Working Harder Shouldn't Be the Goal

Working Harder Shouldn't Be the Goal

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. 

Goodhart’s Law

The idolization of hustle culture. You see it everywhere. If you’re interested in the self-development and productivity space, you can’t avoid the dude-bro entrepreneurs just telling you that you need to “work harder.”

But how could it not perk your ear? Driving in their rented lambo, telling you “if you just hustle then you can make your dreams come true, filled with women, cars, mansions, and money.”

It’s pretty gross.

A lot us end up tying our self worth to how much we work. Those who work overtime at our day jobs are praised and given promotions. It could be drilled into you since you were a kid, or maybe you look up to the people praising hustle culture.

And it impacts us. We feel guilty for down time, for relaxing. We have “be more productive” written on our New Year’s resolution list, but when we’re exhausted and just want to spend a couple of hours watching TV or playing video games, we end up feeling anxious the entire time.

Either way, most of us have this parasite in our heads pushing us to work harder. To be more productive. To hustle.


If you just enjoy the process of working hard, and that’s it, then more power to you. Enjoy working hard, this post isn’t for you. However, most of us use “being productive” as a way to get us closer to our larger goals.

The next time you feel bad for not being productive, I encourage you to pause and take a step back. Maybe pull out a journal and ask yourself a couple of questions.

  1. Is working harder necessary to get me towards my goal?
  2. How can I be more effective with my time?
  3. Am I trying to force creativity? (Spoiler alert: you need down time.)

Going back to Goodhart’s Law, if we make “working harder” our goal, then we just blindly put more work in, not caring about how we’re using our time. It doesn’t matter if the work is meaningful or if the product is effective. It’s just work.

It’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to take a week off. Hell, it’s fine if you just chill for a whole year. Enjoy yourself, do the things that matter to you, and enjoy life.

Have questions, comments, or want to start a discussion? Let’s chat about this post over on Twitter!