3 books to help you avoid burnout and let go of hustle culture
Do you want to learn to be more productive? Do you feel guilty when you aren't working? Do you feel like you're not modeling an image of success that you feel like you "should" but you don't know what to do about it? Do you feel burned out and want to find ways to solve it (but feel the need to still somehow stay productive?) Well, I feel you. And instead of offering productivity hacks, ways to do more with less, or how to squeeze every last drop of energy and productivity from your day (lol), I'm here to offer some ideas to reframe your mindset instead.
I am a chronic overworker. I was raised in the US, firmly entrenched in the individualistic, hardworking culture of the rise and grind mentality. But after hitting burnout hard twice by the time I was 30, I realized this mentality was not serving me. Also, as my anti-capitalist mindset has matured, I've realized how much I need to unlearn around the connection of productivity with self worth. I've taken to thinking of this as my investment in an anti-productivity movement. If you're looking for anti-productivity community, you're in the right place! Pushing ourselves to go all the time leads to burnout, and when we are burned out, we can't enjoy ourselves or serve our communities. Whether you're an entrepreneur trying to make art and struggling with balancing making with sharing and selling or working for someone else who may also be caught up in the hustle culture and pushing everyone to do more with less, there's space to change our mindset, create and maintain boundaries, and take the rest we need to be our best selves.
So if you've been struggling too with wanting to do more, be more, make more, and realizing that you're tired, stressed, and overworked, I recommend these books to you to help you on the path to change your mindset, reframe your focus, and ultimately find your balance between rest and work.
(Note that the book links here are affiliate links to Bookshop.org which shares profits with independent bookstores around the country and helps folks still get books online while divesting from Amazon.)
- Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price - This book unpacks the "Laziness Lie" that tells us that productivity is inherently "better" than rest. It points out the different ways this shows up in our lives and offers suggestions for how we can reframe our mindset to let ourselves get the space and rest that we deserve.
- Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer - This book is a beautiful offering around how to find our vocation. While this may seem strange in a post about anti-productivity, I've found it really helpful when prioritizing rest to help find more focus in my work. When I know that my energy is going toward things that are deeply aligned with who and how I want to be in the world, I feel more able to make space for rest.
- How to Not Always be Working by Marlee Grace - Now once you've started unlearning the Laziness Lie and found your focus, it's still a question of how to balance your work with your rest to create the life you want to live. This offering from Marlee Grace is part workbook, part reflections to help you consider what part of what you do is work, what part isn't, and how to navigate your life with intention. If you've ever felt like your work and non-work lives blend too much (which as someone who shares work on social media happens to me all too often), this is a great book to help you reflect on that and chart a thoughtful path forward.
If you read any of these or have other recommendations for anti-productivity books, share in the comments! You can also join us in the Soft Heart Book Club for regular readings and conversation around how to show up with care, build connection, and transform ourselves to transform the world.