Great Grinds

Amy House


Image of a hand holding a clock

Grind has become a trendy word for doing daily activities that build toward a business or personal goal.  It takes into account the “compound effect”.  An easy definition for compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions.

Because I like to create visual stories with words, I think we need to take some time to look at the definition of grind as well so that we can create an inspiring view of what it is so that we can then create what great grinds create the compound effect for you and your goals.

Here are the definitions for grind that we need to consider – 

** reduce (something) to small particles or powder by crushing it

** sharpen, smooth, or produce (something) by crushing or by friction (friction by movement)

** a crushing or grating sound or motion.

** hard daily work

Now I would like to tell you a story. In the old days, watermills and windmills littered the countryside. You took your grain there to be ground between giant millstones. Those stones slowly wore down, the grooves cut in their surface faded away, until they needed to be recut, a process known as ‘dressing‘. This was done by stone dressers who travelled the country, turning up at each mill and re-dressing the stones.

Have you heard the expression ‘show us your mettle ‘, meaning, ‘show us how good you are‘? As they dressed the stone, flakes of metal would fly off the chisels, some of them embedding in the forearm of the workman. Over time, the forearm would turn black. ‘Show us your mettle ‘, meant to show your forearm as a sign of how experienced you were. Learning changes us: experience shows in how we act and what we do. We all must show our mettle sometimes.

Just as the giant millstones would grind and produce, the stone dressers were also “changed” by re-dressing or re-cutting the ridges into the stones.  The millstones would be productive both by their own action and made more productive by stone dressers.  Stone dressers in turn were able to become “expert” by the development of their “mettle” that was created by re-grinding the millstones.

Now, let’s talk about the grinds that help you be more productive and create the “mettle” you need to master your business or craft.

Morning Grind

Sometimes it is the way we start our day that determines the level of productivity or success we will have.  It is the pre-curser to the creation of results.  There are a lot of great books on the market that details the power of the morning.  But let’s consider the simple things you can do to create a routine or morning grind that sets YOU up for success.  Pick 2-3…build the grind over time that makes the most difference to you.  Some of these are part of mine.  Some of these are part of the routines my coaching clients have implemented.

Exercise – This can be something intense like cross-fit or running.  This can also be something low impact like simple stretching or yoga.  The point is move.

Drink water – Hydrate before you caffeinate.

Journal – Your mind is fresh in the morning.  In many ways, you will have a quieter mind in the morning.

Meditate or Pray – While praying can involve a conversation with God, both can also be strategic quiet.  Light a candle.  Use a fragrance.  Sit still intentionally.  Listen.  You can use a guided meditation or a simple mantra.  You can just stay in a feeling of gratitude.  But intentional stillness is powerful before the movement of the day.

Review your calendar – Picture success before the activities of the day happen.

Listen to a podcast or watch motivation video – Fit things in around the movements of the morning.  While you make breakfast, get the kids ready, start the crockpot, etc.

You don’t have to do them all…. you develop what works for you.

Critical Quick Wins Grind

These are the quick things that can be done that feel like wins, movement and success.  I personal utilize two different critical quick wins grinds in my day.  One happens before I leave the house and one happens first things in my office.   These are just what I do.  They are meant to make you think about what yours needs to be.  Remember, these are QUICK.  The whole process is less than 30 minutes of my day.

CQW home – make bed, feed/water dog, take vitamins, set out ingredients for dinner or set up crockpot, quick clean the kitchen (I leave for the day with my bedroom clean, my kitchen clean, dinner organized or ready and the dog taken care of

CQW office – make my morning post on all channels (there are 3 years of these saved that now speed this up even more), drink another glass of water, do a quick respond to emails (answer ONLY those that are quick),  delete or file other emails (I use my inbox as a to-do list.  The goal is there are very few emails in the actual inbox), send calendar reminders where appropriate.  (The means that my day has already had these business wins – a piece of marketing is done, I am hydrating for energy, quick communication has happened, I am organized, and my time is validated.)

Evening Grind

Just as how we start our day is critical, how we end our day can be the capstone on the day and also allow us to rest and reset for the next day.  Just like your Morning Grind and your Critical Quick Wins Grind, this is about you creating a routine that sets YOU up for success.  Here is MY routine so that you can have a view behind the scenes:

Change clothes/ do dinner/ do a piece of housework (laundry, vacuum, dust, etc)

A little download or veg time (journal again, watch a show  – not hours of shows, read a book or listen to music, stretching exercises)

Real conversation ( just because I work with my spouse…that doesn’t mean we really talk all day….we take an hour to talk)

Self Care (take a bath – my physical relaxing moment, read in bed,  NO TV in the bedroom, diffuser with lavender, hold hands with my husband in bed before going to sleep)

When I end my day with my home running smoothly,  a time to review my day and let it go, time with my spouse and time to take care of me….then EVERY day is successful.  And no matter what happened in the day, I can say the most important things were part of the end of the day.  The end of the day is a re-centering time.  It is intention and slower paced.  In a busy world, every member of our household needs that time and that pace.

What Grinds do you use?