2 min read

I'm in the top 10% of my company without burning out. Here's how.

Hustle culture says you must work all the time to succeed. My experience says otherwise.
I'm in the top 10% of my company without burning out. Here's how.
Photo by Benjamin Davies / Unsplash

Sustain issue #12 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)

I believe a world without burnout from work can exist. It’s my mission for why I write this newsletter.

I’m trying to break the wheel of burnout and leave it in disrepair for good.

Speaking of wheel, today is all about throwing out the hamster wheel of overwork. It’s not sustainable to run full speed around it at work, step off a couple times a year for PTO (i.e. Pretend Time Off) since you’ll be back running as soon as you get back. And then repeat this cycle year after year for decades. This can’t be the answer.  

So how do we fix this?

Work on the highest priority items only, take daily time to restore yourself and treat yourself well, and then take extended time off to fuel many tomorrows. No hamster wheel required.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That all sounds well and good, I hear you saying, but we all know to be successful, you have to be reachable, you have to work long hours, and everything is a top priority.

Allow me to invalidate this hustle culture narrative we’re force-fed.

I just received five out of five on my recent performance review at work which puts me in the top 10% of my company. I say this not to brag, since I deeply debated sharing this, but to illustrate that running round and round the hamster wheel is not the only path to external validation in your work.

There is another way.

Here are what my habits looked like over this review period:

  • Regular check-ins with my manager to make sure we were in alignment on the most high-impact work and to be explicit about what did not cross the priority threshold.
  • I started working around 8:30 and ended around 4 Monday-Friday. While taking at least 30 mins during the day to prepare lunch, tend to my garden, and/or go for a walk.
  • I went without work email and Slack on my phone. No working or even checking outside of hours.
  • I created daily restorative time (through my Three Good Pockets method) and took several periods of 100% real time off.
  • I moved my body (most days), ate well (most days), and slept 8 hours (most days)

The important thing to note is that these habits are the rule, but there were expectations for each one.

My hope in sharing my experience is that it gives you the confidence to write your story in a different way than is presented in our toxic hustle culture.

At a sustainable pace,


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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