Category Archives: Organization+Strategy

Hustle is a dial, not a way of being.

There are appropriate times to hustle in your business. Sometimes you’re hustling for a year or two on the side, creating your escape route and freedom business to jump ship from your corporate job.

Sometimes you stay up late and hustle the night before a course launches, or when you're putting the final tweaks on a project before a deadline. Sometimes you hustle in between gigs, moving across the country, lining the highways in a bus, or getting from bookstore to bookstore to sell copies of your book.

Hustling, however, is not a way of being.

Many professions and careers (and managers, unfortunately) make hustling an expectation. Too many companies create expectations that people will work non-stop, jump at an email, and stay up late with very little advance notice; this is hustling as a result of poor planning, not as a result of the ebb and flow of project schedules.

With few exceptions, hustling as an expectation and a way of life—when you're staying up too late and waking up early again the next day, time and time again, without an end date—is not sustainable. You’ll get sick, fall into depression or adrenal fatigue, contract bronchitis, or want to quit. The advent and appeal of lifestyle design comes not from people who are lazy but from people who are fed up. People who want to regain a bit of control over their time and want their efforts to matter.

Whether you're an entrepreneur, an employee, a self-directed freelancer, or a consultant, constant hustling isn't always indicative of a great environment. There is such a thing as too much hustling.

Hustle is a dial. Dial it up, ratchet it back. A mode that you can press to apply a bit more pressure, and ease up when it's time to rest.

Hustle is a dial—play it up, pull it back.

Play it like an instrument. Step on it gently or firmly like a gas pedal. Know when to apply the hustle. Know when to apply the brakes. (Brakes are there for a reason, and it's not just to slow down).

And as a counter-point: if you're not hustling, I suppose it's time to find something worth hustling for. Once in a while. It's alright to love something and want to work on it a lot. Ratcheting up the dial can make downtime so much sweeter.

But if you’re hustling non-stop, it’s probably time to step back.

Project hangovers, self-criticism, and the necessity of making messes.

I have a confession. Sometimes–more nearly like every time–after finishing a project, I hate it. My writing class? Sucks, obviously. Last week’s essay? Good God, that could have been better. All those open and empty drafts waiting to be finished? Seriously, could have worked harder to get those done.  And on and on… My brainContinue Reading

Making money as a creative entrepreneur: how I make money, where I spend my time, and what I’ve learned from launching my own ventures.

When I was four weeks old, my mother and father took our then-family-of-four from Germany to Idaho Falls, little baby and tiny toddler in tow. We were standing around in the living room, as my mother recalls (to be be fair, I can’t recall and I certainly wasn’t standing—more likely drooling), talking about the insaneContinue Reading

The best of the blog: behind the scenes on organization, archives, and new reading collections for your weekend.

What does 250 blog posts look like? A look back at the archives and the best bits from three years of blogging.Continue Reading

Are you minimalist enough? An experiment in giving up clothes for a year.

As a person with an apartment that has hundreds of books, I sometimes feel like my efforts to de-clutter and reduce the number of things that surround me aren’t enough. In my efforts to reduce clutter and consider minimalist–or simplicity–as a strategy, I began to doubt my efforts in being minimalist. And the thought begins to creep in: I’m not minimalist enough. What follows is the result of a year-long experiment in giving up buying clothes.Continue Reading

When I hold on too tight…

I’ve noticed that when I hold on to things, it doesn’t mean that they get better. When I held on–and I held on so tight! –the writing didn’t get better, the launch of my newsletter didn’t get any better; it got longer. It almost disappeared into the abyss of doubts and worries, of perfections and neuroses; itContinue Reading

Getting things done: how I take notes + snapshots of my moleskine + my nerdy highlighter system

Lots of folks have emailed me to ask me how I get everything done and what systems I have in place to keep myself motivated, on track, and organized. I love watching how other people work and learning what they do to stay organized–so I thought I’d share a behind-the-scenes peek into some of my systems.Continue Reading

Do less work by asking for what you want.

Ever need help with something and don’t know how to ask? Or worse, you think you have to do every step of it yourself? The other day I was chatting with a good friend of mine. A freelance graphic designer with a decent set of clients, he found himself too busy and overworked–and he beganContinue Reading

Start where you are.

Where are you? Just a few weeks ago: I’m sitting on the floor of an empty studio, barefoot, with not a piece of furniture in it. Boxes line the hallways and two giant moving trucks are parked out in the street. Every so often our dogs bark, whining about being pent up in the back.Continue Reading

Less is more, imperfect is perfect, and done is done: 17 tips, tricks & habits I use for writing, creation + business-building (or any creative pursuit).

What’s better than perfect? Done is better than perfect. Part of the beauty of writing, asking, and making projects is actually doing them. The best way out of something is often through it. Getting it done is where the art is. Seth Godin says “ship.” I say “do.” It means the same thing. Make itContinue Reading