors) became a job opportunity and I was finally able to do some great work and improve (the 75% of total result).
It’s really difficult to explain to someone that you need to do less. I’ll be the first to say that 40 hours a week of work probably is not enough to develop yourself. Extra effort outside of work is needed however, I’m constantly encountering a culture of people that seem to be workaholics for the sake of saying that they’re workaholics. And let’s be honest. Most of that work is completely dispensable. Ask yourself the following 2 questions about the stuff you do:
- What is the ratio of projects that you’ve started to projects you’ve completed?
- What’s the ratio of projects that are unpaid and paid, and is that ratio trending towards increasing or decreasing?
The first question will basically tell you whether or not you’re doing too much as a whole and the second basically tells you how worthwhile these projects are in the first place. And let’s be real for a second: if your end result isn’t to get paid off your skills, this is not the blog for you.
Take a second and look over what you’re doing and what your intended goal is. What you do now is what you’re going to become and I sincerely hope that isn’t being tired for the rest of your life.