Am I Hustling Too Hard?

Too Much (1)At the beginning of the summer, I outlined my grand plans to earn extra income this summer. And grand they were. Summer school wraps up today, and I only have two more meetings on the docket. Thanks to all of my school-related side hustling, I’ll have clocked in just shy of $3500 after taxes. That doesn’t even include the money I made tutoring or contributing to Tip Yourself. For someone who is hellbent on crushing her mortgage, you’d think I’d be pretty content. But I can’t help but wonder if I’ve been hustling too hard.

When I started this blog 11 months ago (!), I crafted a guiding principle of sorts. I wanted to live a more purposeful life one cent at a time. I wasn’t trying to teach other people how to be rich, to afford anything, or to retire tomorrow. I wasn’t even necessarily trying to teach myself how to do any of those things. All I wanted was to be more deliberate, more intentional.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m succeeding in so many regards, especially when it comes to charitable giving, emergency funds, and getting started with investing. I’ve also reigned in all the mindless consumerism and am currently waging a war on clutter. There is more purpose in my life.

But lately I have found myself time and time again having conversations that go something like this:

“I need to make more money.”


“Why not?”

As far as reasons go, “why not” is one step above “because I said so”. There’s no actual thought or intention behind it. It’s a whim, a foible, a fancy. Sure, I could rattle off a list of things I could do with more money: pay off our mortgage sooner, retire earlier, travel more. But the ironic part in my ceaseless pursuit of earning more is that I’ve sacrificed my mini-retirement.

Mr. P has yet to answer my “why not” retort (smart man, indeed), so let me try to answer it for him. Why not? Because during the school year, I am at work from 6:45 am until 4 or 5 in the evening every day, if not longer. Then, I come home to rush through a workout or skip it entirely, grade papers while I attempt to make dinner, dash off to tutor, fine-tune the never-ending lineup of lesson plans, and then plan for the three different extracurricular activities I sponsor. Nevermind the daily, weekly, and monthly meetings. The parent phone calls, emails, and in-person conferences. Let’s not even mention the standardized testing or the bureaucratic nonsense involved in educational politics and reform. And then there’s the fact that I actually try to have some semblance of a life and be a somewhat decent wife, daughter, friend, and homeowner.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. In fact, it isn’t a job. It’s my career. It’s my passion. It’s my calling. I am not it in for fame, fortune, or glory. I love teaching. But part of what allows me to give my all to my students is my break. Part of what gets glorified in the Four-Hour Work Week and the like is the mini-retirement. Part of what people who pursue early retirement look forward to is time off. So maybe it’s time to savor what’s left of mine.

In these last few weeks of summer, here’s to fewer time sheets and more time outdoors. Here’s to less money and more memories, less errands and more relaxation. I am going to fill up my days with walks, puzzles, games, conversations, nature, and sunshine. I am going to read more. I am going to write more. I am going to sip my tea and taste my breakfast. I am taking a break. And it’s about time.

So Tell Me…How do you enjoy relaxing? What is your favorite way to take a break? Perhaps you indulge like Des?

Am I Hustling Too Hard?

25 thoughts on “Am I Hustling Too Hard?

  1. Yayayayay taking breaks and relaxing! Thanks for the shout out, friend 🙂

    Honestly, whenever I feel myself asking if maybe I’m taking on too much / hustling too hard, I know it’s my red flag question that I’m heading to burnout town, fast. I generally downshift pretty quickly when this happens (like uh… the time I was so anxious about my blog graphics and branding that I couldn’t sleep for an entire night. Yeah, that happened. I was also going to the gym 6 times a week at that point, so I scaled back on some stuff, lol.)

    I hope your break is ah-may-zing – you deserve it!

    1. Of course! It was such a great post. I’m enjoying being a spectator to the Pokemon craze! That’s wonderful that you can downshift so fast. We’re leaving for a vacation next week, so hopefully that will force me to calm down bit. And of course, your blog and its graphics are incredible!

  2. Right now, walking, reading and YouTube are my three main ways to relax. I suppose catching an episode of House Hunters during dinner is another form or relaxation for me, but throughout the day, whenever I need an opportunity to do something other than work, I’ll generally either take a walk or watch something mindless on YouTube. The evening is generally when I choose to read.

    It’s simple, but it works.

  3. Sounds like you have been hussling pretty hard, that’s impressive work and you should be proud! While it goes against many personal finance beliefs, sometimes taking a break to recharge the batteries is better for the long run. Otherwise it’s not productive if you just keep working so hard and get burned out and want to quit entirely. Enjoy the stay-cation and recharge!

    What I would do is enjoy a workout and nice cup of coffee in the morning. Run a few errands and cross a few minor things off the to do list. Enjoy the outdoors, maybe go to a pool, do a bit of leisurely reading (sports illustrated maybe) and then cook a fabulous dinner for the fam (I enjoy cooking).

