How to Enjoy the Grind and Make the Most out of It

What sets you apart is your journey, not your destination

 

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

“I came here, and the rest is history.”

“I sent an unsolicited email, got an audition, and the rest is history.”

“I set up a profile, got my first client, and the rest is history.”

While you might summarize your life stories in a single sentence like what I did above, neither the starting point nor the destination (if there is one) says anything about who you are. What sets you apart is your journey.

And the most exciting parts of your journey are not the highlight moments, but the grind — trial and error, emotional breakdowns, losing hope and almost quit, and even hitting the rock bottom of your life.

How can we enjoy the grind more, so we can turn it to our advantage?

Accept the Grind as It Is

The very first step is to stay there with it. You might want to run. You might want to replace writing with household chores or workouts and you will want to replace deep work with easy tasks.

Don’t. Stay there with it. Know that you are going to put pen to paper. Know that you are going to learn something difficult. Know that you are going to put together a website, or portfolio, and it’s going to take time and energy.

Accept that they are not easy but are crucial for your career. And accept that there is no bypass — there is only one way, that is to go through it. Drop your expectations and perfectionism, and just invite yourself to do them, regardless of how they turn out to be.

While delegation is certainly necessary for your life and career, it is not done from a place of avoidance, but used as a strategy to refocus your time and energy. Know the things you are delegating and make it a conscious, deliberate choice, so you will be in control of the process.

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. — Michael J. Fox

Actionable Takeaways:

Take notice of what you are resistant to. Think of it as an old friend and write down this conversation. See what comes out of it.

Batching Tasks & Pairing Tasks

Do you get bored easily? Boredom is probably one of the biggest energy killers. If you want to enjoy the grind and make it flow more smoothly, learn to spice things up by batching and pairing.

Batching similar tasks in a set time frame to maximize productivity, so you get everything done all at once. For example, replying to all emails (work or personal one) within the next 45 minutes, or get groceries on your way back from the bank to save time.

Pairing a difficult task with a fun one so the memory will stick and you will be more inclined to make it a habit. For example, I would cook a delicious meal right after a writing session to relax, and also reward myself. Or I’d add reap the benefits of a yoga session by writing right afterward to get into the flow sooner.

These skills do require some experiment, but hey, you are the creator of your own life, so why not just enjoy the experiments?

“Batch the process. Pick a day of the week for scheduling and spend that time adding updates to your social media queue.” — Kevan Lee

Actionable Takeaways:

Find out creative ways to batch and pair tasks and experiment with them. Find out your favorite combinations and make it a routine. Feel free to shake things up when you get bored!

Celebrate Each Tiny Win

In “ The Chimp Paradox”, Steve Peters describes how the humans in us celebrate, while the chimps in us are rarely happy with our achievement and constantly beat ourselves up.

That’s why it’s very important to celebrate each tiny win, even if it’s as small as you finally solving a problem with the help of a customer service representative.

If we fail to celebrate small wins and only focus on the big ones, they will seem so far away and we will feel we will never make enough progress to get there.

On the other hand, once we get the ball rolling, acknowledging and celebrating each tiny win along the journey will compound the interests of our confidence bank.

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” — Oprah Winfrey

Actionable Takeaways:

Take inventory of things you’d like to celebrate, along with things you are grateful for. These two work magic together.

Associate with Good People

I’m an only child, the first and only immigrant of my family, and I am a solopreneur. What does this sentence tell you about me?

Yes, I’m a lone wolf. Highly introverted, I enjoy solitude more than anything else (except the company of dogs). I have to constantly remind myself to connect with people.

Don’t just bury yourself in the tasks — take a break and meet new people. Be genuinely curious about them, and let them be curious about you. Crack a joke or two, or have a deep conversation. Try to add value to their lives, and let them do the same to yours.

Associating yourself with good people will stimulate your mind and add value to your life, not to mention everything is about relationships, and all businesses are built by relationships.

Associating with people is also a fantastic way to help you take a step away from your daily grind, and come back with fresh eyes. You will be more inspired when you let others inspire you.

A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people. — Will Rogers

Actionable Takeaways:

Practice meeting new people and being present with them. When you think of someone because of something, don’t forget to reach out. You will probably make someone’s day because of that.

Summary:

Making the daily grind enjoyable is crucial to our happiness and success. Find your own unique ways to make your days fun and flow better, so you can maintain an ideal level of energy, productivity, and emotional wellness.

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