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Beating The Grind: Business Cheat Sheets

Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Posted in Management by Joel Gross

The day is only just beginning but you find yourself staying at your computer in a funk of despair. Sitting down and doing a full day of work seems impossible. You can’t get any tasks started, you find the people around you annoying, you feel tired and beat down. You just want to go home and cry.

This is the bottom of The Grind. The Grind is the day to day necessary work to run the business. You have to show up and work no matter how you feel: Some days you feel like you are on a roll and conquering foes left and right, other days you feel hopeless and stuck.

How can you beat the grind? How can you get through the down times? How do you stay steady day after day?

Understanding What Causes The Grind:

Half the battle of beating the doldrums of The Grind is understanding what it is and how it comes about.

A part of being human is having your emotions sometimes high and sometimes low. There is a natural process and cycle that happens that is divorced from reality. You need to expect and understand that your emotions are fickle and will change over time. There are also many factors in reality that can cause you to feel on a high or down in a low.

Potential Highs:

  • Your team completes a project successfully
  • You close a new deal
  • Goals are met
  • People treat you well

Potential Lows:

  • A client quits
  • An employee quits
  • Goals are missed
  • You have to deal with collections
Understanding that both positive and negative events will happen in business (and often pile on top of one another), is a big key in getting through these times. When it seems like the entire world is against you (and sometimes it will be!), step back and keep in mind the big picture. You have been through times like these before and you will go through them again. You will have highs and lows till the day you die, it’s just a part of being human. Embrace it and understand it, and let go of feelings that arise from the stuff in between.

How to Beat the Day to Day Grind:

Secret cheats of experienced business owners to getting through the grind:

  1. Break down the big problems into a series of tiny steps. Your biggest client just stopped working with you? Don’t despair; instead figure out the individual steps you will need to take to replace that client. Think it through step by step from additional marketing efforts to new sales techniques you can implement.
  2. Take a break. Go outside and go for a walk. Take a nap. Go to the gym (even in the middle of the workday!) You have to break out the funk and many times changing your physical surroundings will help with that.
  3. Get enough sleep! If you aren’t sleeping enough, you will have low emotional energy reserves and small problems will loom up huge and huge problems will suffocate you. If you approach each day fresh, you will have less difficulty getting through the day.
  4. Look at the problems facing you objectively. Generally an issue that seems overwhelming at the moment really isn’t when you think about the big picture. Has an employee just quit to travel the world? Just think back to when there was only you and one other person working in your company and that person quit! You got through that problem right? You will get through this one too.
  5. Maintain healthy relationships outside of work. For an entrepreneur, it is all to easy to let go of friendships and family when you are charging forward to make your business successful. Young businesses require 100% of your effort so it is extremely hard to find anything to spare for outside relationships. However, these outside relationships are the key to helping keep you stable through the highs and lows and letting you know there is a world outside of your business.
  6. Avoid alcohol and other substances. Alcohol may help you let go of your problems for a couple of hours, but they will be back and they will be worse the next day when you are hung over. Don’t use alcohol or other substances to try to “medicate” away your issues. Find healthy stress outlets instead; hobbies, exercise, relationships.
  7. Eat healthy food. What you put into your body eventually determines who you are. If you fill up on over-processed, unhealthy food, you will become an unhealthy person. Even when you are stressed out and under deadlines make sure to take the time to eat healthy or eventually you will lose capacity for dealing with problems.
  8. Practice gratitude. One of the things I do each day is write down something I am grateful for. This is just a couple of lines, but it really helps me to understand what a great life I have and puts things in perspective.
  9. Forgive and release grudges.  In running my business I have had to deal with many people who behaved in ways that were flat out evil. Early on, I got myself so worked up that I would be angry for a week afterwards. That never helped and my productivity would go way down because of it. It is a smart business decision to release the bitterness and hate you may have towards someone who cheated you or treated you wrongly and move on to bigger and better things.
  10. Work out. I strongly recommend that every entrepreneur work out at least 5 days a week. Why? Stress builds up at rates and levels that are very unhealthy for most business owners. In order to release all of this stress, you need to do hard physical exercise to get it burned off.  Low on money? Simply go for a walk or run outside every day. Short on time? Use the  New York Times 7 Minute Workout.