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Τετάρτη, 19 Ιανουαρίου, 2022
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionSo, Can Productivity be Harmful?

So, Can Productivity be Harmful?

By Panagiota Katsaveli,

In our ever-changing society, standards and people’s behavior seem to follow established trends and to adapt to different circumstances. Attitudes that used to be criticized might become acceptable or even desirable. This is certainly the case with the “Hustle Culture”of the 21st century affecting peoples’ lives in many distinct ways. Hustle culture has become the norm when it comes to work, education, or even personal matters and although it can bring about positive outcomes, it also holds the power to have equally bad or even worse effects. 

But what exactly is “Hustle Culture” you may ask. Well…

“Hustle Culture” refers to the mentality and habit of constantly working. People must continuously be in a productive mood, getting things crossed off of their to-do lists and never taking a break since breaks are for the weak! The notion behind this everlasting working schedule is that the largest amount of work you get done, the more success you will be able to enjoy in the long run. Mistakes do not matter because they can only be viewed as a learning experience and they should not discourage us from getting work done. People seem to plan their whole lives around their work and productivity, which leads to their need of accomplishment taking over their entire existence. This mentality is especially reinforced in our technologically advanced society due to our virtual social network. People are always connected to the outside world and they can bring back a large proportion of their work to their home, eliminating the boundaries between work and personal life. The weekends gradually lose their essence as a relaxation period and they transform into every other weekday; you may find yourself waking up on Sunday morning making spread sheets instead of pancakes. This lifestyle belongs to that of a workaholic, and it is surely accepted if not recommended and praised in our contemporary reality. 

Image source: blogrunrun.it

Productivity has the potential to be a very positive attitude that leads to significant results. Working for many hours in order to be ahead of your schedule, or even others, can create a very rewarding feeling accompanied by the desirable outcome. But this is not the case when continuous work becomes the goal and sole focus of the individual. Being productive for the sake of being productive is not the solution to any problem, but it is a problem itself. 

People who are conditioned to working an endless number of hours might start being reluctant towards a break or even experience guilt when they decide to take one. This mentality can cause intense feelings of anxiety, depression and individuals start losing themselves. Feelings of sadness and anger may appear when people are unable to continue working, for instance in the case of sickness, or if something alters their schedule. Productivity and work become the essence of their everyday reality; the goal stops being working towards a better life but working for the mere purpose of working! Not only do these individuals seek any opportunity available to fill up their already packed agenda, but they also idolize people who seem to be in a 24/7 productive mode. However, spending long hours at a desk does not equal completion of work. Many want to appear as hustlers who work hard towards their goals, spending endless hours at a library or office space, when in reality they do not get any work done after the first few hours (I mean, who can actually work for 8 straight hours with no break?). 

This situation can make us wonder how this can be possible and how hustle culture is promoted. However, it does not take us long to realize that a simple glance on social media platforms can provide the answers to those queries. The studygram and studyblr communities consist essentially of accounts which share their studying habits and academic achievements, that can be both motivating for some to complete their work as well as disheartening for others who might compare it with their accomplishments or rather their lack of. They compare themselves to others without having any tangible knowledge about their productivity besides social media, making themselves feel inferior and less deserving. Moreover, YouTube is filled with productive college days/weeks in the life of students who unintentionally promote the standard of endless productivity and work, but to what cost? Those who have finished their studies might compare themselves to their peers and work harder just to surpass them; in the process they lose sight of their goals and they become soulless auto machines programmed to work.

Image source: impactplus.com

Hustle culture can definitely create positive feelings and results, in the beginning, but as time goes by its true colors start showing through. Individuals are sure to experience burnouts, meaning exhaustion and inability to work which will hinder any further advancements for a long period of time (maybe even destroying the progress they have made altogether). This unfortunate situation can be avoided… It is important for everyone to take breaks and make a schedule that provides the chance to relax and devote valuable time to ourselves. Working and getting things done should not be the number one priority; instead of losing sight of our long-term goals we have to remember what we want to accomplish with this work. It is also of crucial importance that we spend time doing activities that result in mental stability, happiness and fulfillment. Making memories with the people we love and care about, watching movies, travelling or simply trying new cafes and dishes represent the essence of the human experience -you should never forget that!

All in all, hustle culture is an idea that has been intensely promoted these past few years and it is certain that it cannot go away overnight. Everyone needs to hold themselves accountable and work towards a better school or work life for themselves; one routine that is simultaneously challenging and doable, without taking over the entirety of our existence. And remember… work is not the priority, but YOU are!

  • The New York Times, Why are young people pretending to love work? Available here. 
  • Forbes, Stop Idolizing Hustle Culture and Do This Instead. Available here.



Panagiota Katsaveli
She was born in 2001 and was raised in Kilkis. She was an undergraduate student in the department of English Language and Literature at AUTh. Her passions include learning foreign languages and travelling both inside the country and abroad. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies and reading literature.