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Those ideas are excellent! I definitely like to work out in the morning. Or I run after the sun sets. No one needs to put running in 95-degree weather on their to-do lists! 🙂

  4. I think you should definitely take the time to do all of the things you enjoy while you have the opportunity!

    I constantly have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy my life today, right now – I’m a doer, for sure, and am busy from morning until bedtime. My favorite ways to relax are gardening (15 minutes can easily turn to 1 hour in my garden) and I love to go camping and hike (which I get to do very soon 🙂 ). Nature is so relaxing!

  5. Take a well-deserved break! Teachers work incredibly hard, and the time commitment and even physical pace of the school day has to be grueling.

    I felt so sorry for the teachers at Little Bit’s school last week, who only had a week to flip their classes between school years. I know they get longer breaks during the school year but a week doesn’t seem like much time to wrap up end of year paperwork and get ready for a new group of kids.

  6. I watch a lot of tv. I wish I watched significantly less than I did growing up, but I still wish I spent less time doing so. Maybe add a walk or a creative hobby instead?
    Blogging started as a leisure activity for me, too, but then I tried to make money from it and it became more of a chore. Thankfully my priorities and perspective have changed again, and blogging is once again “for fun” and not work 🙂

  7. You’ve done a great job, and you’ve worked hard to improve your financial situation–kudos to you! But you’re exactly right that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to continue to care for everyone else around you.

    We try to come back to these questions from YMOYL every so often:
    Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction, and value in proportion to life energy spent?
    Is the expenditure of life energy in this category in alignment with my values and stated life purpose?

  8. Based on everything you do, a break sure seems in order 🙂 I was in a workshop with teachers yesterday afternoon after many of them taught summer school in the morning. We were talking about the importance of them taking a break too – and really “winding down” and how hard it is to actually do it. I like to exercise when I take a break too – a walk in the park or an hour in the kayak can really make a difference. Our house backs up to a huge park – lots of people out looking for Pokemon. Pretty fun to watch!

    1. We connect to several trailheads and a small lake. I love being outside. It makes me relax. Well, mostly. Turning off my brain is still challenging. The Pokemon watching sounds so fun!

  9. I too find myself compulsively hustling sometimes, but the difference is, I can’t see what I’m doing now as my lifelong career, and I think I actually enjoy the pursuit of new hustles and streams of income more than I enjoy work! I am starting to thing that hustling will eventually *become* my job 🙂

    Of course, even if I enjoy it, I can’t put too much effort behind hustles or life becomes unbalanced. One of my biggest challenges, which I haven’t yet solved, is how to give myself permission to relax sometimes.

  10. Hey!
    I read the title of this post and thought to myself NEVER!! but you are right.
    Sometimes it’s good to take a break and have some time to yourself, hell! even Des had a week off this month and her blog survived!
    I find that having some time to myself also allows my creative side to come out…. and for me this is awesome because I am not a very creative person 🙂
    I am glad that I stumbled across your blog 🙂 I really enjoy your style of writing, Thanks

    1. Ha. I usually answer with a NEVER also. But I do think we all benefit from taking a slight pause every now and again! Glad you stopped by. I’m going to pop over to your blog!

  11. Yah to balance! I love a little sunshine and then plenty of shade. I love getting permission to pet strangers’ dogs. I love reading new stories that expand my mind or language. I love watching my girlfriend enjoy my baked goods. I love holding my friends’ babies.

    1. Yes to all those things, ZJ! A friendly-looking dog is enough to stop me in my tracks no matter what. And your baked goods. Start a subscription box and sign me up!

  12. I have an upcoming post about working hourly and how that effects my thinking (PS – I just woke up from an $80 nap and it felt glorious!). Sometimes we get too in the mindset of “but I could be making money right now.” It’s time to live the amazing life right now. You, as a teacher, get a mini retirement every year! Don’t squander that. (Since you know, you end up working as many hours as everyone else in a year-round job for the 9 months of school!)

    1. Teachers are creative with jamming lots of overtime in! I fully approve of the $80 nap. Sometimes it’s just what our bodies and brains need, right?

  13. I run up against this issue as a physician, as I can always take on more call shifts/clinics/procedures, and my six-figure debt is very motivating! For myself, as the debt goes down, my standards for accepting work has been going up. Unless it’s something that I legitimately enjoy doing, I usually say no, regardless of how tempting the extra money to pay off debt may be.


    1. Ha! That last usually is the kicker, right?! I imagine that kind of debt is very motivating (I feel the same way about our six-figure mortgage!).

  14. Staci @Streamline365 says:

    Be proud of yourself! And now…take a break! You will feel so much better when the school year starts! My sis-in-law is a teacher and you all work SO HARD for our kids-thank you!!! Looks like you ARE crushing your debt, so take time to savor all of your hard work and its payoff!

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