Quiet Quitting Isn’t A Great Idea — Here’s What You Could Do Instead


Quiet quitting — the practice of doing just enough to stay employed that’s been largely popularized by a Gen Z audience thanks to some viral TikToks — is the latest work trend.

It’s so popular that Gallup suggests “quiet quitters” make up as much as half of the US workforce. While some might argue quiet quitting isn’t anything new, others are seeing it as an indicator of a possible opportunity to rethink work culture with more balance in the mix.

No matter how you cut it, the question still remains: Is quiet quitting even a good idea? Whatever the answer, looking into some of the factors that have led to the popular trend helps us get a better-rounded view of its effects.

What’s led to ‘quiet quitting’?

No one factor is responsible for the rising popularity of quiet quitting — a number of variables are at play. For one, there seem to be a few conflicting pieces of data around how we’re contextualizing work amidst so many world-altering events like a pandemic with an economic downturn to boot.

This makes sense — since the state of the workplace can hardly be painted with a broad brush. But for context, there seems to be a continuing trend of job dissatisfaction that started way before the catchy idea of “quiet quitting” became popular. There are many reasons why –

  • A perceived imbalance between work and compensation
  • A lack of quality investment from leadership in the workplace
  • Low morale due to anxiety-inducing world events
  • Lack of flexibility in how work gets done (think remote vs. in-office)
  • Income rates failing to keep up with the rate of inflation

In Gallup’s recent 2022 workplace report, about 60% of people reported being emotionally detached from their job and 50% reported feeling daily stress.

The trends and numbers indicate a quiet quitting is a symptom of a larger problem at play — burnout. Depending on your lens, quiet quitting appears to be another way workers that are tired, burned out, and stuck in environments with little flexibility are attempting to cope with it all. The only difference is that now we’ve put a name to it.

The idea of quietly quitting — as if almost in a fume of exasperation — points at an equally relevant need: The ability to self-manage without burning out.

But how do we self-manage? We dive deeper into alternatives to quiet quitting below.

What to do instead of ‘quiet quitting’

If you’re going through a slump, are experiencing burnout, or are toying with the idea of “quiet quitting” in some form, consider reframing how you approach your work life for a more balanced approach to juggling it all.

Set deep work hours

Instead of giving in to quiet quitting, setting deep work hours can be a helpful approach to how you manage your daily workload. Deep work hours are hours you set aside so that you can completely immerse all your focus on an important task without the risk of being interrupted by the usual culprits.

Emails, Slack, in-office interruptions, phone calls, appointments, and everything else that shifts your attention away from that singular task should be set aside or muted.

Setting deep work hours requires two things:

  • Finding the best daily time block where you can fit your deep work session.
  • Doing everything you can to make the practice of sticking to your daily deep work hours easier.

Cultivate sustainable productivity

Cultivating sustainable productivity seems like an overbearing task at first. However, it becomes more approachable once you break it down into 2 to 3 habits you can really integrate into your routine.

Sustainable productivity starts with routine — that’s to say your habits. Even if you don’t think you have a routine, we all do. The difference lies in whether your routine is intentional or not.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” -Mike Murdock

Consider incorporating a few sustainable habits around how you manage work, rather than the work itself, to help manage your energy levels and focus:

  • Automate the start and end of your workday with automated notifications that help you wind down. A tool like Sunsama is perfect for this.
  • Create a way to stay accountable and reward yourself.
  • Spend some time learning what intrinsically motivates you

Create a daily planning ritual

Creating a daily planning ritual can help you to stay productive, even if the idea of “checking out” from your job is appealing. When thinking about personal rituals, It’s important to not confuse a daily ritual with a daily routine.

While daily routines revolve around the daily management-like tasks that add structure to your day, rituals can be defined as “a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.”

These actions are often symbolic and serve as a reminder for reflection. The thing about rituals is that they help bring a level of predictability, which works to reduce anxiety. It’s no wonder athletes use rituals for a psychological edge. Along those same lines, being sustainably productive can be achieved with the help of rituals.

The actual process of creating a ritual — whether that’s morning planning, a time for reflection after work in the evening, or journaling a quick summary of your accomplishments for the day — will vary depending on what works best for you.

The important thing is that you find a ritual that helps you stay focused and mindful, and even cultivate a sense of balance. For example, I’ve created a habit of writing a ‘done list’ at the end of my day. This both helps me take time to reflect and forces me to remember what I did during the day. Especially during highly stressful weeks, it’s a way to gain perspective on all the progress I’m actually making.

Know where your time is going

When you hear “time management” it’s easy to feel like it’s yet another thing you have to juggle during the day. But time management can be as easy as knowing where your time is going. That way, you’re able to adjust accordingly and recalibrate your schedule by allocating more time to the tasks that actually matter.

If you feel like you're constantly playing catch-up, it's time to take a step back and figure out where your time is actually going. You may be surprised to find that you're spending more time than you realized on mundane tasks that aren't really important to you or your work.

There are lots of ways — some more practical than others — to measure where your time goes. Sure, you can keep a manual time diary. But keeping a written to-do list isn’t as effective as a daily planner tool with built-in automation.

Here’s an example: Sunsama’s built-in timer feature enables you to both plan an estimated time slot for a task and track the actual time that task takes you to complete. At the end of the week — with its Weekly Review feature — Sunsama automatically shows you a graph that tells you exactly what tasks all your time was invested in.

Centralize your workload to lower decision fatigue

A lot of what stands in the way of sustainable productivity is allowing decision fatigue to get the best of you. What’s often overlooked is that it’s those smaller decisions we make day to day that add up quickly.

However, while decision fatigue is a real phenomenon, it’s also an opportunity to consolidate anything that requires a lot of context-switching. Since the bulk of that is already happening digitally, why not start by centralizing your digital space?

It’s a great way to avoid spending too much time looking for key tools or pieces of information to do your work and it minimizes context-switching. On the quest to lower the friction between being productive and the realities of daily life, consider consolidating your work ecosystem — emails, task cards, reminders, reflections, lists, notes, links, and more — to one dashboard.

There are many tools out there from which to take your pick, including Sunsama, a tool that’s built for increasing the quality of your productivity instead of playing a numbers game. When centralizing your workload into one dashboard, consider simplicity as a must-have. The idea is to beat overwhelm, not add to it with extra features that’ll only serve to distract you.

Find balance with tools like Sunsama

When it comes to dealing with quiet quitting — including the symptoms of it — there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The solutions that work for one person may not work for another. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking a step back before diving in to work again or considering a career pivot.

Other times it may be about finding new ways to re-engage and dive in to do quality work you’re proud of. In those cases, you need all the help you can get. If you're looking for a tool that’s built to keep you productive and engaged instead of being yet another task on your plate that makes you want to check out, try Sunsama.

Facebook iconTwitter IconLinkedIn icon