False Hustle: How Keeping Busy Is Making You Less Productive

Asking yourself three simple questions each week can help you avoid the false hustle

It’s easy to be busy; it’s hard to be productive. Raise your hand if you’ve spent entire days answering "quick" email after "quick" email; spent hours in your task manager organizing your tasks for productivity; spent a half-day organizing tidying up old design files; or looked back on your week and realized you worked your ass off, but you’re not really sure what you actually accomplished.

Bad news, those with raised hands: you’re a victim of false hustle.

I have been, too. Everyone falls into the false hustle trap at one point. It’s not intentional—after all, there’s a lot of work to do in a day—but false hustle can torpedo business goals and ultimately our motivation at work. Here’s what I mean by false hustle, and how to avoid it.


"False hustle" is a term that has origins in baseball. When Sammy Sosa would sprint from the dugout to the outfield, bu